Happy Happy Utah

March 11, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 10:27 am   Category: Happiness,Mormon Culture/Practices

Anyone else see this article today? Apparently the current happiest states in the union are Utah, Hawaii, and Wyoming.

Here is a quote:

Looking for happiness — it’s family-friendly communities for some, tropical paradise or the rugged West for others. A survey of Americans’ well-being, conducted by Gallup in partnership with Healthways and America’s Health Insurance Plans, gives high marks to Utah, which boasts lots of outdoor recreation for its youthful population.

Speaking of outdoor recreation, the islands of Hawaii took second place and Wyoming was third in the poll that rated such variables as mental, physical and economic health.

But fun outdoors obviously wasn’t the only criteria — “wild, wonderful” West Virginia was ranked last among the states.

And the bluegrass state of Kentucky was 49th, with Mississippi 48th on the list.

The anti-Mormon crowd, or at least the anti-Utah crowd might be in mourning today because of this study… Seems like some folks just can’t do enough crowing about that old “Utah has the highest anti-depressant usage in the country” report that has gotten so much play in recent years. (Of course maybe the anti-depressant companies can use both reports to show how good their products work…)

Anyhow, the upshot is Utah has the happiest Americans around right now according to this report.

29 Comments »

  1. Yea, I think you nailed it. This is a commercial for Zoloft waiting to happen.

    Comment by Jacob J — March 11, 2009 @ 10:42 am

  2. This is good news. But I wonder about the methodology and assumptions. Did Gallup call only landlines? Wouldn’t that introduce a socio-economic distortion into the data? Would the answers have changed if the survey had asked about satisfaction instead of happiness?

    Comment by Sterling Fluharty — March 11, 2009 @ 10:47 am

  3. My guess is that the anti crowd probably won’t be linking to this. Thanks for the link.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — March 11, 2009 @ 11:35 am

  4. The anti-Mormon crowd, or at least the anti-Utah crowd might be in mourning today because of this study…

    I think you give them too much credit. As if they take into account any information that challenges their prejudices. No, they will continue on and on harping about the same old things forever and ever.

    Comment by Tom — March 11, 2009 @ 11:39 am

  5. The least happy region happens to be the south, which I am not mistaken is Evangelical country…But there may be no correlation to religion in this at all. It would be interesting to see if any of the questions had to do with religion.

    Oh, and Eric Nielsen is not me!!

    Comment by Eric Nielson — March 11, 2009 @ 11:39 am

  6. It’s all the porn!

    (Joke)

    Comment by Ronan — March 11, 2009 @ 11:53 am

  7. Oh, and Eric Nielsen is not me!!

    I’m confused. Are you saying #3 was not you?

    Comment by Geoff J — March 11, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

  8. oooo… the porn. (drool)

    well we have the great outdoors which i think contributes to our cheeriness. we have the most national parks of any state in the U.S. and the best snow on earth. we have many reasons to get out and be active = phermones = happiess.

    Comment by perez — March 11, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  9. All the people who responded positively are the less-active and non-members. Unless, of course, the Mormons were lying about being happy, which must be the case, because we all know that it’s actually impossible to be happy under such an opressive religion.

    Comment by Eric Russell — March 11, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  10. I remember a study like this a few years back where Laredo Texas was the happiest city in the US. As I recall from that study, one key factor was based on anti-depressant sales or lack thereof in the area in that earlier study. Wonder what the criteria was for this one.

    Comment by Matt W. — March 11, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  11. Studies like this have fairly arbitrary measures and are often generated to generate magazine links. They then do a similar study a few years later with a whole new set of criteria.

    That said, I’d just as soon stuff like this not get out. The California influx to Utah has been enough. (grin</i)

    Comment by Clark — March 11, 2009 @ 1:41 pm

  12. i love being a member of this religion! maybe you should find one instead of trolling the blogosphere spreading hate Eric Russell.

    Comment by perez — March 11, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

  13. Geoff #7:

    Well, I actually read the article you linked to. The Gallup poll rep’s name (who was quoted in the article) is Eric Nielsen. Poor dope can’t spell his last name.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — March 11, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  14. perez,

    Thanks for sticking up for the church. In this case Eric Russell was just being sarcastic. (He is a regular around here and pro-LDS but I would have thought the same thing you did about his comment if I didn’t know him)

    Comment by Geoff J — March 11, 2009 @ 2:14 pm

  15. How do you know that the happy people in Utah are Mormons? I mean, not everyone in Utah is Mormon or lives in Moab.

    Comment by Blake — March 11, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

  16. My kids will be happy to know that their prayers are being answered, “Please bless us to have a good time.”

    Comment by Kent (MC) — March 11, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  17. Eric’s comment # 9 is actually a pretty good one.

    If the study is about porn, depression, or bankruptcy, we are eager to debunk it, find fault with the methodology, and blame the results on the gentiles and inactives. But if a study says something good about us, we are happy to accept it at face value.

    Comment by Mark Brown — March 11, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  18. Mark Brown,

    If the study is about porn, depression, or bankruptcy, we are eager to debunk it, find fault with the methodology, and blame the results on the gentiles and inactives.

