Level the playing field and Puerto Rico will join Hawaii as the Happiest State in. the Union.
Hawaii has just been recognized as the Happiest State in the USA. The report from WalletHub weighs criteria and indicators measuring the strengths and weaknesses of each state that define quality of life.
Like Puerto Rico, Hawaii was a territory for decades after the majority expressed support for statehood. Like Puerto Rico, Hawaii’s admission was delayed by national politics influenced by economic special interests profiting from territorial status. These special interests delayed recognition of the right to self-determination by Congress.
Like Puerto Rico, Hawaii has hurricanes, sea level rise, natural disasters (including volcanic eruptions), and other extreme weather, but as a state it has been able to harden its infrastructure and disaster response capabilities as the territory of Puerto Rico cannot.
Hawaii is the newest state of the union. It is the last territory to become a state. It was not as economically ready for statehood a some other territories had been, but its full economic potential was realized after admission on an equal footing with other states. Statehood brought the convergence with the national economy that all new states experience.
There was a controversial history of U.S. annexation and an independence movement. Hawaiian cultural and political nationalism thrives in Hawaii politics under statehood. The legacy of cultural diversity in Hawaii sometimes led to cultural divisiveness. For example, in the 1920’s there were riots in Honolulu when English language requirements were imposed on some tourist industry trades.
That led to a state policy preserving programs for the promotion of multilingualism. Multi-culturalism in Hawaii is sustainable due to state government public policy. economic support for social equity, and respect for ethnic heritage.
All these points remind us of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico could be the happiest state
Could Puerto Rico be the Happiest State in the future? If you believe in the character of the people of Puerto Rico and America’s model for realization of the full potential of all citizens under statehood, can there be any doubt?
Puerto Rico was not included in the WalletHub research, as it is so often left out of research on the states. As a territory, Puerto Rico would lose points for food insecurity, economic security, and safety. Hawaii would have scored badly on those points as a territory, too. As a state, Puerto Rico will — like Hawaii — have greater prosperity and security. Workers will continue to be able to work in a place where others vacation. Beautiful weather, strong communities, and sports participation will continue to contribute to the high score.
We look forward to the day when the 51st state — Puerto Rico — shows up at the top of the list of happiest states.