Sure, our taxes are high and our incomes low. We shovel snow for about half the year. We don’t have much in the way of big-city amenities, such as museums and professional sports teams.

But on the scale that matters the most, happiness, we’re near the top.

Research published recently in the journal Science ranked Mainers as the happiest people in New England and the 10th happiest in the U.S.

The research was based on a survey of 1.3 million people across the U.S. and it showed that, ultimately, happiness is based on a lot of factors that have nothing to do with incomes or taxes.

Louisiana, one might think, would be a tough place to live. By most measurements — income, health, education, divorce, illiteracy, obesity — the state is ranked near the bottom, and that’s not even counting the constant danger of hurricanes and inundation.

But, Dixieland music and Cajun/Creole cooking can apparently work wonders. The residents of Louisiana are, the study found, the happiest people in the land, followed by Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, South Carolina and Mississippi.

If you think sun and warm weather determine happiness, then how do you account for Montana and Maine ranking 8th and 10th, respectively?

And it’s certainly not about money — Connecticut and New York had the unhappiest residents in the U.S. 

Happiness, the survey found, is all about quality of life — safe cities, low crime rates, stable communities, commuting times and the availability of recreation areas.

Maine certainly has its problems, which we often explore on the pages of this newspaper. But, at the end of the day, it’s a darn good place to live.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.