DENVER
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Happiest States In The US: Colorado Ranks Fourth

In a study by the University of Cambridge in England, Colorado has been ranked the fourth happiest state in the U.S.

The study suggests that states with wealthier, more tolerant and better educated residents are on average happier states.

A report from Live Science releasing the data explained the researchers reasoning.

The reasoning is that wealthy states can provide infrastructure and so it's easier for residents to get their needs met. In addition, states with a greater proportion of artists and gays would also be places where residents can freely express themselves.

Mountain states (including Colorado) and West Coast states ranked the highest for well-being with the Eastern Seaboard, Midwest and Southern states following.

The Researchers from Cambridge analyzed data collected from over 350,00 people they interviewed in 2008. They gathered data on the following ways to rank "well-being": emotional health, physical health, overall evaluation of their lives, healthy behaviors and job satisfaction.

They then took into account the relationship between happiness levels and variables such as economic indicators, education levels and personality factors.

They found that states with higher gross regional product (GRP) per capita (a state's level of productivity and standard of living), income levels and median housing value, were significantly happier than poorer areas. That's not too surprising as wealthier individuals tend to be healthier, because they are better educated and thus more knowledgeable about healthy behaviors, and they also likely have health insurance.

The happier states also tended to have a greater proportion of residents with advanced educations whose jobs were considered "super-creative," such as architecture, engineering, computer and math occupations, library positions, arts and design work, as well as entertainment, sports and media occupations.

Colorado came in fourth (behind Utah, Hawaii and Wyoming). The state has also been ranked fourth most preferred state to live in, has two of Forbes' most educated cities (Boulder ranked number 1), and has been called the fittest state in the nation as well.