The study included data based on the amount of COVID-19 restrictions.

There’s a lot of gloom in the world right now, but a new study says Marylanders have it better than most of the country. Maryland was ranked as the 5th happiest state in the nation in a recent study conducted by WalletHub. The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the mental health of all Americans. WalletHub looked at a different social and environmental factors to determine the “happiness factor” of each state.

So what makes Maryland so happy? The state ranked highly in two of the study’s three main categories: "emotional and physical well-being" and "community and environment." Emotional and physical well-being includes depression and suicide rates, physical health, life expectancy, and current issues like COVID testing rates and amount of coronavirus restrictions in place. Community and environment includes weather, community safety, free time, and rates of divorce.

Source: WalletHub

Maryland has a lot of parks, beaches, and recreational areas along with temperate year-round weather needed to enjoy time outside. It also has an unemployment rate that is lower than the national average, and it is filled with diverse communities. Studies show a person is more likely to be happy if they like the geography where they live.

“The key is finding a location that makes you feel alive and aligns with your priorities and how you want to live your life. If you love the ocean (fishing, SCUBA diving, paddle boarding, etc.), it would be counter-productive to live in South Dakota,” says Suzie Duff, Ph.D. Chair of Human Services at Palm Beach State College. “Likewise, if you love rock climbing, the desert, and beautiful rock formations, a coastal town may not be the place for you. ... The first step is self-evaluation and identifying what matters to you, then living by those priorities.”

The third category, work and environment focuses on employment and financial issues. The study looked at things like unemployment rates, average income, average hours worked, and credit score. The happiest state in the study was Hawaii, with West Virginia down at the bottom as the unhappiest state.

The full “Happiest States in America” list is available at WalletHub.