Haters call it America’s armpit. But real ones know New Jersey is a great place to live, as evidenced by a recent report that says it is one of the happiest states in the country.
The report, compiled by WalletHub, ranks New Jersey as the fifth-happiest state. Can you feel the joy in the air?
New Jersey ranks behind only tropical Hawaii, oddly shaped Maryland, cold Minnesota and, somehow, Utah, despite none of those states having disco fries or two iconic reality shows filmed there. Ranking just below New Jersey are Idaho, California and Illinois, likely because they don’t have good bagels. The unhappiest state was West Virginia.
New Jersey’s noisy neighbors New York and Pennsylvania rank 23rd and 27th, respectively, nowhere near the Garden State.
The study used a composite of three categories to judge happiness: Emotional and physical well-being, work environment and community and environment. Well-being is weighted the heaviest of the three, double the weight of each of the other two. That weighting system was a boon to New Jersey, which ranks second in that category behind Hawaii, according to the study.
That ranking corresponds with New Jersey also having the fifth-lowest share of adult depression in the country. WalletHub said it also has the lowest suicide rate and third-lowest divorce rate. Those strong numbers offset New Jersey 47th overall ranking in long-term unemployment ranking.
In the other two categories, New Jersey is actually fairly pedestrian. It ranks 28th in work environment and 19th in community and environment. For context, Utah ranks first in both categories, but is only slightly happier than New Jersey due to its ranking of 29th in the well-being department. It seems skiing and hiking all the time is only slightly more satisfying than spending 24 hours straight in a diner. And that’s science.
This isn’t the first WalletHub report to rate New Jersey highly. An August study ranked New Jersey as the second best state to live in, thanks to high ranks in safety, education, health and quality of life. Only Massachusetts, which is the 14th happiest state according to WalletHub, was rated higher. Too bad Tom Brady didn’t see that report before leaving the Patriots in tatters.
So the next time a hater tries to tell you, the average New Jersey resident, that your state is no good, just put on the fifth-happiest face in the country, and walk away.