Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Economics


Business Economics


Dr. Alyson Ma


As happiness is essential to overall well-being, understanding factors that affect it will inform policies designed to maximize people’s happiness within each state. This will have broad implications for economic research and policy. The wealth and general population income of a state determines an initial level of individual happiness. However, once a level of wealth is achieved, individual happiness does not increase proportionally. This paper examines the relationship of a state’s happiness, measured by computing a score based on an individual's health, wellbeing, and work environment, with economic factors such as GDP and median household income, and social factors including inequality indexes and state air quality. The findings suggest that economic indicators, such as GDP and median house value, play the central role in the happiness of states. In addition, the Gini Index of Income Inequality also played a large role and was significantly negatively correlated with a state’s overall happiness. Lastly, a general understanding is reached about why this information matters in the realm of economic policy.