NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The price of happiness depends a lot on where you live, according to a new report by the investment group Advisor Perspectives. The analysis is based on the now-famous work by Princeton researchers Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, who found that higher incomes only make people happier to a point. Up to about $75,000 per year, the more a household earns, the happier people are. After that benchmark, however, additional income "buys life satisfaction but not happiness."

The team separated these two issues by distinguishing fun from happiness. More money still leads people to have more life experiences and greater satisfaction with their accomplishments, but it doesn't give them greater emotional well-being. They take the same amount of joy from their lives, even while doing more.

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The recently released work by Doug Short, vice president of research with Advisor Perspectives, says that there's an enormous amount of variation around this $75,000 benchmark depending on where you live. At the low end, people in Mississippi reach their "happiness benchmark" (the point past which more money doesn't improve emotional well-being) at $65,850. In Hawaii, at the highest end of the spectrum, it costs $122,175. Most states still hover around the $75,000 proposed by Kahneman and Deaton. Here's how America's cost-of-happiness breaks down state by state:

  • Alabama – $69,300
  • Alaska – $98,850
  • Arizona – $76,350
  • Arkansas – $69,375
  • California – $95,325
  • Colorado – $75,300
  • Connecticut – $93,900
  • D.C. – $104,700
  • Delaware – $79,275
  • Florida – $74,775
  • Georgia – $69,525
  • Hawaii – $122,175
  • Idaho – $70,650
  • Illinois – $71,625
  • Indiana – $68,025
  • Iowa – $69,375
  • Kansas – $68,475
  • Kentucky – $67,500
  • Louisiana – $71,475
  • Maine – $82,275
  • Maryland – $88,275
  • Massachusetts – $90,975
  • Michigan – $70,425
  • Minnesota – $76,350
  • Mississippi – $65,850
  • Missouri – $70,275
  • Montana – $73,950
  • Nebraska – $68,775
  • Nevada – $75,150
  • New Hampshire – $87,075
  • New Jersey – $95,700
  • New Mexico – $70,050
  • New York – $99,150
  • North Carolina – $73,350
  • North Dakota – $75,300
  • Ohio – $70,575
  • Oklahoma – $67,800
  • Oregon – $91,275
  • Pennsylvania – $76,200
  • Rhode Island – $90,675
  • South Carolina – $72,075
  • South Dakota – $73,725
  • Tennessee – $67,275
  • Texas – $69,600
  • Utah – $69,750
  • Vermont – $87,900
  • Virginia – $72,750
  • Washington – $76,950
  • West Virginia – $73,950
  • Wisconsin – $74,100
  • Wyoming – $69,900

Overall, $75,000 still seems to be a good average for national cost-of-happiness even years after the original study. A household that earns that much can generally pay its bills without worrying about major financial distress. Once money stops being a source of stress, though, people start to focus on other parts of their life.

Also, as Short takes pains to point out, "day-to-day contentment is greatly influenced by how we see ourselves in relation to others," helping to explain why more affluent states demand higher incomes before people consider themselves happy. The more money your neighbors make, the more it will cost to feel like you can keep up.

--Written for MainStreet by Eric Reed, a freelance journalist who writes frequently on the subjects of career and travel. You can read more of his work at his website www.wanderinglawyer.com.