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Research Shows 12 Most Unhappy States In The US

People across a few states in the USA could be happier. Various research studies show that certain states are more unhappy than the rest.

Insights suggest that financial stability is a big reason behind the unhappiness. Moreover, the insights also found other influential factors behind happiness. These are emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and community.

Let us look at some states that have ranked the highest in the unhappiness index. 

West Virginia

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West Virginia finds itself at the bottom of the happiness scale with a total score of 35.08. The state’s struggles in emotional and physical well-being are evident, where it ranks 50th. It ranks highest in adult depression and lowest in adequate sleep rate.

Another concerning statistic about West Virginia is its poverty rate, which stands at 17.9%.


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Louisiana scored 35.86, earning it a spot among the unhappiest states. The safety concerns in the state are alarming, ranking the lowest in the nation. Contributing to its overall low standing are an array of factors. It ranks third highest in divorce rate and fifth lowest in sports participation rate. It also ranks the fifth highest in average work hours.

Louisiana faces significant challenges in fostering contentment among its residents.


Tucson, Arizona, USA downtown skyline with Sentinel Peak at dusk. (Mountaintop "A" for "Arizona")

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Scoring 38.80, Tennessee suffers from a lack of happiness. It secured the 45th position in emotional and physical well-being. It also ended up at 38th in the work environment and 49th in the community and environment.

The state’s well-being requires efforts to address the factors that impact its residents’ happiness. Imagine this. 37.3% of Tennessee adults suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders. That number is higher than in the rest of the USA.


San Antonio, Texas, USA downtown city skyline.

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Arkansas scores a total of 39.72 in the happiness index. It contends with various issues affecting its residents’ well-being. It ranks 49th in emotional and physical well-being and 42nd in the work environment. 

It stands 18th in community and environment and faces health and wellness challenges. It has the fifth-highest rate of adult depression and the fourth-lowest sports participation rate. It also ranks third lowest in safety. These factors contribute to the sense of unhappiness in the state.


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With a total score of 40.58, Kentucky suffers from significant happiness challenges. Its emotional and physical well-being is particularly affected, earning the state a 47th rank—severe adult depression and inadequate sleep lead to such a low score. Kentucky fares a little better in the work environment (41st), community, and environment (26th). Yet, the well-being paints a picture of persistent struggles among its residents.


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Alabama faces hurdles in its happiness, with a total score of 40.82. It ranks a lowly 44th in emotional and physical well-being and work environment. Its 42nd rank in community and environment isn’t much better, either. The state faces challenges such as inadequate sleep rate and meager participation in sports. The state is also considered unsafe by most. The more Alabama addresses these aspects, the better it will get at happiness.


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Due to various reasons, the state ranks 42nd on emotional and physical well-being. Mississippi faces challenges, including an unsafe environment and many divorces. These factors contribute to the residents struggling to find happiness.


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With a total score of 42.20, Alaska also struggles with happiness challenges, especially regarding the environment. The city ranks 48th in the environment category, which is as alarming a fact as any. Also, Alaska has the lowest income growth despite workers putting in more hours than any state. It means that the workers earn less than the national income average.

New Mexico

Sunset in mexican canyon

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It ranks a lowly 43rd in emotional and physical well-being. It doesn’t do any better in the work environment (45th) and community and environment (17th). Apart from that, the state has significant issues, especially in mental health. In the USA, New Mexico ranks fourth in suicide rate. Unsurprisingly, it also has the highest divorce rate in the US. It’s time for the state to address these concerns and improve the happiness of its residents.


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It ranks 46th out of 50 in emotional and physical well-being and 43rd in the work environment. On a positive note, it stands out in community and environment, securing the 4th position. However, the state faces heavy challenges as a low-income state. The government needs to balance these factors to ensure a happy life for its residents.


Indianapolis - Circa May 2019: Chick-fil-A chicken restaurant. Despite ongoing controversy, Chick-fil-A is wildly popular II

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Indiana ranked as the 11th unhappiest state in the USA, with a total score of 46.48. The state faces challenges in the emotional and physical well-being of its residents. It also does not offer a happy work environment. Indiana is only moderately happy when it comes to community and environment. Indiana suffers from factors that influence the happiness of its residents. It emphasizes the need to have efforts that enhance the statewide well-being.


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Texas secures the 12th spot among the unhappiest states in the USA. Its total score of 47.66 means it suffers from specific challenges. Texas faces emotional and physical well-being issues, work environment, and community challenges. These factors highlight the range of problems that surround the state. There is a need for initiatives that address the dissatisfaction in the Lone Star State.

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