The Most Relaxed States In America
United States Of Zen: Discovering The Most Relaxed States
In a world that always seems frenetic and fast paced, finding moments of relaxation and tranquility is more important than ever. This is true for every American, from those who live in the hustle and bustle of city life to others who have a more rural existence.
With the NFL season now well underway and the NBA season beginning at the end of the month, supporting our favorite teams can be both a source of calm and frenzy for fans (especially if a sports betting wager is involved). But one thing all teams provide for loyal supporters is an outlet and distraction from the grind of daily life, even if the team’s performances can sometimes increase the heart rates of those watching!
With an autumnal sense of serenity, the research team at Gambling.com decided to work out the most & least relaxed states in the U.S. They did this by measuring five different factors that influence the general level of chill in all 50 states: crime rate, air quality, forest/tree cover, disposable income (average salary minus rent), and online search volumes for the phrases “mindfulness” and “meditation.”
A lower crime rate, more disposable income, and practicing meditation and mindfulness methods have obvious stress reduction benefits. Being around forests and trees can also have many positives for human health, while exposure to good quality air helps prevent a number of diseases and premature death. When all this is calmly considered, which states are the most & least relaxed in America?
Which States Lead The Way At Taking It Easy?
After drawing a deep breath from our diaphragm and tallying the scores, New Hampshire is the Most Relaxed U.S. state. The Granite State ranked near the top of 4 of the 5 analyzed categories, including the second lowest crime rate, and second highest % of forest cover across the nation - with its lowest showing (disposable income) still above the national average. This all culminated in a final Overall Relaxation Score of 87 out of 100.
New Hampshire Takes The Chilled-Out Crown
Tied in #2, with 84 out of 100 apiece, are Maine and Vermont. Vermont has the U.S.’s highest concentration of Google lookups for the terms “meditation” and “mindfulness” - showing that Vermonters have an unrivaled interest in calming their mind. Maine meanwhile tops the rankings in two of the data points, leading the way with the nation’s lowest crime rate and highest % of forest cover. The only category where all of the Top 3 fall down is disposable income (salary minus rent) - suggesting that states with a strong showing in the other positive factors analyzed in this study generally have tighter financial margins for residents.
Massachusetts is in #4, with a final score of 81. While not near the summit of any of the measured data points, the Bay State still performs well across all five - with its highest score in the disposable income section.
In at #5 is another tied placement, with New York and Virginia sharing the spot. The Empire State has the nation's highest level of disposable income, which is surprising given the exorbitant costs of living in New York City. The salary vs. rent calculation is brought down by other, cheaper, less densely populated parts of the state. Virginia’s best score came for its air quality, which is the fourth cleanest across the entire country.
Which States Struggle To Unwind After A Long Day?
While some states have all the facilities to chill and to relax, others aren’t so lucky or just aren’t as good at it!
At the other end of this spectrum is South Dakota - which props up the rankings as the Least Relaxed U.S. state. Its Overall Relaxation Score of 19 out of 100 is a result of ranking well below average in the majority of its data points, with the Mount Rushmore State’s lowest rating coming in the forest/tree cover section. South Dakota’s 3.93% of total land forested is the third lowest in America.
Oklahoma is close behind in #2 of these alternate rankings, with a final score of 20. The Sooner State’s general level of tension is shown across all the analyzed categories, with below pass marks in all five. Its lowest one came for its number of online searches for the phrases “mindfulness” and “meditation” - suggesting that Oklahomans aren’t seeking out ways to declutter their gray matter as much as other Americans.
Completing the Top 3, (or Bottom 3 - depending on how you look at it!) is Nevada. Although the state has a decent Google appetite for the aforementioned mind-calming phrases, its performance in the other categories is subpar, including the nation’s fourth lowest rating for air quality. The Silver State received a final score of 21.
Arizona (26) and Montana (31) are the fourth and fifth least relaxing states, respectively.
● Gambling.com ranked the Most & Least Relaxed U.S. States by measuring these five data points in each:
- Crime rate - Taken from Statista/FBI.
- Air Quality - Taken from Wise Voter.
- Forest/Tree cover % - Taken from World Population Review.
- Disposable income (remaining monthly salary after rent) - Taken from Forbes & Zillow.
- Online searches for ‘meditation’ & ‘mindfulness’ (previous 90 days) - Taken from Google Trends.
● All five data points were measured out of 100 using the PERCENTRANK formula, and an average was found to create a final Overall Relaxation Score. States were ranked from highest to lowest final score.
- Inverted calculations were used for crime rate and air quality - where lower raw figures result in a higher data point score.
● All data was collected and correct on Oct. 6, 2023.
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