    Did you read the comments so far? #1 linked the happiness to anti-depressants (as was suggested in the post). #2 specifically questioned the “methodology and assumptions.” #5 suggested there may be no correlation to religion at all. #6 suggested the happiness is due to porn use and then pretended this was a joke suggestion. #10 questioned any correlation with Mormonism. #11 stated that usually studies like this have arbitrary results and are done to sell magazines. #15 debunked the study based on the same argument that people used all last week to debunk the porn “study.”

    And pretty much every other comment was on some tangential topic (like thinking Eric Russell is a troll or clearing up that Eric Nielsen is not Eric Nielson). So on what basis do you claim we accept studies at face value if they are something good?

    Comment by Jacob J — March 11, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

  19. Jacob J:
    So on what basis do you claim we accept studies at face value if they are something good?

    That’s obviously what Comment #18 infers…

    Comment by Matt W. — March 11, 2009 @ 6:05 pm

  20. Mark, there are definately members out there who do that, but it works both ways. There’s also a huge contigent of DAMU/Salt Lake Tribune commenters that do just the opposite. Every poor Utah stat is fuel for their fire. And yet I don’t think this latest survey will be a cause for mourning among them. Rather, it’ll just a lead to commentary on how badly Mormons want to be seen in a good light or how self-deluded they are.

    Comment by Eric Russell — March 11, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

  21. The funniest response to the depression study I’ve read was:

    “Utah is the most depressed state in the country because 30%-40% of the population has to live with so many Mormons.”

    In that light, I submit:

    “69% of Utahns are happy. Utah is 60%-70% Mormon. All Mormons are happy. Utah is the most depressed state in the country because 30%-40% of the population is surrounded by Pollyannas.”

    Comment by Ray — March 11, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

  22. Mark Brown: But if a study says something good about us, we are happy to accept it at face value.

    When you say “we” I assume you are talking about you and your ping pong club or something? Based on the post and the comments in this thread “we” certainly doesn’t seem to be the folks participating here.

    In other words, what on earth are you talking about man?

    Comment by Geoff J — March 11, 2009 @ 9:27 pm

  23. I liked the study that said that Denmark was the most content country on Earth. They stated the reason for this was low expectations.

    They expected everything to suck and were pleasantly surprised when it didn’t. It makes me proud to have a Danish heritage.

    Comment by kristen j — March 11, 2009 @ 10:18 pm

  24. Let me just say: LOL.

    Yes, I realize that we are taking a light-hearted approach here, and I appreciate that. But in the past, when the subject was Prozac, Ponzi schemes, bankruptcy or porn, we have seen long, droney, boring posts in this ping pong club we call The Bloggernacle(TM), written by PhDs and professors, assuring us in suffocating detail that the research is bogus, the methodology sucks, the results are cooked, and so on. I just don’t think we are going to see that this time around. But as I said, I’m glad that this corner of the ping pong club still knows how to have a little fun. Cheers.

    Comment by Mark Brown — March 12, 2009 @ 7:06 am

  25. Mark, I’ll admit to understanding your point from the beginning and deliberately wasting your time. Let’s hope the Bloggernacle™ takes it’s cue from this corner of the club, though. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it is suffocating detail.

    Comment by Jacob J — March 12, 2009 @ 9:23 am

  26. Jacob, seriously, why don’t we trademark “Bloggernacle”? We’d be rich!

    Comment by Kent (MC) — March 12, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  27. Nah. Suffocating pedantic detail is what makes blogs interesting… It’s like we all have Asperger’s Syndrome.

    Comment by Clark — March 12, 2009 @ 4:23 pm

  28. If the study is about porn, depression, or bankruptcy, we are eager to debunk it, find fault with the methodology, and blame the results on the gentiles and inactives. But if a study says something good about us, we are happy to accept it at face value.

    Who’s “we”, kemosabe? I’ve noticed the opposite tendency from you.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — March 13, 2009 @ 10:31 am

  29. Adam,

    Really?!? Maybe you’re just not paying attention.

    Since I just made this comment, one minute before I saw yours, I think you are mistaken.

    But just to be clear: I, like Joseph Smith, think that chastity is a special temptation for the Elders of this dispensation. It doesn’t surprise me that places where people who are generally conservative have more porn use, because places where people are more conservative also tend to have younger populations, which means more young males in their prime porn consuming years. It doesn’t mean we are any worse, but it also means that we aren’t any better. And the attempts to explain the study away by claiming that porn is not as accessible in the beehive state are even stupider than the study. How do we account for high porn use in TX, for instance, where porn is ubiquitous?

    As the comment I linked indicates, Utah’s high anti-depressant use can be mostly explained by all the childbearing we do. I think that is a tremendously good thing, but some women do pay a heavy price in fouled-up body chemistry.

    Just because the anti’s want to use surveys about porn or SSRIs as bait to defame LDS people doesn’t mean that we need to take their bait. There are usually reasonable explanations for all these things. But the reasonable explanations often get drowned out by the whooping of the culture warriors on both sides trying to claim a few more hollow victories.

    P.S. who you calling kemosabe, kemosabe?

    Comment by Mark Brown — March 13, 2009 @ 11:00 am

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