The 2022 Utah Misery Index: A Glimpse into the Fiscal Measures of Happiness

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The Utah Foundation has written about happiness. In fact, the Utah Foundation’s Personal Quality of Life survey includes a question asking respondents if they “are happy.” While many Utahns report that they are content, the 2022 Quality of Life project shows that financial concerns are drawing down Utahns’ quality of life – from their perceptions of their communities to their own personal well-being.

That takes us to misery. The 2022 Utah Misery Index: A Glimpse into the Fiscal Measures of Happiness uses an index of financial “misery” to compare Utah to neighboring states, the U.S., and the world.


  • The U.S. misery index spiked during the first pandemic year and again in 2022, but those are nowhere near previous peaks.
  • When comparing levels of misery as determined by Hanke’s Misery Index, Utah has consistently done better than the U.S. average.
  • Utah fell near the U.S. average in 2022. Nonetheless, Utah seems positioned to remain a strong economic beacon in the nation and continue with a relatively low misery index.
  • Utah consistently fares better on the misery index than its neighboring states.
  • In 2021, Utah was second only to Wyoming in the Mountain States due to that state’s rebounding growth. Idaho and Montana were very close behind.
  • Utah was one of nine states with better than zero index scores in 2021. This was due in large part to a spike in the Beehive State’s gross domestic product growth.
  • The preliminary 2022 calculations look very different than 2021, with a jump in misery for all states. While the unemployment rate is low, the other misery index factors are concerning: inflation is high, the bank-lending rate has increased, and gross domestic product growth has slowed.

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