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Happiest man in America found in Hawaii

March 09, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times

Happiness is often seen as something that can't be quantified. But is there a formula for happy people, and a specific person who fits the profile?

Turns out there is. Gallup, which released its list of happiest (and least happy) states in America Sunday, had been asked by the New York Times to identify a hypothetical happiest person in the United States. After some statistical magic, Gallup sent back this answer, according to the newspaper:

"He’s a tall, Asian American, observant Jew who is at least 65 and married, has children, lives in Hawaii, runs his own business and has a household income of more than $120,000 a year."

Does such an unlikely person exist? Turns out there is one individual who fits the bill: Alvin Wong, 69, a Chinese-American who keeps kosher (he converted to Judaism). And yes, all the other factors check out -- including his living in Hawaii, the Gallup-appointed happiest state of them all.

So what's a person to do? Move to Oahu? Maybe your age, religion and ethnicity are not all there is to happiness -- and on that point, theories certainly abound. Some have argued that people who daydream are less happy; others have found that people who skip the small talk and head straight to deep, meaningful conversations are emotionally better off.

Meanwhile, I'm checking out real estate prices in Wyoming, runner-up to the island state in overall well-being.

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.

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