Let's start the week off with a very serious question: Did you have fun over the weekend?

If a new ranking of the 50 states has any legitimacy, we can probably predict your answer based on where you were.

We've looked at this kind of thing before, of course: how happy each state in the country supposedly is (twice!), how friendly they are, how polite their people are, how intense their tax burdens are, heck even by average IQ.

But,fun translates into happiness, which means better health and longer life expectancy. So, personal finance site WalletHub did these rankings, considering how much money each state's people spend on entertainment, what kinds of access they have to nature, and even how many movie theaters and restaurants there are (among other factors).

Here's the full list as compiled by Wallethub:

1.    California

Is every place in the nation's most populous state "fun?" I doubt it. But the Golden State ranks #1. It also has both the most restaurants and most fitness centers per capita, according to WalletHub.

2.    Florida    

Another giant state comes in second. Tied for tops on restaurants, oddly just 3rd on golf courses, and fourth for fitness centers. Depending on your sensibility it ranks higher or lower for Disney World.

3.    New York

New York City moves this state near the top of the list, but as people who live upstate will tell you, there's a lot more to New York. Even if many of those who live in the city have never seen it for themselves. (Worst tax burden in the United States, though.)

4.    Washington

That's the state, not the nation's capital, with one of the most vibrant cities on the West Coast and plenty of outdoor beauty and activities. 

5.    Colorado

Skiing, and high expenditures on both personal and public recreation move this state near the top of the list.

6.    Nevada

With an entire city that markets itself based on fun, it's not surprising to see Nevada near the top. Also, number-1 for nightlife.

7.    Minnesota    

Minnesota is always near the top on these rankings. Separately, WalletHub also found it was the third-happiest state. 

8.    Pennsylvania

Across the middle of the rankings on a lot of individual criteria, Pennsylvania nevertheless pulls it all together to come in eighth.

9.    Oregon    

No big surprise to see it near the top, and so close to Washington. Lots of outdoor beauty and activity.

10.    Texas    

Another enormous state, with Texas-sized opportunities for fun. 

11.    Illinois

Number 3 for nightlife. Also the arts bring Illinois's ranking up, with the third most performing arts theaters per capita.

12.    Missouri

Missouri doesn't stand out in any individual ranking, but it's in the top 20 in almost everything the study organizers looked at. So #12 isn't really all that bad.

13.    Ohio

Not only is it fun, according to this study, but it's also third-most polite in this other ranking.

14.    Arizona   

I've always liked Arizona. But the rankings came out before this video, and it's kind of hard to put "Arizona" and "fun" in the same sentence right now. So we'll leave it at that.

15.    New Mexico

Third-fewest golf courses per capita, though.

16.    Louisiana

Fifth for nightlife. Makes sense.

17.    South Carolina

Ranks a lot higher in this list of "fun" states than it does on the various lists for well-being, politeness, health, I.Q., or even tax burden. Maybe it's the beaches and golf courses?

18.    Michigan

Largest number of golf courses per capital. Otherwise it's remarkable how it ranks around roughly #20 or so in every category.

19.    Wisconsin

But: it's number 2 for nightlife. I can't say myself; it's one of only two states I've never been. (Alaska is the other.)

20.    North Carolina

It ranks in the top half in all the other lists (above), so it's no surprise that it pulls in a respectable #20 here.

21.    Massachusetts

Second highest personal expenditures for entertainment, which might say as much about prices as it does about priorities. But, they have by far the highest average I.Q., so that's something.

22.   Maryland   ​

However, it was #7 for happiness, except that people hate their jobs.

23.    Tennessee

Near the top for "variety of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments." (But tied for least-polite state in the union!)

24.    Georgia

Georgia doesn't pop out as high or low on any of these rankings, so it's unsurprising to see it right in the middle here.

25.    Hawaii 

This one feels good for the rest of us -- Hawaii only comes in toward the middle. Also, get this: the place where you'd be most likely to wear summer clothes all year long nevertheless has the fewest fitness centers per capita of any state.

26.    Oklahoma 

Right in the middle in terms of fun. But #1 in politeness!

27.    Alaska

Most access to national parks, which makes sense. Also, second-fewest restaurants per capita. Although in fairness, I've never heard anyone say they were going to Alaska for the dining.

28.    Utah

Dragging it down: it ranks 48th for nightlife. It's also tied for least-polite state in the nation!

29.    Virginia

Ranked #45 for nightlife, which makes zero sense to me given some of the fun times I had when I was a bit younger in the suburbs right outside Washington, D.C.

30.    Wyoming

It's #42 for nightlife, but honestly I'm surprised it did that well given its rural nature. 

31.    South Dakota

Fifth-fewest marinas, which seems like it would be obvious, but is still kind of a fun fact.

32.    Idaho

It might not be fun, but it ranked #6 in terms of health and happiness.

33.    New Jersey

It has the third-most fitness centers per person, which makes me feel like I no longer have any kind of excuse (since I live here).

34.    Kentucky  

Near the bottom for public expenditures on public spaces. Also:fewest skiing facilities per capita. (Wait, fewer than Hawaii? That's what WalletHub says.)

35.    Iowa 

The second most golf courses. But maybe all the politics drags it down?

36.    Montana

Third-best access to national parks. Ranked near the top in one study for happiness, though.

37.    Maine

Highest variety of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments in the entire country. Nice job, Maine. 

38.    Nebraska

I don't know. Nebraska ranks pretty high for I.Q., health, and happiness. Yet it's near the bottom fifth here. Nebraskans, got any ideas?

39.    Indiana

I don't know what it is about Indiana, but in every list like this it hovers somewhere around 40th. 

40.    North Dakota

Fewest restaurants per capita. Not sure why that would be, specifically -- especially since the state is booming right now. But, third-highest average I.Q., and ranks high for health and happiness. 

41.    Kansas

Kansas ranks pretty high for I.Q. and in the middle for happiness. What drags it down here? Maybe it's just that college basketball only lasts like five months, tops.

42.   New Hampshire 

Also, second-to-last for nightlife, which makes sense (having spent a lot of time there).

43.    Connecticut

One of the worst states, too, when it comes to access to national parks. And, #2 worst for tax burden, so maybe that makes it harder to enjoy yourself.

44.    Alabama

Not much fun. But very polite, bless their hearts!

45.    Arkansas

Also, people in Arkansas spend the 48th lead per capita on entertainment. That could be a good thing if if it were just because prices were low, but the ranking doesn't seem to reach that conclusion.

46.    Vermont

Tied for first with most skiing facilities. Although with a population of only 626,000, it doesn't take many skiing facilities to have it rank first per capita. (But, tied for third in I.Q., so that's nice.)

47.    Rhode Island

I grew up here and had a lot of fun. But I guess we didn't rank very high on any of the categories. Second-to-last in terms of movie theaters per capita. Although, who goes to the movies now? At least we're #4 in politeness.

48.   Delaware

Just came from a great vacation here. But again, the plural of anecdote is not data. Besides, it comes in dead last for nightlife.

49.    Mississippi

The fewest performing arts theaters per capita of any state in the country. Lowest I.Q. on average, but I'll stop before I get into more trouble.

50. West Virginia

Dead last for entertainment and 46th for nightlife. It just makes West Virginia seem like a state that has a lot bigger concerns than "fun."

Published on: Jun 16, 2019
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