The Utah Foundation recently released its Personal Quality of Life Index. It shows that Utahns’ well-being is on the downward slide, declining from a score of 82 in 2018 to 76 in 2022.
But how might Utah compare to other states? We don’t have a national version of our Quality of Life survey, but we can get a glimpse from other indicators. For instance, WalletHub’s recent “Happiest States” rating shows that Utah comes in at fourth. This was based on a collection of datapoints from various sources.
This “Happiest States” rating is divided into three sub-ratings: Utahns’ “emotion & physical well-being” ranks 29th in the nation, but its “work environment” and “community & environment” both come in at first place in the nation. It’s worth noting that Utah is joined by neighboring Idaho with a strong showing, for similar reasons.
The well-being sub-rating depends heavily on three mental health indicators, along with numerous other factors. The work environment sub-rating is based on factors such as number of hours worked per week, as well as job satisfaction and income. The community and environment sub-rating is based heavily on weather, as well as the number of leisure hours spent per week and other factors.
Some of the factors in the “Happiest States” rating align well with the factors in Utah Foundation’s Personal Quality of Life Index. In fact, the Index gets right to the point in asking Utahns if they are happy. However, WalletHub’s approach to measuring quality of life at the “community” level is completely different from ours. This provides a good reminder that there is no consensus on what quality of life means – much less “happiness.” There is a vast gulf between Saul Bellow’s definition of happiness as “gratitude for being” and Jonathan Swift’s “Happiness is the perpetual possession of being well deceived.”
Source: Adam McCann, WalletHub, 2022’s Happiest States in America, Sept. 20, 2022, https://wallethub.com/edu/happiest-states/6959.