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Feb 28, 2017

The State of Aloha: Why Hawai‘i Loves to Smile

Year after year, the Aloha State tops the country in a single and immeasurably important metric: happiness.

After all, what good is working your hands to the bone if you can't crack a smile and feel good while doing it? For those lucky enough to call Hawai'i home, being the happiest people in the country is a badge we wear with honor. But what is it that makes us so happy?


While many of us work long hours, we still find the time to do the things that are important to our well being, like exercising. Study after study confirms that people who exercise more tend to be happier people. According to a recent Gallup poll, a staggering 60.7 percent of people in Hawai'i exercise regularly. When you get your heart rate up, your body naturally produces a slew of chemicals including endorphins, serotonin, or norepinephrine, all of which help elevate your mood and bring a smile to your face.

So why do the people of Hawai'i stay so active? The answer to this is multifold, but in short, we have amazing weather. In the midst of winter, you won't find any of us scraping the ice of our windshields in the morning. On the contrary, you can find many of us grabbing our stand up paddleboards and soaking in the 75-degree weather before we make our way into the office. Staying active and exercising is simply a lot easier when you don't have to brave the elements. Further, getting outside and interacting with nature is part of who we are as a population. What else would you expect from the people who gave birth to both surfing and the Iron Man?


In addition to being fit and active, the Aloha State also boasts one of the longest-living populations in the country. That's right, we even live longer! On average, people that call Hawai‘i home live to be 81.5 years old, that's six years more than Mississippi, where the average citizen lives to be about 75 years old. A century ago, the average age of people in the United States was 50 years, a testament to just how fast the country has advanced. In addition, only three percent of our population is without health insurance, that's the third best in the country.

While many other cities and states may not feel like the future of their urban hubs are on the up, Hawai‘i has proven to be among the most optimistic states in all of the country. In Honolulu, nearly 60 percent of those surveyed by Gallup believed that the cities are on the right path and are "getting better." It's an exciting time to call this beautiful city in the middle of the Pacific home. Coupled with a historically low unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, for many, the city truly feels as if it's thriving.

Now that we've looked over the metrics, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention something else that helps keep us happy: aloha. While those on the mainland may view it as a simple greeting, aloha in Hawai‘i holds a special meaning. It's a mantra, a way of life, and a way we express our respect and love for one another. Without aloha, we wouldn't be Hawai‘i. With that in mind, we're going to end this post not with a cliché quip about happiness, but rather with a single gesture that anyone who has spent time in Hawai‘i will understand: the shaka. Hawai‘i, you keep doing you.

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