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Happiness Costs Arizonans $76,350


Psychologist Daniel Kahneman and economist Angus Deaton analyzed Gallup’s 2009 findings on America’s perceived “well-being.” Although controversial, they concluded that a household income of $75,000 is just about right. After $75,000, Americans are just buying stuff, not happiness or “the day-to-day experiences that make life pleasant or unpleasant.” However, when taking a closer look at this calculation by state, cost of living plays a vital role. For example, residents of Hawaii must make significantly more than Tennesseans.

Check out NerdWallet’s map that visualizes this index adjusted by cost of living. The darker the state, the more residents must make to be happy, according to Kahneman and Deaton.

Check out more NerdWallet content on cities here.

Source: Advisor Perspectives

  • Amy Livingston

    Now if you just correlated the data in this map against the average household income in each state, you could figure out which states should theoretically have the happiest populations (based purely on financial factors).

    One thing that’s puzzling: in the table, you show only one target number for Michigan, but in the map, it looks like the Upper Peninsula is darker than the rest of the state, meaning it has a higher target income. Given the low cost of living in the U.P., this doesn’t seem to make much sense. Is it a mistake?