Nebraska's a happy state, but there's more to the story

Friday, September 23, 2022

Despite the current fortunes of Husker football, Nebraskans are pretty happy overall.

We’re the second lowest state in the number of people who are unemployed for 15 weeks or longer, third in volunteer rate, fourth in adequate sleep and feelings of being active and productive, and fifth lowest in separation and divorce.

But despite being the ninth “happiest” state according to a WalletHub release, not everything’s rosy in the Cornhusker state.

We’re just slightly better than average in the suicide rate, 23rd, and worse than average in income growth, 27th.

There are other troubling signs in the statistics, according to a Quote Wizard study that showed traffic fatalities are up 23% in Nebraska, 37% of them involving alcohol.

At the same time, DUI citations are down 52% in Nebraska since 2010.

Key findings for Nebraska included that 21% of crashes involved someone severely impaired, 43 DUI arrests were made per 10,000 registered drivers, and fatal crashes are up 18% nationwide since 2020.

One has to wonder whether people are just driving more since the pandemic eased somewhat, although the COVID transmission rate is relatively high in Southwest Nebraska. Gasoline prices have eased somewhat, but should still be high enough to discourage unnecessary driving.

And DUI arrests down? Have authorities eased off enforcement somehow?

Perhaps that perceived “happiness” has its roots in ethanol consumption.

Insurance analysts at Quote Wizard point out obvious facts that an arrest for driving under the influence will result in higher insurance rates and a suspended license and loss of employment, plus follow you for years, even into other states.

That can’t do much for your state of happiness, no matter what state you live in.

Overall, 87% of Americans are “anxious” or “very anxious” about inflation, according to the WalletHub statistics, most of them still recovering from COVID-19 stress.

Individually, we can’t do much about the pandemic or inflation rate, but we can do the obvious, like keeping vaccinations up to date and driving less.

Take time for exercise, listen to soothing music, ignore social media and turn off the news channels.

As for Cornhusker football … there’s always next year.

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