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Happiest states for teenagers

Happiest states for teenagers
1/Monkey Business Images // Shutterstock

Happiest states for teenagers

While depression is an issue that has been plaguing Americans of all ages for centuries, it has begun to impact more young people in recent years. Rates of depression amongst children between the ages of 12 and 17 rose to 12.7% in 2015, a whopping 46% increase over the 8.7% rate 10 years before that. It can be difficult to identify what causes a person to develop depression, especially in the case of adolescents, who face a high volume of pressure, particularly navigating the academic and social difficulties of school.

Psychologists point to the fact that one of the biggest influencers of a person’s happiness is where they live. The varied population densities, quality of high schools, and access to extracurricular activities offered in a state can all impact a teenager’s experience while growing up. 

Using data from Table 30 of the 20152016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, as well as the latest report from Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS), Stacker analyzed the states with the happiest teenagers. The 50 states and the District of Columbia were assessed according to a selection of survey responses in the following order of importance. Note: States were ranked according to their comparative responses to question #1, and in the event of a tie, those states in question were compared in regard to question #2, and so on.

  1. Percentage of adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year
  2. Percentage of adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks
  3. Percentage of high school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide
  4. Percentage of high school students who report they attempted suicide one or more time
  5. Percentage of high school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt

Read on to find out how happy teens are in your state and how that compares to the nation at large.

Click here to see the most and least educated states in America.

#51. Oregon
2/Bonnie Moreland // Flickr

#51. Oregon

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 16%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: N/A
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: N/A
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: N/A
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: N/A

#50. Nevada
3/BLM Nevada // Flickr

#50. Nevada

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 16%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 36%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 17%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 7%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 2%

#49. Idaho
4/Bureau of Land Management // Flickr

#49. Idaho

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 16%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 35%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 22%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 10%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#48. Alaska
5/Bureau of Land Management // Flickr

#48. Alaska

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 15%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 36%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 23%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 12%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#47. Wyoming
6/Jeff Gunn // Flickr

#47. Wyoming

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 15%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 31%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 20%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 11%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#46. Colorado
7/Alfred Essa // Flickr

#46. Colorado

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 15%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 31%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 17%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 7%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: N/A

#45. Indiana
8/Michael Matti // Flickr

#45. Indiana

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 15%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 20%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 10%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#44. Utah
9/Jeff Hollett // Flickr

#44. Utah

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 33%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 22%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 10%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#43. West Virginia
10/Geoff Gallice // Wikimedia Commons

#43. West Virginia

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 32%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 18%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 9%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#42. Oklahoma
11/Alex Butterfield // Flickr

#42. Oklahoma

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 32%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 19%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 11%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#41. Montana
12/Loco Steve // Flickr

#41. Montana

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 31%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 21%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 9%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#40. Missouri
13/U.S. Department of the Interior // Flickr

#40. Missouri

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 31%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 21%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 9%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#39. Rhode Island
14/Peter Rintels // Flickr

#39. Rhode Island

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 10%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#38. Iowa
15/Carl Wycoff // Flickr

#38. Iowa

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 20%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 9%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#37. Wisconsin
16/Ken Lund // Flickr

#37. Wisconsin

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 27%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 8%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#36. Massachusetts
17/Doug Kerr // Flickr

#36. Massachusetts

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 27%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 12%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 5%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 2%

#35. Maine
18/liz west // Flickr

#35. Maine

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 27%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 14%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 7%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: N/A

#34. Ohio
19/Mike // Flickr

#34. Ohio

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 14%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 26%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 14%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 6%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 1%

#33. Washington
20/IIP Photo Archive // Flickr

#33. Washington

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: N/A
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: N/A
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: N/A
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: N/A

#32. Minnesota
21/Tony Webster // Flickr

#32. Minnesota

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: N/A
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: N/A
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: N/A
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: N/A

