The Most Miserable States

While arguments will likely flare over just how 'miserable' the occupants of Louisiana are relative to those of Minnesota, based on Bloomberg's quantification of 'misery' these two states are the most and least miserable in our Union. Based on thirteen factors, ranging from child poverty rates to pollution, income inequality, and mental health it seems New Mexico and West Virginia are moving up the most miserable ranks most rapidly year over year.

(Click image for huge legible version)


Via Bloomberg:

Thirteen variables from the United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings were isolated to determine each state's Misery Score. For each variable, the state with the maximum misery value received 100 points, while the state with the minimum value received zero points. All other states received points in proportion to where their values fell between the two extremes. Each state's 13 scores were then averaged for a final Misery Score. A higher score indicates greater misery.


  • Air pollution levels refer to micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter. (California and Indiana worst)
  • Child Poverty rate. (New Mexico and Louisiana highest)
  • High school graduation rates refer to percent of incoming ninth graders who graduate within four years. (Nevada and Mississippi lowest)
  • Lacking Health Insurance. (Texas and Nevada highest)
  • Poor health days refer to the number of days in which a person could not perform work or household tasks due to poor mental (Arkansas and Kentucky worst) or physical health (West Virginia and Kentucky worst)
  • Premature death refers to loss of years of productive life due to death before age 75. (Mississippi and West Virginia highest)
  • Violent crimes. (Nevada and Alaska worst)
  • Personal income refers to income from all sources and is not inflation adjusted. (Connecticut and Massachusetts highest; Mississippi and Idaho lowest)
  • For income distribution, a higher Gini ratio indicates greater income inequality. (New York And Connecticut most un-equal)
  • Unemployment plus underemployment refers to total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part-time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.
  • Employment data are the averages of figures from 2Q 2012 through 1Q 2013. (Nevada and California worst)