How happy are you in NJ? The 50 states ranked
With the United States ranking No. 14 on this year's World Happiness Report, down one spot from the previous edition, the personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of the 2017 Happiest States in America.
Analyst Jill Gonzalez says the site wanted to quantify happiness across 28 key metrics ranging from depression rates, sports participation, income growth and more. New Jersey did well in many areas.
In fact, New Jersey narrowly missed the top five and is the 6th happiest state in the country.
Gonzalez says New Jersey did well in the emotional and physical well-being rankings. Surprisingly, New Jersey has the second lowest share of adult depression — second only to Hawaii.
"That is something that I think most New Jerseyans might not even buy, but according to the CDC, that is actually true. It's squeezed right in there between Hawaii and California," says Gonzalez.
New Jersey also has the second lowest suicide rate in the nation. It also does well with the overall community here. There's a lot of average leisure time spent per day. The separation and divorce rate in New Jersey is the third lowest in the country and the volunteer rate is better than most people would think.
But Gonzalez says New Jersey does need help in other areas. She says New Jersey has one of the highest long-term unemployment rates in the country — about three times higher than a lot of mid-western states such as Nebraska and Iowa. Work stress is higher in New Jersey than in other areas, but the income growth rate is also higher.
She also adds that New Jersey could have a better work/life balance.
"The commute time is one of the highest in the country, the number of work hours is one of the highest in the country, but so is the income level."
So what constitutes happiness? Gonzalez says it's usually a toss up between your time and your money and she feels New Jersey will always be trying to figure that out.
The Wallethub survey also finds that Minnesota is the happiest state in the country. West Virginia is the least happiest.