(CBS4) – Colorado is not home to the happiest of Americans. At least that’s according to a new study from WalletHub. The Centennial State wound up with a relatively “fair to middlin'” ranking of 23.
Colorado is famous for 300 days of sunshine, beautiful mountains and a high quality of life. Seems like a recipe for happiness if you ask us. So why the poor score?
Colorado did get high marks in WalletHub’s “Work Environment” metric — in the Top 10, in fact (No. 9). A large reason for this was the high level of income growth many residents have been experiencing as of late. Of course, as one of the experts consulted for the study points out, more money doesn’t always lead to more happiness.
“Beyond a certain point, having more money does not improve happiness any further. Some research even suggests that after a person has achieved a certain degree of wealth, further increases in material resources can actually reduce happiness,” wrote Jeffrey M. Stanton, a professor at Syracuse University.
Colorado also got a decent score (17) in the “Emotional & Physical Well-Being” category. This included top marks for participation in sports. And apparently Coloradans have been getting great sleep lately because Colorado was named third best for “highest adequate sleep rate.”
But it was the “Community & Environment” measurement (47) that dragged Colorado down.
To determine the “Community & Environment” score, WalletHub took weather conditions into consideration. (That couldn’t be what hurt Colorado with its marvelous bluebird days and delightful change of seasons!) Safety did hurt, however. A different recent WalletHub study they relied on put Colorado at No. 36 in the list of safest states. Ouch. Colorado also must have scored poorly in the deep dive WalletHub did into volunteer rates, separation and divorce rates and average leisure time spent per day. When was the last time you had a bunch of leisure time? If you’re like me, you had to stop and think about that one.
Perhaps Jared Caughron’s comments might help us understand why Colorado isn’t No. 1 on the list of happiest states. He’s another expert WalletHub consulted with for their study.
“I would point to cultural factors of a place before I would highlight the physical features of a place,” he wrote. “Does living in Hawaii tend to make you a happier person? I am sure there is some impact of nice weather and pretty views. However, if your perspective on life and how it should be lived is out of sync with the people in your community, you will struggle to find happiness.”