A recent study by WalletHub set out to find which state has the happiest people, and Utah took the cake, ranking nearly two points above the nearest contender, Minnesota. (See the map below to see how other states performed.)
In order to discover the happiest state, researchers based their conclusions on 28 metrics, measuring everything from emotional and physical health to income and volunteering. In their research, WalletHub discovered that Utah is doing well in quite a few areas:
- Utah ranked No. 1 for highest volunteerism rate (45.2%)
- Utah ranked the lowest in heart attacks rates (2.7%)
- Utah ranked No. 1 in lowest number of work hours
- Utah ranked the lowest in divorce rates (15.97%)
- Utah ranked as the fifth-lowest state in obesity rates
- Utah ranked as the third highest state in sports participation rates
Overall, Utah ranked No. 1 for having the best work environments, No. 2 for having the best community and environment, and No. 4 for having the best emotional and physical well-being.
While Utah is made up of a diverse mix of religions, the influence of many LDS values can be seen in the categories the researchers chose to measure as well as the areas Utah performed the best in.
► You'll also like: 5 Reasons Why Mormons Are Happier, Says Researcher
For instance, the Word of Wisdom encourages Saints to remain active, healthy, and well-balanced, not to mention organized Church sports help members to fulfill those goals. Mormons also place family as a high priority, even over work. In addition, the Church places a large focus on serving others, spending $40 million on welfare and other Church-sponsored humanitarian projects for more than 30 years and volunteering over 25 million hours of service in 2015 alone.
Though this study focuses on happiness based on state, it's easy to see how gospel principles lead to a life of greater happiness if we choose to follow them.