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Ranked: The Loneliest States in America (and Least Lonely)

Katherine Cullen - Writer for Top10
The listings featured on this site are from companies from which this site receives compensation. This influences where, how and in what order such listings appear on this site.
The Loneliest States in America (and Least Lonely)
Feeling lonely is something everyone goes through now and then. It can be influenced by factors like relationships, your living situation, and how happy you are. With that in mind, we set out to determine which states have more people feeling lonely.

Keep reading to find out the loneliest states in America, along with the least lonely—and what factors contribute.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Louisiana, Alabama, New Mexico, Arkansas, and West Virginia are the loneliest states in the U.S. 
  • Utah, Hawaii, California, Idaho, and New Jersey are the least lonely states in the U.S. 
The Loneliest and Least Lonely States in the U.S

Top 5 Loneliest States in the U.S

By evaluating single households, relationship status, and happiness scores—calculated from 31 metrics like work hours, job security, adult depression, and income growth—we pinpointed the loneliest states in the U.S. as Louisiana, Alabama, New Mexico, Arkansas, and West Virginia. Each metric was weighted and graded on a scale from zero to 100, contributing to the states' overall scores.

1. Louisiana

Louisiana claims the top spot among the loneliest states, mostly driven by the state’s unhappiness levels. It holds the lowest rank among all 50 states in terms of its economy, which can impact the financial and emotional well-being of its residents.

With about 56% of the population unmarried, Louisiana also holds the highest percentage of people reporting a single relationship status in the U.S. This, on top of the state having the ninth most affordable housing market, leads to more people living alone, contributing to increased loneliness. 

Loneliest States: Louisiana

2. Alabama

The second loneliest state in the U.S. is the southeastern state of Alabama. The state has a high number of single-person households, with more than 30% of people living alone. This could be attributed to the fact that it’s the second most affordable state in the U.S.

Over 50% of Alabama residents are single, and it holds the third-highest rate of widowed people in the country. Thanks to more affordable housing, more of these single residents can choose to live alone rather than with a roommate.

Loneliest States: Alabama

3. New Mexico

New Mexico ranks third among the loneliest states, owing mostly to its high divorce rate. The state has the third-highest divorce rate in the US, which is not surprising given that it’s the least expensive state to divorce in. This also leads to a high percentage of single-person households.

New Mexico also ranks ninth among the least happy states, with poor rankings in education, crime, the economy, infrastructure, and opportunity. 

Loneliest States: New Mexico

4. Arkansas

Arkansas ranks fourth among the loneliest states, highly driven by its third-worst ranking for life satisfaction. While the state is third-most affordable in the country, it ranks low in crime, health care, and education. Arkansas also has a high rate of divorce and widowhood, which can highly increase the likelihood of feeling lonely. 

Loneliest States: Arkansas

5. West Virginia

West Virginia is ranked as the least happy state among all 50, mainly due to its last-place positions in national health care and infrastructure. The state also faces significant challenges with high rates of divorce and widowhood, earning it the title of having the highest percentage of widows in the country. 

Loneliest States: West Virginia

Top 5 Least Lonely States in the U.S

The least lonely states in the U.S. include Utah, Hawaii, California, Idaho, and New Jersey. The happiness of these states contributed highly, with most of the states having sunny climates and active lifestyles.

The low number of single-person homes in these states also contributed to their being less lonely, with states either having a high rate of married couples or having a high cost of living, which leads to people living with roommates. 

1. Utah

Utah is ranked as the least lonely state, mostly due to its ranking in the top five happiest states in the country. With plenty of outdoor activities, people in Utah enjoy an active lifestyle and spend a lot of time outdoors, leading to better mental and physical health. 

Utah also has the highest rate of people volunteering to help others, the fourth-lowest rate of divorces, and is considered one of the safest states to live in. 

With a large population of Mormons, about 56% of people are married, more than anywhere else in the country. This may contribute to low divorce and single-person households. 

Loneliest States: Utah

2. Hawaii

Hawaii takes the second position as the least lonely state. The state stands as the happiest state in the country, with the second-lowest rate of adults feeling depressed and the fifth-lowest rate of divorces in the country. 

The Hawaiian way of life, with lots of sunshine, warm weather, and active activities, adds to the happiness of the people there. Hawaii's focus on mental health and creating a positive place to live makes it a shining example of well-being and community satisfaction.

Loneliest States: Hawaii

3. California

California holds the third spot as one of the least lonely states, mostly due to its low percentage of single-person households. California is second-lowest in the country for people living alone, probably because it's the most expensive state, and living alone can be costly. 

California also ranks in the top 10 happiest states, probably due to its nearly perfect weather year-round. With fewer divorced and widowed people, California shows how good weather and a strong economy can make people feel less lonely.

Loneliest States: California

4. Idaho

Idaho holds the fourth spot among the least lonely states, with. Idaho is notable for having the third-lowest number of people living alone, thanks to it having the second-highest percentage of married people in the U.S. 

Idaho also ranks as the sixth happiest state in the country, with natural beauty, outdoor activities, and strong job opportunities, making it one of the top cities Americans are moving to.

Loneliest States: Idaho

5. New Jersey

New Jersey earns the fifth position among the least lonely states, due to it ranking in the top 5 of happiest states as well as it having the second-lowest divorce rate in the U.S. The state also stands out with the lowest rate of adults feeling depressed and the lowest suicide rate in the country. 

