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10 unhappiest states list reveals some surprises

Red, white and very, very blue.

Researchers at WalletHub, a personal finance company, ranked the unhappiest states in the US by analyzing 30 metrics accounting for residents’ emotional and physical well-being, the areas’ employment picture, community and environment.

“It is important to live where you can afford housing without being financially stressed and where you can build some sort of community and develop strong friendship networks,” Dr. Miriam Liss, professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington, said in a statement.

The ratings follow a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found nearly 1 in 5 adults in the US have been diagnosed with depression, with the Appalachian and southern Mississippi Valley regions experiencing the country’s highest rates.

Liss noted that people in these distressed states “can do small things like focusing on gratitude, savoring positive moments, engaging in mindfulness practice, becoming involved in the community, doing kind acts to others, and making time to nurture friendships and relationships.”

West Virginia was named the unhappiest state in the country.
Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Rates of depression, anxiety and alcohol consumption have reached unsettling highs in the US — and while location may be a contributing factor, for some, it’s not a driving force.

“If you are mindful and feel supported and cared for by those around you, you can be happy wherever you are,” Ellen Langer, professor of psychology at Harvard University and author of “The Mindful Body: Thinking Our Way to Chronic Health,” told media outlets.

These are the 10 unhappiest states according to WalletHub.

10. Oklahoma

Oklahoma is the 10th unhappiest state in the country.

The Sooner State features a low possibility of income growth, which greatly affects its residents’ well-beings.

9. New Mexico

New Mexico reported the highest divorce rate in the US.

It also has a high suicide rate and low volunteer participation.

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve

8. Alaska

Alaska has a high suicide rate.

Its residents report a high number of work hours — without encouraging income growth.

7. Mississippi

Mississippi was found to have the second-lowest safety ranking and the fourth-highest divorce rate.

It also ranks terribly in sports participation and safety.

6. Alabama

Alabama has poor ratings for adequate sleep, sports participation, volunteering, and safety.

Churchill Downs in Louisville
Matt Stone/Louisville Courier Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

5. Kentucky

The Bluegrass State has some of the worst rates of adult depression, adequate sleep, and sports participation.

4. Arkansas

Arkansas was found to have the second-lowest rating for residents’ emotional and physical well-being.

The state also reported some of the most concerning rates of adult depression, sports participation, and safety.

Nashville has become popular with celebrities, but not with WalletHub analysts who named it No. 3.
Getty Images

3. Tennessee

Coming in third, Tennessee has the second-lowest rating for community and environment.

2. Louisiana

Bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana reported the second-worst work environment in the country.

The Creole State was also found to have some of the worst rates of sports participation, safety, work hour numbers, and divorce.

1. West Virginia

West Virginia was named the unhappiest state in the country.

The landlocked state has the worst rates of adult depression, emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and adequate sleep of all 50 states.