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Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* WalletHub

People determine their own happiness. But how content we are with life is not only and always a matter of perspective. And it’s certainly not about beauty, power or wealth — at least, not beyond an annual income of $75,000. Where we choose to live can also influence our level of happiness.

In this study, WalletHub’s analysts drew upon the findings of “happiness” research to determine which environmental factors are linked to a person’s overall well-being and satisfaction with life. Previous studies have found that good economic, emotional, physical and social health are all key to a well-balanced and fulfilled life.

To determine where Americans exhibit the best combination of these factors, we examined the 50 states across 28 key metrics, ranging from depression rate to sports participation rate to income growth.

Illinois ranked 20th happiest. Wisconsin took the 9 spot, Michigan was 29th happiest and Indiana placed 34th.

The least happy people were in West Virginia, and the happiest were in Minnesota.

* The Question: Do you consider yourself “happy”? Explain.


  1. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:55 pm:

    Yep. Absolutely. I make a decent living, own a house, am able to save some money, have a happy and healthy family. I don’t get upset about what I don’t have.

  2. - Dome Gnome - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:57 pm:

    Yes, I consider myself happy but I’d be much more at ease if I lived in a state with more functional politics. If my marriage operated like our state, I’d file for divorce.

  3. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 2:58 pm:

    I live in Springfield. What is there to be happy about?

  4. - Epic - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    Yes, I would say right now is one of the happiest times of my life.

  5. - WAUKEGAN - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:01 pm:

    I am very thankful and happy for all the things I have! Especially mine and my families health!

    I find it interesting how many people believe their life will be happier sometimes even in a different state. “the grass isn’t greener on the other side”. Even when another state has lower property taxes there are usually things that make up the difference somewhere else. bad weather, higher crime rates or higher taxes and fees on something else.

  6. - Iggy - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:06 pm:

    I only remembered what it meant to be happy when living in Illinois after I left state government and the patch.

  7. - Semayor - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:08 pm:

    Not since trump won.

  8. - NoGifts - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:11 pm:

    I am happy and consider myself lucky each day. I bet people who read Capitol Fax are, on the whole, happier than the general population. :)

  9. - Smooch - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:11 pm:

    Really Rich, we are taking WalletHub’s rankings.

    Illinois is happier than Maine, Texas and Florida? We are going with that are we?

    Did you post this with straight face?

  10. - slow down - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    As long as I don’t think about how I’m going to pay for 3 college educations, I’m happy.

  11. - Joe M - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    Yes, very happy. (exclamation point). I have a good job. I love my wife. I have great kids. And none of my kids live at home any more, and none are in jail and none have outstanding warrants for their arrest. Life is good.

    Its interesting that as far as happy countries go, polls show that the Scandinavian countries are all in the top ten happiest countries.

  12. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:15 pm:

    ===Illinois is happier than Maine, Texas and Florida? We are going with that are we?===

    Just because you are miserable, doesn’t mean everyone else in Illinois is. These rankings use a ton of data over the whole population.

  13. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

    Kids are grown with good jobs, extended family is healthy, we got jobs that we like, house paid for, savings ok, involved with community volunteer activities. Illinois is not much different than other states I have lived in. Maybe we are lucky, but things could be far worse

  14. - The_Equalizer - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:21 pm:

    Very much so. I own a house and hope to retire by 60 with grandkids around. Hard to complain…yet I still do. :)

  15. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:21 pm:

    Happy —mostly due to family doing well. However I tend to ignore that wailing from the fake newsers about how bad it is in IL. It is silliness o say the least
    Plus who would not be happy to live in this state of opportunity where guys like Capt Fax can become very wealthy with this flim flam, Speaker Madigan can continue to lead and we can ignore the idea of a revenue bond capitol program.

  16. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:21 pm:

    As a state worker who was hired at step IC in 2014 and has been stuck at below entry level wages since I am far from happy.

    Its very depressing if you actually knew how much one govenor can mess up young and new state workers.

  17. - Reaganing - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    I would say I have a pretty good outlook on life, generally speaking.

  18. - ===Ducky=== - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:24 pm:

    No I don’t need you or Wallethub to assess happiness. How about you put your USA Today down for a minute and think for yourself, instead of pretending you can do it for me or anyone else?

  19. - walker - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:31 pm:

    i’d be a lot happier if I weren’t infected with the Illinois politics bug.

  20. - Come On - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:33 pm:

    Very happy. Very lucky. Very grateful.

  21. - doofusguy - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:38 pm:

    I think I’m happy despite the times when I’m not -

  22. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:43 pm:

    on a day to day basis yes, but not so much when I pull back and see the whole picture which has some holes in it. And I’m so unhappy not just since the election of Trump, but with his performance.much worse than I expected, but clearly what I expected as I screamed at the “Susan Sarandons” before the election to vote for Hillary. the Trump comments after Charlottesville, especially his second turn at dual blame, sent me into a deep political funk that spilled over in ways I swore I would never let happen. I simply can’t behave anymore when someone even intimates they did not vote for her.

  23. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:46 pm:

    I would say content for myself, happy for my children, but worried about their future.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:48 pm:

    ===Do you consider yourself “happy”?===

    Since this Spring, I’ve tried to be happy, and calm, and at peace. I’m lucky. The simplistic saying “there are people worse off” shouldn’t be tossed around as flippantly as it is.

    I’m trying to find a happiness with a peace. I’m happy in so many ways, blessed.

