Tennessee may boast one of the country's friendliest cities, but the state as a whole ranks among the least happy places in the nation.
Tennessee's unhappy designation is based on many factors that impact a person's level, or perception, of happiness, according to analysis from WalletHub. Tennessee comes in 45th out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in a new ranking that looks at physical and emotional health, personal expression of happiness on social media, binge drinking rate and safety ranking, among others.
The state doesn't fare well — it's developed a health culture characterized by unwellness — and the underlying measures to WalletHub's analysis support other studies that look at physical and emotional wellbeing.
People are more prone to poor mental health days than in other places and the high rates of obesity and other chronic disease impact quality of life and personal satisfaction.
"Factors like physical health, work life and family environment all can play a role in overall happiness," said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. "Happiness is important because it generally snowballs into other aspects of our life, be it finance, family or friends."
Tennesseans were among the top seven most likely to report happiness, or the pursuit of happiness, on social media but when asked to self-report personal satisfaction with life, the state comes in at 46 — hinting at a disconnect between public persona and genuine satisfaction.
According to WalletHub, the state is in the middle of the pack for commute times, current unemployment and job security, as well as its suicide rate.
But its poor scores in the rate of heart attacks (50 out of 51), sports participation and life expectancy help drag the rank down the list. It ranks in the top 5 least safe states because of risk factors from natural disasters and risks at home and in communities.
7 Happiest States
- North Dakota
7 Least Happy States
- West Virginia