Between June and December of last year, pollers from Gallup called some 30,000 Americans and asked them what they thought of the state where they lived. And guess what? Montanans responded more positively than the residents of any other state.
Those interviewed were asked if their state was “the best possible state to live in,” “one of the best possible states to live in,” “as good as any to live in” or “the worst possible state to live in.” Essentially zero percent of Montanans considered Montana the worst possible state to live in, while some 77 percent considered the Treasure State to be the best or among the best states. Compare that to, say, Illinois, where a full quarter of respondents said their state was the worst and only 19 percent considered it among the best.
Alaska came in a close second in the poll, with a preponderance of relatively remote, cold and unpopulated states—Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Minnesota—rounding out the top ten and indicating that what people want is to be far away from their fellow man, no matter how much cold they have to endure in order to maintain that distance.
While Gallup notes that “a greater standard of living, higher trust in state government and less resentment toward the amount they pay in state taxes” are also important factors in state pride, the venerable polling agency points to a less likely source for Americans’ happiness: proximity to Canada. “In fact,” the report declares, “the two states most highly rated by their residents—Montana and Alaska—are among not only the nation's coldest states but also both border Canada.” With this new data potentially confirming the infectiousness of Canadian contentment, the mystery of why so many people keep moving to Arizona (where a mere 41% of respondents considered their state among the best) only deepens.