April 7, 2009 08:27

Nebraska's the best place to be, but apparently Louisiana's not so shabby either. The Web site MainStreet.com has devised its new Happiness Index, and out of the 50 states (and Washington, D.C.) Louisiana ranked the fifth happiest place.

The Happiness Index (not to be confused with Gross National Happiness) might seem like a silly notion, but we value it enough to put it right up there with life and liberty (not necessarily the attainment of it but certainly the pursuit of it). And the index isn't a measure of some subjective intangibles like joy or laughter; it's "all about which states are best weathering the current economic storm." The index takes into account a state's number of foreclosures, non-mortgage debt as a percent of annual incomes, and unemployment rates.

So what are the top five unhappiest places in the nation? Oregon, Florida, California, Nevada, and Rhode Island. But that all could change soon. MainStreet.com intends to update its list every month.

Also in R. Reese Fuller