Why are people in Wyoming so happy?


The diversity of our landscape and our people (and even our weather) were reasons given by some of my best friends about why they are so happy to live here in Wyoming!

It is easy to understand why Wyoming was named one of the two “most happy” states in the country in a recent Gallup Poll, reported in USA Today.

“People wave at you when you are driving down the street, even if they don’t know you,” says Mike Bailey of Riverton.  “Plus I love our 300 days of sunshine per year and the beautiful view of the mountains.  I like that people here are so honest, too.”

Jerry Kendall of Hudson says, “I love Wyoming because of the amazing diversity of its landscape. I can climb into the Wind River Mountains and stand where perhaps no other human has ever stood,” he says. “I can wander out into the vast Red Desert and not see another soul for days on end. I can breathe fresh air every day of my life.”

John Davis of Worland reports, “My wife is from Toronto, and would have been quite at home in a large city.  What we both settled on was Sheridan; we thought it was the perfect blend of a town with a little bit of size, and, therefore, a lot of shopping and restaurant advantages, and still one that was right in the middle of one of the prettiest areas in the state. 

“Well, Sheridan was not to be, and when I got out of the JAG Corps, the best opportunity seemed to come in my hometown of Worland. 

“What we liked immediately about Worland was how warm and friendly the people were.  Crime was unheard of and our neighbors bent over backwards to be, well, good neighbors.

“We found a house, a fine 1917 Arts and Crafts piece, one full of great woodwork, and, at least in the main floor, almost completely original.  It was built for Sadie and Charlie Worland, and was intended to be the finest house in town.  Well, the house became our grand project.  We were truly blessed to have it as our home for 38 years.”

Jack Speight of Cheyenne says, “I enjoy the wide open spaces and the lack of concentration of people on top of each other.

“We wintered this year at home in Wyoming instead of in a warm place. What you discover is it is the people that sets Wyoming apart in the middle of July or in mid-February.  Wyoming people care about their neighbors.

“I was out shoveling a fairly long half-block sidewalk on Eighth Avenue. The snowplows had dumped more snow on top of the six inches on the sidewalk to clear the street. A man in a pickup truck turned around in the middle of the block, pulled up, unloaded a snow blower, and gave me a helping hand. That’s Wyoming.

“That Good Samaritan didn’t know me. I had never met him until that morning, yet he was willing to give a helping hand to a 79-year-old out shoveling his own sidewalk. You’re not gonna find that in many states. People do care for each other in Wyoming more than other states because there are fewer of us. That is the true beauty of Wyoming.”

“Chuck Brown of Wheatland says, “Why aren’t we the happiest? I am!”

John Brown of Lander (no relation) says, “Fewer people, no traffic to speak of, mountains, and a clear sky at night that allows me to see the Milky Way!”

Jim Hicks of Buffalo says, “Most small communities around the country have people who do care about their neighbors, not just in Wyoming, but since most of this state is made up of relatively isolated small communities there is a stronger community spirit.

“We all talk about improving the economy by attracting new business and more people, but down deep for many of us we honestly don’t want that much change.

“Many of us remember when few people knew about that favorite fishing hole or the spot where we got our elk every season.  Now there is more competition for those treasures.

“We are happy because, for all the imperfections, we have a citizen legislature, our neighbors are members of the City Council or County Commission and there isn’t a constant urge to lock the door or worry about the kids walking to school.

“Perhaps the environments in Hawaii and Wyoming are such that it dampens the desire for other things in life like lots of money or power?”

Check out additional columns at www.billsniffin.com. He has published six books.  His coffee table book series has sold 34,000 copies. You can find them at www.wyomingwonders.com.

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