Land of The Free? Ranking the 11 Most Miserable States

Happiness may not be an initial concern when eyeing up potential living areas, but according to the statistics, it should be.

Three Categories Of Happiness

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In a recent report, WalletHub has refined happiness down into three categories: emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and community and environment.

Using these areas, they then assessed America’s states on one mission: which are the happiest and, more seriously, the unhappiest states in the country?

11 Unhappiest States In America

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Based on the collected data, here are the unhappiest states in America:

1. West Virginia

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Awarded as the unhappiest state in the nation, West Virginia scored the lowest, a bleak 35.08 out of the prospective 100.

1. West Virginia

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While they weren’t the lowest when it came to Community and Environment, they were let down by the other categories, scoring worse than every other state.

West Virginia also has the highest rate of adult depression, and what’s more unhappy than that? 

2. Louisiana

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Only just scraping out of the first spot, Louisiana scored 35.86 out of 100. Louisiana was ranked the least safe of all 50 states and had a high work-hour rate to go with it.

The scores were low across the board, and though the state is a relative hive of cultural history, it appears that happiness may be harder to come by.

3. Tennessee

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At 38.30, Tennessee scored badly across the board. It is fourth-lowest when looking at adult depression, and though it may be the birthplace of some iconic music stars, Tennessee may not be the most cheerful spot to lay down roots.

4. Arkansas

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It may be well-known for the beautiful access points to America’s national parks, but Arkansas is worryingly low on WalletHub’s happiness meter.

Totaling only 39.72, the scores leave a lot to be desired. In 2021, Arkansas had 3.6 divorces per 1000 people, which is higher than many other states, doing nothing to help shift them into shallower waters. 

5. Kentucky

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Scoring 40.58, Kentucky is still under the halfway mark. They are also recorded as being the second-highest state in terms of adult depression, which really adds a dampener to things.

With a high dissatisfaction rating in Emotional and Physical Wellbeing, Kentucky is also in the bottom four states regarding adequate sleep. Care about catching z’s? Kentucky may not be the state for you. 

6. Alabama

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Just barely making it from fifth to sixth spot, Alabama scored average points across the board, landing them as the sixth unhappiest state in the country.

It was fourth lowest in sports participation rate and third in adequate sleep rate. For a state ripe with southern hospitality, we would hope for more!

7. Mississippi

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Ranking second to lowest for safety, it is unsurprising that Mississippi did not do well on the overall list.

Scoring 41.42 and worryingly high rates in all three categories, Mississippi was the lowest state for sports participation and in the top five for high divorce rate.  

8. Alaska

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With online publications deeming Alaska America’s ‘most beautiful state,’ it is unfortunate to see that the residents may be less than fully content.

8. Alaska

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Alaska has the lowest income growth of all 50 states, with a five times difference from California.

It also has the most work hours, so do the math on that one. The suicide rate is third highest in the country and across the board, Alaska only managed a 42.20.

9. New Mexico


Hitting 43.49, New Mexico leaves a little to be desired. It is just after Alaska, with the fourth highest suicide rate in the country, and, disappointingly, has the highest divorce rate of all 50 states, double that in Utah.

10. Oklahoma


Oklahoma may be an exceptional musical, but though their score was 44.09 overall, they faired poorly regarding both Emotional and Physical Wellbeing and Work Environment.

Surprisingly, they were fourth in the country regarding Community and Environment. So, even if the other areas are falling short, all is not lost for Oklahoma. 

11. Indiana

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Making it out of the lowest ten in the country might be a source of relief, but Indiana only scored 46.48 overall.

11. Indiana

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While it came twentieth for Community and Environment, Indiana was fortieth when it came to Emotional and Physical Wellbeing, which is not something to call home about.

The state is the seventeenth most populous in the United States; hopefully, it may rise up the ranks in the future.

The Brighter Side Of The Picture

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Though it may be a dampener to see states that aren’t succeeding so greatly when it comes to happiness, it might help to know those that do.

Happiest States In America

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Utah, Hawaii, and Maryland were the top three happiest states in the country, offering low divorce rates, safety assurances, and, in Maryland’s case, one of the lowest suicide rates in the country.

How’s that for something to celebrate?

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This article was produced by TPR Teaching. Source.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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