Why are Minnesotans among the happiest people in the country?
Photo by Kevin White
Most Americans inhabit a privileged society, fortunate to have enough of our basic needs met that we can ask ourselves: Am I happy?
It’s a question that has increasingly become part of our national conversation, with books, college courses, and TV shows dedicated to happiness: what causes it, how we gain or lose it, and how it relates to our health and well-being. Minnesota comes close to the very top of every measure of the happiest states in the U.S.—third in a recent Gallup survey, fourth according to Forbes—for reasons that begin with the understanding that happiness is a deep state of meaningfulness and purpose, rather than a passing mood. In putting together this feature, we looked into the fabric of life in Minnesota to reveal several factors that appear to be key to our happiness.