No. 2: South Dakota
- Personal well-being
- Low taxes
South Dakota made a big jump this year on Bankrate's list, from No. 8 to No. 2.
The state has one of the lowest tax burdens in the country at 7.1% -- or an average of $3,318 per resident -- tying with Wyoming for the 2nd-lowest score in the U.S. (Alaska's is 6.5%). South Dakota also scored well for overall happiness, particularly when it comes to social well-being.
South Dakota winters can be fierce, but the state still receives an above-average amount of sunshine. And there's plenty to do and see all through the year, whether you want to visit Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore or the Air and Space Museum. Skiers and snowboarders will also be in heaven in the Black Hills, which receives over 200 inches of snow a year. It's no wonder South Dakota is often referred to as the "land of infinite variety" for its scenery.
Sources: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; Gallup-Healthways; Council for Community and Economic Research; FBI; Tax Foundation; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.