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In terms of happiness, Illinois in middle of the pack

September 25, 2018

Illinois News Network

It’s not Hawaii, but Illinois came in at No. 23 on personal finance website WalletHub’s 2018 Happiest States in America report.

Hawaii, Utah and Minnesota were at the top of the list. West Virginia, Arkansas and Louisiana were at the bottom.

“Illinois did pretty well especially in the emotional and physical well-being category, which was weighted the most heavily here,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez.

WalletHub used 31 indicators for the analysis, including income growth, depression rate, weather, sports participation rate and unemployment rate to evaluate states, Gonzalez said.

“Previous studies showed that good economic, emotional, physical and social health are really what’s key to a well-balanced and a fulfilled life. So, we drew upon statistics that touch on those categories,” Gonzalez said.

Illinois has room for improvement in areas such as employment, according to the report.

“Work environment and surrounding community and safety could both use some work to really push it up to say the top 20 or the top 10,” Gonzalez said. “We looked at everything from crime rates where Illinois, as a state, is kind of the middle of the pack, divorce rates, volunteer rates. So, everything really from emotional and physical health to work environment.”

In the analysis, Wallethub drew on studies about happiness, including a 2010 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America study that suggested having more money does not necessarily translate into more happiness — at least for those with incomes above $75,000 per year.

Hawaii ranked as the happiest state followed by Utah, Minnesota, North Dakota and California. West Virginia came in last joined in the bottom five by Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska and Oklahoma.

While Illinois fell right in the middle, it did well in overall emotional and physical well-being with a ranking of 12th.

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