    To tie myself to this polling/ranking, I’d say “if I had my same situation; family, friends, any variable you’d like to add, and then have these same answers be married to a locale, would I be ‘happier’… I don’t think I would be, even moving to places I’d like to be… South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee… ”

    Since Spring, and things I’d like to be, or want, or strive… I’m as happy and blessed as I can be until I can get to a more peaceful Zen place.

    Illinois can be that place. It’s all up to me.

  25. - Little Egypt - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:50 pm:

    Yes, yes, yes. I’m a 20 year cancer survivor, hubby and I are retired, own our home, have a stable of vehicles, both sons are college educated and neither they nor us had any college debt (we did pay as you go). Healthy, live in a small community with very little crime. Oh yes, God has blessed us immensely.

  26. - Perrid - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    I am certainly content, I have no real complaints. My life is fairly easy and stress free, I have a good job that provides for everything I need and then some. When I hear that question I get a picture of cheerful people always being chipper and energetic and outgoing and things like that, which is not me, but again, I’m pretty content with my life right now.

  27. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:57 pm:

    ===Wisconsin took the 9 spot===

    Was “happy” a part of dumb, fat, and happy?

  28. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    No, I’m not. There are good times and joy here and there. But for the most part I feel like a partisan in an occupied land. I am fearful and anxious, fierce, passionate, and sometimes hopeful.
    Happiness seems foreign and transitory now. I go feel satisfaction when I’ve organized or participated in a direct action or had a meaning filled moment.
    But I think I’ve lost happiness.

  29. - titan - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:03 pm:

    I’m a happy person.

    While life certainly hasn’t always gone perfect or ideal, I have pretty much always been a fairly happy person.

    On the whole, things have gone rather well too.

  30. - Tequila Mockingbird - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:04 pm:

    No. At an age where I planned to pay off a mortgage and save more for retirement, my wife and I are paying $1700 per month for high deductible health insurance and higher taxes. Working harder with less to show for it. I’m worn out and tired of fighting it.

  31. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:04 pm:

    I need a love to keep me happy,
    I need a love, baby won’t ya keep me happy.
    Baby, won’t ya keep me happy.

  32. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:09 pm:

    I’d say I am pretty freaking happy when it comes to my individual life right now outside of my rooting interests in the Chicago Bears and Illini sports.

    In the background though is general anxiety and fear that is politics related.

    Just about every day I come across something a national Republican politician is doing that feels like they are pointlessly and obviously lying to me, cheating me as a taxpayer, and/or putting me in needless harm from powerful economic forces, environmental dangers, or foreign adversaries over which I have no control so that Republicans can obtain some partisan benefit to the detriment of me as an individual and/or the country generally.

    Still, I have mostly adjusted to the new 2017 reality without letting my fear and anxiety interfere too much with my sleep, work, or personal relationships… except when it comes to the healthcare debate which feels like a life or death issue for me and could ultimately be as someone with a pre-existing condition who was denied insurance pre-Obamacare.

  33. - Interim Retired - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:17 pm:

    While there are things that could be better, I am much more positive than negative. I am retired, but enjoy working 3 days/week. 3 of our 4 kids have graduated w/jobs related to what they studied - the 4th is in college (hence working 3 days/week). My concern w/politics & government is that compromise is seen as a filthy word today. Kids today do more volunteer work than my generation ever did & that is cause for celebration.

  34. - DeseDemDose - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:17 pm:

    Good Physical and Mental health. The rest is up to you.

  35. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:31 pm:

    @Honeybear, on this board, we are happy with you!!!

  36. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 4:42 pm:

    Happines is…..sitting in a deer stand.

  37. - RoscoeRatMatt - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 5:09 pm:

    Still working on ‘happy,’ but I’d say I can spot it at the end of the tunnel. I’m 34, with 12 years in state gov’t and, despite being a couple step increases from $75K, was able to buy my apartment in Roscoe Village free and clear with the help of family. I’m generally pleased where the home-front is concerned, but conversely, the property taxes, fees, fines, and general increased costs of living in the Chicagoland area enrages me immensely. I suppose I should be thankful I can afford it, but that gratitude hasn’t hit me yet. A complete and total sea change in Chicagoland politicians (mayor, governor, county board president, commissioners, et all) might move the needle a few points further in the right direction.

  38. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 5:10 pm:

    Amalia and Honeybear- I would offer you this one small token of advice, something that has taken me a couple of decades to achieve following the trauma of the ’80s Farm Crisis.

    Always, everyday, look for a moment of happiness. Take time to watch a cloud. Listen to birdsong. Feel a rose petal. Just a little something for just a few seconds.

    It helps:)

  39. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 5:21 pm:

    @Anon221, thank you. good reminder.

  40. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 5:48 pm:

    Yes I am happy. Today I had a bowel movement and the Cubs play tonight. What is there not to be happy about?

  41. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 5:59 pm:

    Happy enough.

    – MrJM

  42. - AlfondoGonz - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 7:48 pm:

    In moments

  43. - Iamthepita - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 9:39 pm:

    Taking subjective perspective and interpreting that into objective data… cue Pharrell’s music video “Happy” and report your findings after 24 hours:

  44. - Eddy - Wednesday, Sep 20, 17 @ 9:51 pm:

    If I wake up breathing, it’s an awesome day. If I wake up in Heaven, it’ll be an awesome eternity. Either way, I love being alive. Every day I choose to be happy. So I am happy.

  45. - cc - Thursday, Sep 21, 17 @ 1:27 am:

    I have a healthy 6 month old great grandson and a great granddaughter that could be here for me to hold at any moment. What could be better.

  46. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Sep 21, 17 @ 7:35 am:

    “It is difficult to find happiness within oneself, but it is impossible to find it anywhere else.”

    Arthur Schopenhauer

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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