The States With The Most Despair

Amanda Postma
by Amanda Postma
Study - 2 weeks ago

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With lots of different factors contributing to despair, it makes sense that some states are in more despair than others.

While we contributed depression, opioid prescriptions and poverty rates, others suggest that the more pain someone is in the more they’re going to be in despair.

With that being said, these 10 states are dealing with the most despair right now.

States With the Most Despair

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Arkansas
  3. West Virginia
  4. Tennessee
  5. Louisiana
  6. Alabama
  7. Missouri
  8. Kentucky
  9. Wyoming
  10. Kansas

While despair can certainly be caused by a lot of different things, there are studies that suggest pain is the biggest contributor. From getting addicted to opioids to obesity and even poverty rates, Americans in these states are feeling the most pain right now.

We figured out these states were in more despair than others by examining the states’ depression rates, suicide rates, opioid prescriptions, poverty rates and hours worked.

Keep reading to figure out how much despair each state is dealing with right now.

How We Determined The States In The Most Despair

Each state was ranked 1-to-50 on five factors:

  • Depression rate
  • Suicides per 100,000 people
  • Opioid prescriptions per 100 people
  • Poverty rate
  • Hours worked

To evaluate states on level of despair, we opted to examine factors that were directly caused by despair, in addition to poverty rate and hours worked that contribute and cause despair.
Our data on depression comes from BlueCross’ Executive Summary on depression in the nation. For suicide rates per 100,000 people and opioid prescription per 100 people, we turned to the CDC.
Finally, the average hours worked and poverty rate come from the most recent Census American Community Survey.

1. Oklahoma

oklahoma class=

Depression Rate: 5%
Opioid Prescriptions: 79.1
Suicides By State: 20

Oklahoma is the state in the most despair right now. It comes in fifth for its average 39.8-hour workweek and sixth for the amount of opioid prescriptions are written.

2. Arkansas

arkansas class=

Depression Rate: 4.7%
Opioid Prescriptions: 93.5
Suicides By State: 18.3

Coming in at No. 2, Arkansas fills the second-most opioid prescriptions in the country. With 93.5 prescriptions filled a year, it seems residents are trying to deal with some kind of chronic pain.

3. West Virginia

west virginia class=

Depression Rate: 4.4%
Opioid Prescriptions: 69.3
Suicides By State: 21.2

West Virginia is the third state that’s hurting the most in our country. In addition to one of the highest poverty rates, it also ranks eighth for its suicides rates of 21.2 and the number of opioid prescriptions that are filled per 100,000 patients of 69.3.

4. Tennessee

tennessee class=

Depression Rate: 4.8%
Opioid Prescriptions: 81.8
Suicides By State: 16.6

Tennessee comes in as the fourth-most despaired state. It’s clear residents there are hurting from something as the 81.8 opioid prescriptions that are filled per 100,000 patients ranks for third in the nation.

5. Louisiana

louisiana class=

Depression Rate: 4.7%
Opioid Prescriptions: 79.4
Suicides By State: 15.1

Despite having lower suicide and depression rates than the other states on this list, Louisiana still comes in at No. 5 as suffering from the most despair. What is fueling this despair? The state’s 18.6% poverty level, 39.7-hour workweek and the 79.4 opioid prescriptions that are filled for every 100,000 patients.

6. Alabama

alabama class=

Depression Rate: 4.8%
Opioid Prescriptions: 97.5
Suicides By State: 16.5

Despair can be caused by a number of things. Sometimes it has outside factors that give it a little boost. As is the case with Alabama. While the state ranks sixth on our list, it is the one state in the entire country that writes more opioid prescriptions than any other state. With 97.5 prescriptions written per 100,000 patients, it’s no wonder the state is in such despair.

7. Missouri

missouri class=

Depression Rate: 5.1%
Opioid Prescriptions: 63.4
Suicides By State:19.5

The seventh most despaired state is Missouri. The state has one of the worst depression rates in the country with its 5.1%. If you say the state name fast enough it sounds like you’re saying ‘Misery.’ A state that truly lives up to its name.

8. Kentucky

kentucky class=

Depression Rate: 4.6%
Opioid Prescriptions: 79.5
Suicides By State: 17.5

While Kentucky’s fried chicken may be good for your soul, the state’s opioid prescriptions may be helping its residents’ pain. Being the eighth-most in-despair state, Kentucky writes the fourth-most opioid prescriptions of 79.5 per 100,000 patients.

9. Wyoming

wyoming class=

Depression Rate: 4.7%
Opioid Prescriptions: 57.1
Suicides By State: 25

Wyoming may come in at No. 9, but it does claim a No. 1 spot. With 25 suicides, the state has the most suicides in the entire country. Additionally, it has the third-longest workweek of 40.3 hours.

10. Kansas

kansas class=

Depression Rate: 4.9%
Opioid Prescriptions: 64.3
Suicides By State: 19

Kansas is the tenth-most despaired state in the U.S. Between a depression rate of 4.9%, 19 suicides and 64.3 opioid prescriptions, it’s clear the state is in a lot of pain.

Summary of the States with the Most Despair

While it’s important to keep up with your neighbors, friends and family in general anyway, it’s even more important now. Everyone is handling the challenges that are being brought to the world in their own way. Some may be turning to drugs, while others are falling deeper into their depression.

Either way, we all need a friend right now. Even if it is to just say hi.

Rank State Poverty Rates Suicide Numbers Depression Rates
1 Oklahoma 9% 22 6
2 Arkansas 13% 24 4
3 West Virginia 11% 14 4
4 Tennessee 11% 13 4
5 Louisiana 9% 11 2
6 Alabama 13% 19 4
7 Missouri 10% 13 5
8 Kentucky 11% 15 4
9 Wyoming 11% 25 4
10 Kansas 10% 8 3
11 Idaho 12% 23 5
12 North Carolina 8% 19 5
13 Mississippi 12% 19 4
14 Georgia 13% 19 5
15 South Carolina 11% 18 5
16 Indiana 10% 21 4
17 New Mexico 10% 15 4
18 North Dakota 11% 19 5
19 Montana 12% 18 6
20 Florida 11% 14 4
21 South Dakota 13% 16 4
22 Oregon 14% 15 4
23 Michigan 17% 17 4
24 Maine 13% 10 3
25 Iowa 12% 14 4
26 Alaska 11% 24 3
27 Delaware 13% 19 5
28 Utah 9% 10 4
29 Ohio 14% 19 3
30 Arizona 17% 18 4
31 Nevada 14% 8 4
32 Texas 14% 15 4
33 Colorado 12% 11 4
34 New Hampshire 13% 20 3
35 Washington 20% 25 4
36 Pennsylvania 15% 13 3
37 Nebraska 16% 20 5
38 Vermont 15% 15 3
39 Virginia 10% 10 5
40 Wisconsin 14% 13 4
41 Rhode Island 10% 9 5
42 Minnesota 13% 11 5
43 Connecticut 18% 21 4
44 Maryland 14% 15 4
45 Illinois 14% 14 4
46 Massachusetts 13% 9 6
47 New York 17% 16 4
48 California 15% 16 4
49 New Jersey 20% 13 3
50 Hawaii 19% 15 4
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