A survey from Purdue University and GoBankingRates.com found that you need a minimum annual salary of $99,015 to be happy in Illinois, but that comes with a caveat of a higher than average unemployment rate. However, income to reach the threshold of "emotional well-being" comes in at a much lower price than other states.
"Illinois’ current unemployment rate hovers north of 4.7%, suggesting that a lot of people there are currently focused on making ends meet for the present. However, people can still find emotional well-being at just $56,580."
According to researchers, Illinois' minimum annual salary for happy living is close to the worldwide average.
"Globally, we find that satiation occurs at $95,000 for life evaluation and $60,000 to $75,000 for emotional well-being," said the study’s authors in the journal. The study also noted that the ideal income for "life satisfaction" in North America is $105,000.
"It’s important to keep in mind, though, that ‘happiness’ is subjective. The cost to live comfortably can vary from person to person," GOBankingRates noted.
According to the survey, Illinois' nearby neighbors came in at the following:
- Indiana: Minimum salary needed to be happy — $95,130 — while emotional well-being only requires $54,360.
- Wisconsin: Minimum salary needed to be happy — $101,220 — while emotional well-being falls anywhere between $57,840 and $72,300.
- Michigan: Minimum salary needed to be happy — $95,865 — while emotional well-being can be attained at $54,780.
- Iowa: Minimum salary needed to be happy — $94,395.
- Minnesota: Minimum salary needed to be happy — $105,000.
- Missouri: Minimum salary needed to be happy — $94,290.
- Kentucky: Minimum salary needed to be happy — $97,755.
Among the states with the lowest salary needed to be happy were Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma and Alabama, though with the rising costs due to inflation, every state requires over $87,000 annual salary in order to live happily.
As for the states with the highest required salary, they're the ones you probably expect: California, New York and Hawaii. California's required salary is $149,310, New York is $155,610, and in Hawaii, you need to be making over $202,965 in order to be happy, the survey found.
GOBankingRates said it determined the cost-of-living-adjusted minimum salary needed to be happy based on income satiation levels identified by Purdue University researchers. It also factored in each city’s cost of living index, unemployment rate, as well as property and violent crime rates.