Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

North Carolina is 14th Most Unhappy State

If you’re a North Carolinian and happiness is your goal, the news is not so great.

The Tar Heel state ranked 36th in the nation – right behind New York and just ahead of Ohio – when it comes to being happy, according to a recent Gallup survey.

We can dream of being in Honolulu. For the second consecutive year and the seventh time in the past decade, Hawaii topped the happiness chart.

And at least we aren’t alone in our unhappiness. In fact, the national score has been dipping for the past few years.

“Well-being in the US overall continued to decline in 2018, with the national Well-Being Index score sliding to 61.2 from 61.5 in 2017,” reported Gallup. “This extends a deterioration that began in 2017. Over the past two years, the Well-Being Index has dropped 0.9 points.”

Five Keys to Happiness

Gallup has been doing the survey since 2008. It ranks all 50 states on a Well-Being Scale based on five essential elements:

  • Career: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily 

North Carolina scored highest on Community (#20) and lowest on Financial (#39). Hawaii came in first for Career, Social and Financial and fourth for Community and Physical.

Top 10 Happy States

  1. Hawaii (65.6 Well-Being Score)
  2. Wyoming (64.2)
  3. Alaska (63.9)
  4. Montana (63.5)
  5. Utah (63.4)
  6. Colorado (63.4)
  7. Vermont (63.3)
  8. Delaware (62.9)
  9. South Dakota (62.7)
  10. North Dakota (62.7)


Top 10 Unhappy States

  1. West Virginia (57)
  2. Arkansas (58.7)
  3. Kentucky (58.8)
  4. Mississippi (58.9)
  5. Tennessee (59.5)
  6. Oklahoma (59.8)
  7. Alabama (59.9)
  8. Louisiana (60)
  9. Illinois (60.3)
  10. Indiana (60.3)


“As in prior years, wellbeing in the U.S. exhibits regional patterns. The Northern Plains and Mountain West are higher wellbeing areas, along with some Western states and pockets of the Northeast and Atlantic. The lowest wellbeing states are concentrated in the South and extend northward through the industrial Midwest.”




About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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