Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Sunshine State Ranks Low in Happiness

TALLAHASSEE, FL - Florida's nickname may be the "Sunshine State," but that feeling might not always extend to the folks who live here.

The state ranks 36th when it comes to "happiness," according to an analysis by WalletHub. Researchers looked at state-specific figures about income, health, divorce rates and other factors to come up with the list.

Florida gets low marks for its low rate of volunteerism and high divorce rate, but nice weather and recreation kept the state from hitting the bottom of the list, said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub spokesperson.

"Florida had a very high weather ranking on its side, along with a high number of attractions," she said, "so that's why you'll see it just beyond the middle of the pack.

Utah, Minnesota and North Dakota ranked at the top of the list and - perhaps since misery loves company - our neighbors Mississippi and Alabama are among the "least happy" states, along with West Virginia, according to the analysis.

Health and economic issues both are weighing heavy on Florida, according to Gonzalez.

"Florida, for instance, had a very high prevalence of heart attacks last year," she said, "and ranked as the worst state as far as income growth over the last five years."

As for the theory that money can't buy happiness, Gonzalez said that's generally correct, based on the results of this analysis.

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