Happiest States in the U.S.

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A new study ranking happiness in each state puts Louisiana at the top of the list, LiveScience reports. Data was gathered before Hurricane Katrina, however, so that number one ranking might not be an accurate reflection of the current happiness level in that state.

But the researchers are confident the rest of the rankings are sound. They focused on a specific type of person, a “representative” American–for example, a 38-year-old woman, high-school graduate, medium-wage earner–and measured how happy she would be in any state.

Happiness measurements included the smile factor in each state, self-reported happiness measurements, and objective measurements (hours of sunshine, congestion, air quality, etc.). There was a high correlation between people's subjective measurements and objective ones. In other words, if they think they're happy, they are.

Here are the top ten:

10. Maine
9. Alabama
8. South Carolina
7. Montana
6. Mississippi
5. Arizona
4. Tennessee
3. Florida
2. Hawaii
1. Louisiana

–Aileen Torres

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