The 10 Happiest States, According to this Study. You Might be Surprised!

Among the 10 categories of competitiveness we measure to rank America’s Top States for Business is Quality of Life, which carries a possible 300 points out of 2,500 total. We look at a variety of factors including crime, health care, local attractions and environmental quality. Is a happy state also a healthy state for business? See which states come out on top for Quality of Life.

© John Lund and Stephanie Roeser/Blend Images/Getty Images

© John Lund and Stephanie Roeser/Blend Images/Getty Images

 

10. Washington

© Jose Luis Stephens/Radius Images/Getty Images

© Jose Luis Stephens/Radius Images/Getty Images

From Seattle to Spokane, the Evergreen State offers a near-pristine environment, a wealth of local attractions and relatively low crime. The state climbs from last year’s 15th-place ranking by posting modest improvements nearly across the board. However, the percentage of residents without health insurance has been rising slightly in recent years.

2013 Quality of Life Rank (Points): 10 (218)

2013 Overall Rank: 20

2012 Quality of Life Rank: 15

9. New Hampshire

© Raymond Forbes/Superstock/Getty Images

© Raymond Forbes/Superstock/Getty Images

With one of the lowest crime rates in the country, the Granite State is one of the safest places to live, and one of the healthiest. The state falls from its top ranking in the category in 2012 when it tied with Hawaii, largely because of a decline in air quality. Particle pollution and high ozone days are on the rise, possibly because of the improving economy. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services cites rising population and highway densities as areas of concern.

2013 Quality of Life Rank (Points): 9 (219)

2013 Overall Rank: 29

2012 Quality of Life Rank: 1

8. Oregon

© Cliff Leight/Aurora/Getty Images

© Cliff Leight/Aurora/Getty Images

Looking for something to do in the Beaver State? Choose from hippy hip Portland or the other-worldly beauty of Crater Lake National Park. Air quality is among the best in the country. Oregonians are healthier than most Americans, with lower instances of obesity and diabetes. The state’s improving health helped Oregon stage a sizable improvement from its 2012 ranking.

2013 Quality of Life Rank (Points): 8 (220)

2013 Overall Rank: 17

2012 Quality of Life Rank: 17

7. South Dakota

© Blaine Harrington/Age Fotostock/Getty Images

© Blaine Harrington/Age Fotostock/Getty Images

America’s Top State for Business overall is also no slouch when it comes to Quality of Life. Marvel at the attraction that gives the Mount Rushmore State its nickname, as you enjoy one of the cleanest environments in the country. Crime is relatively low, and health care is generally accessible. However, the overall health of South Dakotans is just about average compared to the rest of the nation.

2013 Quality of Life Rank (Points): 7 (224)

2013 Overall Rank: 1

2012 Quality of Life Rank: 7

5. (tie) North Dakota

© Matthew Staver/ Bloomberg /Getty Images

© Matthew Staver/ Bloomberg /Getty Images

The Peace Garden State lives up to its nickname when you look at the low crime rate, and when you consider air and water quality. The state’s phenomenal oil shale boom has led to some growing pains — literally. Obesity is higher than the national average, though health care is generally accessible. All in all though, North Dakota is proving that a strong economy and strong quality of life are not mutually exclusive.

2013 Quality of Life Rank (Points): 5 (226)

2013 Overall Rank: 3

2012 Quality of Life Rank: 5

5. (tie) Maine

© George Ostertag/Superstock/ Getty Images

© George Ostertag/Superstock/ Getty Images

The Pine Tree State is the safest state, with the nation’s lowest crime rate. Mainers are healthy, with the percentage of uninsured residents one of the lowest in the country. Pollution is low, with toxic chemical releases among the nation’s lowest. But Maine’s reputation as a quiet state is well-earned. If you are not an outdoor enthusiast, attractions can be hard to come by.

2013 Quality of Life Rank (Points): 5 (226)

2013 Overall Rank: 39

2012 Quality of Life Rank: 4

4. Nebraska

© Kevin Horan/Stone/Getty Images

© Kevin Horan/Stone/Getty Images

There is more than just corn in the Cornhusker State, which offers relatively low crime, clean air and apparently a relatively stress-free lifestyle — heart disease and high blood pressure here are well below the national average. Improving health and a declining crime rate helped Nebraska mount a solid improvement in quality of life this year.

2013 Quality of Life Rank (Points): 4 (228)

2013 Overall Rank: 4

2012 Quality of Life Rank: 13

3. Minnesota

© Saibal/Flickr/Getty Images

© Saibal/Flickr/Getty Images

The North Star State has something to offer almost everyone. Enjoy the natural beauty of the North Woods or the cosmopolitan sophistication of the Twin Cities. And everyone, it seems, is “Minnesota Nice” — so much so that the crime rate is among the nation’s lowest. The home of the famed Mayo Clinic is one of America’s healthiest states, and the environment is among the cleanest. But if you’re not a fan of winter, beware. With an average annual temperature of just 41.2 degrees Fahrenheit, Minnesota is one of America’s coldest states. But they’ll tell you — nicely — that they know how to adapt.

2013 Quality of Life Rank (Points): 3 (242)

2013 Overall Rank: 15

2012 Quality of Life Rank: 5

2. Vermont

© Michele Falzone/AWL Images/Getty Images

© Michele Falzone/AWL Images/Getty Images

The Green Mountain State takes its name from the verdant range that defines this state, but Vermont is more than just mountains. It’s more than maple syrup, too, though Vermonters will proudly tell you the state accounts for 39% of the nation’s total production. Vermont is one of America’s healthiest states by many measures, from infectious disease rates to the percentage of residents without health insurance. The crime rate and pollution are among the nation’s lowest.

2013 Quality of Life Rank (Points): 2 (265)

2013 Overall Rank: 31

2012 Quality of Life Rank: 3

1. Hawaii

© Douglas Klug/Flickr/Getty Images

© Douglas Klug/Flickr/Getty Images

Hawaiians are passionate about the environment, and it shows. There is no shortage of attractions in a state that is among the most visited. The Aloha State offers nearly every type of climate known to man, so unless you crave polar conditions, you’re in luck. This is a healthy state, with low instances of cancer and heart disease and few residents without health insurance. Hawaii’s top-ranked quality of life for a second straight year makes it easy to forget about the state’s dismal overall ranking.

2013 Quality of Life Rank (Points): 1 (272)

2013 Overall Rank: 50

2012 Quality of Life Rank: 1

This article was originally published by Scott Cohn of CNBC on MSN Real Estate. To see the original article, click here.

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