Mental Floss

The 25 Hardest-Working States in America

Ellen Gutoskey
More than 15 percent of North Dakota's hard-working population lives in Fargo.
More than 15 percent of North Dakota's hard-working population lives in Fargo. / DenisTangneyJr/iStock via Getty Images

As long as you’re careful not to enter “workaholic” territory, working hard at your job or on a particular project can be a great confidence booster. It can also make you feel like you really earned a weekend of vegging out with a stacked Netflix queue and a pile of your favorite junk foods.

Apparently, residents of North Dakota deserve that more than anyone: According to a new survey from WalletHub, the Flickertail State is the hardest working state in the country. The rankings analyzed 10 factors—from hours in an average work week to average leisure time per day—and awarded each state a weighted score out of 100. North Dakota’s was 72.85, more than seven points ahead of runner-up Alaska. In general, the middle of the country seems to be a hotbed for dutiful employees. South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming all finished within the top 15.

Source: WalletHub

But just because your state didn’t rank in the top tier doesn’t mean the locals are lazy in any way; it may indicate your state doesn’t have the same opportunities as other places. Along with employment rate, WalletHub factored in “idle youth rate,” or the proportion of residents between the ages of 16 and 24 who aren’t working or attending school. North Dakota has the highest employment rate and the lowest idle youth rate, so it has a serious advantage over states like New Mexico and West Virginia, which have low employment rates and high idle youth rates. In other words, you can’t be a hard worker if work is impossible to find.

See if your state made the top 25 list below, and see the full rankings here.

  1. North Dakota // 72.85
  1. Alaska // 65.14
  1. Wyoming // 61.92
  1. Texas // 61.22
  1. Nebraska // 59.52
  1. Oklahoma // 56.81
  1. Colorado // 56.56
  1. Virginia // 56.40
  1. Maryland // 56.18
  1. Hawaii // 55.30
  1. South Dakota // 65.14
  1. New Hampshire // 54.07
  1. Kansas // 52.69
  1. Georgia // 51.22
  1. Tennessee // 49.38
  1. Iowa // 48.95
  1. Utah // 48.78
  1. Minnesota // 48.44
  1. Indiana // 47.84
  1. South Carolina // 46.58
  1. North Carolina // 45.63
  1. Montana // 45.27
  1. Louisiana // 45.25
  1. Vermont // 45.22
  1. Maine // 45.16

[h/t WalletHub]