We're truly getting the message that there is something life-affirming about Hawaii, because it has been chosen as the happiest state in the US for the third year in a row. The Aloha State has become synonymous with paradise, and its people report the highest levels of wellbeing, according to WalletHub’s 2020 "Happiest States in America" survey.

Pacific coast sunrise at Lanikai beach.
Hawaii's beautiful beaches and sunrises make people happy © tomas del amo/Shutterstock

The personal finance website's annual report ranks all 50 states on 32 measures, including emotional and physical wellbeing and work and community environment. This year, because COVID-19 has caused sickness, limited social interactions and led to widespread job losses, WalletHub searched for the states where people can stay positive despite the circumstances. While coming top overall. Hawaii was ranked second for “emotional and physical wellbeing” and third for “community and environment.” It was also ranked in second place for the lowest share of depressed adults, and in fourth place for the lowest divorce rate.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the birthplace of former US president, Barack Obama, is consistently found at the top of the happiest states survey. Life is Hawaii feels easygoing, fun, low-key and casual, and is pretty much lived outdoors. This is where its picture-perfect beaches, crystal waterfall pools and spectacular sunrises and sunsets come into their own, and encounters with nature are infused with the traditional Hawaiian value of aloha ʻaina – love and respect for the land.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park during sunrise
Utah is the second-happiest state in the US © f11photo/Shutterstock

Utah came in second place on the report, and it scored first for "community and environment" and had the highest volunteer rate. It was followed by 3. Minnesota, 4. New Jersey, 5. Maryland, 6. California, 7. North Dakota, 8. Iowa, 9. Idaho and 10. Connecticut. “Happiness is a feeling of joy, contentment, and overall positive emotions,” says Dr Chieh-Chen Bowen of Cleveland State University’s psychology department. “Happiness is a universal goal. We all want to be happy and want such feelings to last.”

To read the full WalletHub Happiest States in America survey for 2020, please see here.

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