Sun Editorial: How happy is New Jersey?

A new survey says kind of, sort of, but we worry a lot about money.

By Alan Bauer
The Sun

Are you happy? Happy to be living in New Jersey? A new survey places the state’s happiness level right around the middle of the pack.

Business website 247wallst.com recently took a look at the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index and paired it with a few other sources to come up with its list of the happiest and most miserable states. New Jersey finished 28th. For the record, South Dakota was the happiest and West Virginia, where, according to the survey, 21 percent of adults believe they don’t have enough money for food, was the most miserable.

The report indicates a lot of us here in the Garden State worry about money. Some 35 percent of the respondents had worried about money in the seven days leading up to the survey, which was higher than most other states. Of course, since goods and services are listed as 13.4 percent more expensive than other parts of the nation, it’s somewhat natural that we’re worried. We didn’t even see a mention of property taxes, a source of great misery for many here.

Also, 55 percent of New Jersey residents have a leader in their life who makes them feel enthusiastic about the future, compared to about 60 percent nationwide.

Other bad news: only 74 percent of us like what we do every day, the 19th lowest rate, and 73.6 percent, the 10th lowest rate, have a strong social relationship.

On the plus side, we have the ninth lowest poverty rate at 10.4 percent, and the 12th lowest violent crime rate at 245 incidents per 100,000 people.

So what do you think? If you’re happy, what makes you happy? If you’re not so happy, what could be changed to make you happier?

Feel free to share your joy — or your misery — with others by sending a letter to the editor to the news@medfordsun.com.