Loneliest States: New Jersey

Marital Status by State

To help us identify each state's loneliness, we looked at marital status, including single, divorced, and widowed, each with their own unique effects on loneliness. 

States with the Highest Percentage of Singles

While being single doesn't inherently imply loneliness, studies indicate that, on average, married couples tend to experience lower levels of loneliness than unmarried people. Here are the top five states with the highest percentage of unmarried singles.

  1. Louisiana: 56.3%
  2. New Mexico: 56.1%
  3. Rhode Island: 55.4%
  4. Mississippi: 55%
  5. New York: 54.8%

States with the Highest Percentage of Divorce

A breakup, such as a divorce, is one of the main causes of loneliness. The process of divorce can be a very lonely journey, especially since the separation can also cause rifts in shared friendships and family dynamics. Here are the top five states with the highest percentage of divorces:

  1. Maine: 13.9%
  2. Nevada: 13.8%
  3. New Mexico: 13.3%
  4. West Virginia: 13.2%
  5. Oklahoma: 13.1%

States with the Highest Percentage of Widowed Individuals 

Experiencing the loss of a loved one, particularly a spouse, can result in deep-seated loneliness. In fact, a study revealed that nearly 70% of older recently bereaved people identified loneliness as the most challenging aspect to cope with daily. Here are the top five states with the highest percentage of widowed individuals:

  1. West Virginia: 7.8%
  2. Mississippi: 7.1%
  3. Alabama: 6.9%
  4. Arkansas: 6.9%
  5. Florida: 6.8%

States with the Largest Percentage of Single-Person Households

People can live alone for a variety of reasons. However, most states with high percentages of single-person households tend to be more affordable. The only exception is New York, which may be due to the high number of single-occupancy apartments in the city.

  1. North Dakota: 33.2%
  2. Ohio: 31.2%
  3. New Mexico: 31%
  4. New York: 31%
  5. Wyoming: 30.9%

While living alone might be liberating and provide more independence, it’s also one of the highest risk factors for loneliness. With an increase in home-based activities such as remote work and online shopping, there’s a decline in face-to-face social interaction, which can contribute to how lonely or isolated many remote workers feel.

Unhappiest States

Unhappiness and life satisfaction are other major causes of loneliness. Happiness is based on several factors but boils down to contentment in categories such as a person’s economic, emotional, physical and social health. 

To determine happiness, this WalletHub study examined 30 metrics, such as work hours, job security, adult depression, income growth, and weather. Each metric received a unique weight and was graded on a scale from zero to 100, with 100 representing maximum happiness. The states' weighted averages across all metrics determined their overall scores. Here are the top five states with the lowest happiness scores: 

  1. West Virginia: 35.08
  2. Louisiana: 35.86
  3. Tennessee: 38.30
  4. Arkansas: 39.72
  5. Kentucky: 40.58
Top Loneliness Factors by State

Expert Tips for Coping with Loneliness

Everyone feels lonely from time to time, but it’s important to learn how to cope with loneliness so it doesn’t affect your long-term mental and physical health. Here are some expert tips on how to cope with loneliness. 

H3: Recite Self Love Affirmations

Kelly Armatage, a trained counselor and CBT therapist, defines loneliness as an inner void caused by a disconnection from the heart or a rejection of oneself.

“In order to fill up this inner void, it is important to connect to our own heart, connect to our inner child, and open up to love,” says Armatage. One of the best techniques for connecting with your heart is reciting self-love affirmations such as, “There is love, fulfillment, peace, and joy from within.”

Armatage concludes, “As you connect with your heart, you will then know just how unlonely being alone can be.”

Try a New Hobby

Hobbies are an excellent approach to dealing with loneliness because they allow people to focus on activities they enjoy, contributing to a sense of purpose.

Whether it's painting, writing, gardening, or learning to play a musical instrument, a new hobby can bring a sense of fulfillment and self-expression, according to psychologist Dana Klisanin.

Go to Therapy

“The cure for loneliness is connection,” says Dr. Annie Zimmerman, a psychotherapist and author of Your Pocket Therapist. “The best way to be less lonely is to be vulnerable with a safe person.” 

However, that’s not always easy. Sometimes, people need an unbiased third person to talk to about their vulnerability. “This is why therapy works — our hidden vulnerable parts finally feel seen and understood,” says Zimmerman.

Whether you live in one of the top loneliest states in America or not can affect how lonely you feel and can affect your levels of loneliness. Consider investing in an online therapy service as a supportive resource if you are experiencing loneliness. 

Methodology

Our research team collected, calculated, and compared data from all 50 states to identify the most and least lonely states in the United States. The data used to determine the loneliest states was extracted from data by Statista on the percentage of single-person households and World Population Review’s 4arital Status by State 2023 and Happiest States 2024 study. 

We ranked each factor based on their effect on loneliness, with living alone and happiness scores weighing the most, followed by being divorced and widowed, and then being single. Each state was then given a score based on these factors and assigned an overall rating.

Katherine Cullen - Writer for Top10
Katherine Cullen is a psychotherapist in New York City and co-author of The Truth About Exercise Addiction: Understanding the Dark Side of Thinspiration. Her work has been published by numerous outlets, including Psychology Today, Cosmopolitan, and Self.

The author of this article has been paid by Natural Intelligence to write this article. Neither the author nor Natural Intelligence provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency number immediately.