And the Most Miserable State in America Is …

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iStock

Where you live has a huge impact on your health and happiness: Location dictates everything from your local weather to crime rates. Each year, the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index interviews 160,000 U.S. adults about their lives, scoring different regions of the country on their residents' well-being and ranking the states based on the overall happiness of the people who live there. This year, according to USA Today, 24/7 Wall Street decided to add to that dataset by analyzing even more socioeconomic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, and elsewhere, such as poverty rates, crime, social ties, and health across the U.S. The result is a more complete picture of how happy some states are, and how miserable others are.

Some of the rankings might surprise you. Both Dakotas made it into the top 10, with South Dakota taking the overall prize for the happiest state. In the survey, residents reported a high sense of purpose, saying they like what they do each day and have reached most of their goals in the last year. More than 80 percent of respondents said they like what they do daily, more than any other state. In other high-scoring states, residents report a strong sense of security, good public health, and strong social ties. (Low crime and unemployment rates help.)

Here are the 10 happiest states in the U.S., according to the rankings.

1. South Dakota
2. Vermont
3. Hawaii
4. Minnesota
5. North Dakota
6. Colorado
7. New Hampshire
8. Idaho
9. Utah
10. Montana

Meanwhile, economic concerns and high crime dominate the responses within the rankings of the most miserable states in the U.S. West Virginia, the least happy state on the list, is plagued by financial insecurity and poor health outcomes. In the survey, West Virginians had the lowest numbers of people who said they were in "near perfect" physical health, liked what they do every day, or have strong social ties. Other states in the top 10 list of least happy states include Louisiana and Arkansas, both of which have some of the highest rates of poverty and violent crime in the country. In Oklahoma, one out of five people who responded to the survey said they struggled to afford food, and in Kentucky, 23 percent of respondents said they have been depressed in their lifetime.

These are the 10 most miserable states, according to these calculations.

1. West Virginia
2. Louisiana
3. Arkansas
4. Mississippi
5. Oklahoma
6. Kentucky
7. Ohio
8. Nevada
9. Indiana
10. Rhode Island

Head to USA Today to see the full list.

Paris's Notre-Dame Cathedral Was Saved from Total Devastation, According to Fire Officials

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

People around the world watched in horror on Monday, April 15 as the iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France was consumed by flames. The fire, which French prosecutors say was likely started by accident, destroyed the building's roof, spire, and parts of the interior. But despite the intensity of the blaze, 400 firefighters were able to put it out and save the structure from total devastation, CNBC reports. Now, French President Emmanuel Macron is vowing to rebuild Notre-Dame, and donations are already flowing into the country.

The cathedral's facade and famous twin bell towers are still standing following Monday's fire. The interior also fared better than photographs of the inferno would suggest. Bernard Fonquernie, an architect who worked renovations of Notre-Dame in the 1980s and 1990s, told The New York Times that the stone vaulting inside the church acted as a firewall and protected parts of the church from damage. The famous stained glass South Rose window—which dates to 1260—remains intact, as does Notre-Dame's Great Organ, though it may be water damaged. The structure's roof, also known as "the forest" due to the amount of timber used to build it in the 13th century, suffered the worst of the fire.

Many of the priceless relics and artworks inside the church were also salvaged, including the crown of thorns the Catholic Church believes Jesus wore during his crucifixion. After Notre-Dame caught fire yesterday, firefighters, policemen, and municipal workers formed a human chain to remove treasures from the building as quickly as possible.

French firefighters work to extinguish the flames at Notre-Dame Cathedral. Here, the spire has already collapsed, but the main stone structure and bell towers were saved.
French firefighters work to extinguish the flames at Notre-Dame Cathedral. Here, the spire has already collapsed, but the main stone structure and bell towers were saved.
Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images

Paris prosecutors are operating on the theory that the fire was started accidentally, and they've launched an investigation into the exact cause of the tragedy. In the meantime, President Macron tweeted yesterday that France will rebuild Notre-Dame over the coming years.

It's not clear what the cost of the damage is, but France is already receiving money to fund the restoration: More than 400 million euros (or $452 million) has been raised so far. Prolific donors include some of France's richest citizens: Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault pledged 100 million euros, and Bernard Arnault, the CEO of luxury group LVMH, pledged 200 million euros.

[h/t CNBC]

Foster Families Can Shop for Free Clothing at This Western New York Charity

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iStock.com/goodmoments

There are nearly 438,000 children in the U.S. foster care system, and many of them come to their foster families needing clothes and shoes. Erin Richeal, Cheryl Flick, and Kara Brody, three foster parents from western New York, have gotten together to start a free clothing bank dedicated to providing foster kids with the wardrobe staples they need, WGRZ reports.

Foster Love Closet is a free clothing bank located in the Town Line Lutheran Church in Alden, New York, and it's now collecting donations. Open two days a week, the foster kid charity allows foster families to pick up a week's worth of kids' clothing at a time. Items like shirts and pants, as well as extra necessities like coats, socks, shoes, underwear, and pajamas, are set up in the charity's 2000-square-foot space. All socks and underwear are brand new, and any other items are either new or gently used.

There's something for foster kids of all ages, from infants to older teens. Foster parents with valid placement papers and a photo ID are welcome to pick up clothes for their foster kids four times a year, or whenever a new child moves into their home. Families are encouraged to bring their foster kids along to "shop" for the free clothes.

If you're looking to contribute to the Foster Love Closet's inventory, the center is now accepting clothes free of rips, holes, and stains that are appropriate for the spring and summer months. You can also support them by purchasing something off their Amazon wishlist.

[h/t WGRZ]

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