#31. Arkansas
22/Bureau of Land Management // Flickr

#31. Arkansas

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 40%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 23%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 16%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 7%

#30. Michigan
23/Joe Ross // Flickr

#30. Michigan

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 37%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 21%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 9%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#29. New Mexico
24/a4gpa // Flickr

#29. New Mexico

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 36%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 18%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 10%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#28. California
25/Bureau of Land Management // Flickr

#28. California

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 32%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 17%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 9%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#27. Virginia
26/Nicolas Raymond // Flickr

#27. Virginia

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 30%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 7%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 2%

#26. Maryland
27/Nicolas Raymond // Flickr

#26. Maryland

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 30%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 17%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: N/A
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: N/A

#25. New Hampshire
28/Brendan Dolan-Gavitt // Flickr

#25. New Hampshire

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 28%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 6%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 2%

#24. Florida
29/Giuseppe Milo // Flickr

#24. Florida

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 28%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 14%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 8%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 2%

#23. Nebraska
30/Jeffrey Beall // Flickr

#23. Nebraska

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 27%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 8%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 2%

#22. Connecticut
31/Doug Kerr // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Connecticut

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 27%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 14%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 8%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: N/A

#21. Kansas
32/James Watkins // Flickr

#21. Kansas

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 13%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 25%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 7%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#20. Arizona
33/Adam Jones // Flickr

#20. Arizona

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 36%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 19%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 11%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 5%

#19. Texas
34/Stuart Seeger // Flickr

#19. Texas

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 34%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 18%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 12%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 5%

#18. Illinois
35/Tom Shockey // Flickr

#18. Illinois

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 32%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 17%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 10%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#17. Tennessee
36/AmeriGirlUK // Flickr

#17. Tennessee

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 31%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 8%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#16. New York
37/Doug Kerr // Flickr

#16. New York

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 30%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 17%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 10%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#15. Pennsylvania
38/Alexander Day // Flickr

#15. Pennsylvania

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 15%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 7%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#14. North Carolina
39/Ken Lund // Flickr

#14. North Carolina

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 8%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#13. Kentucky
40/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region // Flickr

#13. Kentucky

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 15%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 8%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#12. Delaware
41/Martin Alonso // Flickr

#12. Delaware

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 28%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 7%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 2%

#11. Vermont
42/angela n. // Flickr

#11. Vermont

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 25%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: N/A
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 5%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: N/A

#10. South Dakota
43/Sharon Mollerus // Flickr

#10. South Dakota

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 12%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 25%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 8%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#9. South Carolina
44/Tim Gage // Flickr

#9. South Carolina

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 11%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 33%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 19%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 11%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#8. North Dakota
45/Andrew Filer // Flickr

#8. North Dakota

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 11%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 17%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 13%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: N/A

#7. Mississippi
46/Visit Mississippi // Flickr

#7. Mississippi

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 11%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 17%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 13%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 6%

#6. Hawaii
47/Anthony Quintano // Flickr

#6. Hawaii

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 11%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 10%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 2%

#5. Alabama
48/Andy Montgomery // Flickr

#5. Alabama

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 11%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 18%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 11%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 4%

#4. Louisiana
49/Michael McCarthy // Flickr

#4. Louisiana

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 10%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 32%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 18%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 17%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 8%

#3. New Jersey
50/Ken Lund // Flickr

#3. New Jersey

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 10%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 29%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 14%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 10%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: N/A

#2. Georgia
51/Tim Parkinson // Flickr

#2. Georgia

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 10%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 28%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 14%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 9%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 3%

#1. Washington, D.C.
52/USCapitol // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Washington, D.C.

Adolescents who had at least one major depressive episode in a single year: 10%
Adolescents who felt sad or hopeless for a period of at least two weeks: 27%
High school students who report they seriously considered attempting suicide: 16%
High school students who report they attempted suicide one or more times: 16%
High school students who report they had to be treated by a doctor or nurse due to a suicide attempt: 7%

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