This is how much money you need to be happy living in Washington, study finds

Western Washington has grown wildly in the last few decades, and the cost of living has grown right alongside it. In order to be happy living in Washington, you will need a big chunk of change.

According to a survey from Purdue University and, the minimum salary needed to be happy in Washington is $117,180.

While that is the dollar amount to find happiness, the survey claims "emotional well-being" can be found in the $66,960–$83,700 range.

"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.

Washington's unemployment also fell from a staggering 16.8% in April 2020 to a low 4.2%.

"It’s important to keep in mind, though, that ‘happiness’ is subjective," wrote the authors. "The cost to live comfortably can vary from person to person."

States that require a higher salary than Washington to be happy include Oregon, California, New York and Hawaii:

  • Oregon: $136,605
  • California: $149,310
  • New York: $155,610
  • Hawaii: $202,965

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.


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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.