The Most Caring States

Updated: Jul 17, 2022
The Most Caring States

The place we live can have a big impact on our happiness and wellbeing, with some locations proving much more caring and supportive than others. There are many factors that can affect how strong the sense of community is, such as charitable activity, homelessness rates and whether littering is a problem in the area.

However, these factors mean little on their own, and only when taken together can they reveal just how caring overall the community really is. To help build a picture of how this can vary across the country, we’ve compared each state based on a range of caring factors to reveal those with the strongest sense of community.

The Most Caring States in the USA

Here you can see how each state fared for each of the seven different factors, as well as how they rank overall when these scores are combined.

1. Connecticut – Caring Score: 8.13

Connecticut is the most caring state in the country, with an overall score of 8.13. While not scoring the highest in any one factor, Connecticut scored strongly across the board, performing particularly well for its high recycling rate, a large number of rescue centers, and the relatively low rate of homelessness in the state.

2. Minnesota – Caring Score: 7.11

In second place is Minnesota, which received an overall Caring Score of 7.11. Again, Minnesota didn’t top the table for any individual factor, but did especially well in the recycling category and being the third happiest state in the country.

3. Iowa – Caring Score: 7

Iowa takes third place in our leaderboard of the most caring states with an overall score of seven, placing it hot on the tails of second-place Minnesota. Iowa performed best for its high density of non-profit organizations and impressive recycling rate of 62%.

The States with the Lowest Rates of Homelessness

The states with the lowest rates of homelessness

1. Mississippi Homeless per 100,000: 37.38

Mississippi is the state with the lowest rate of homelessness with 37.38 people experiencing homelessness for every 100,000. This is considerably lower than anywhere else in the country, with second place Alabama seeing a rate of nearly double on 67.70 per 100,000.

The States with the Most Rescue Centers per Head

The states with the most rescue centers per head

1. Vermont Rescue Centers per 100,000: 6.1

Vermont is the state with the highest density of animal rescue centers compared to its population at 6.10 per 100,000 people. This implies that Vermonters are particularly caring when it comes to their animal companions, though Wyoming isn’t far behind with 6.01 rescue centers per 100,000 people

The States with the Highest Recycling Rates

The states with the highest recycling rates

1. Maine Recycling Rate: 74%

The state with the best recycling record is Maine, which is way out in front with a recycling rate of 74%. This suggests that people from Maine are particularly caring about the environment and are keen to do their part to preserve it for future generations.

The Happiest States in the Country

The happiest states in the country

1. Hawaii Happiness Rating: 68.27

The happiest state in the country is Hawaii, having scored a happiness rating of 68.27 out of 100. The only state located in the tropics, Hawaii benefits from excellent weather and a beautiful environment, so it should come as no surprise that its inhabitants are so happy with their lot. However, happiness also depends on the communities you live in, so the high happiness rating could also reflect a supportive and accepting Hawaiian community.

The States with the Most Nonprofits per Capita

The states with the most nonprofits per capita

1. Vermont – Non-Profits per 100,000: 861.00

Vermont is the state with the highest number of non-profit organizations at 861 per 100,000 people. A high number of non-profits in an area indicates that the locals care about a wide range of issues from social to environmental and everything in between.

The States with the Highest Proportion of the Workforce Working at Non-profits

The states with the highest proportion of the workforce working at non-profits

1. Massachusetts – Workforce in Non-Profits: 14.47%

Massachusetts is the state with the highest proportion of its workforce working in the non-profit sector at 14.47%. The desire to work for a non-profit organization indicates that workers want to contribute to a worthy cause through their labor. This could mean workers in Massachusetts are some of the most caring in the country.

The States Most Interested in Charity and Volunteering

The states most interested in charity and volunteering

1. Idaho Charitable Searches per 100,000: 30,261.75

Idaho is the state with the biggest interest in charity and volunteering, having made the most charitable Google searches per head in the past year. With as many as 30,261.75 searches per 100,000 people, the state has more than five times the number of charity searches than any other state, suggesting that the people of Idaho are particularly caring and good-hearted. 


We wanted to find out which states in the country are the most caring. To do this, we looked at seven different factors across a range of topics, all of which imply a certain degree of being caring. 

We used data from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness to find out how many people in the state were experiencing homelessness, and compared this to the population of each state to calculate the rate per 100,000 people.

The number of animal shelters and rescue centers was taken from Dog Lover’s Digest and was calculated as a rate per 100,000 people in each state. 

The number of non-profit organizations, as well as the size of the non-profit workforce, were taken from Independent Sector. We calculated the number of non-profits per 100,000 people in the state, while we used data for the size of the civilian labor force in each state from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the percentage of each state’s workforce employed by non-profit organizations.

Each state’s happiness score was taken from World Population Review, while the overall recycling rate of each state was sourced from Eunomia

We also used Google Keyword Planner to find out how many Google searches were made in each state for a range of search terms relating to volunteering and giving to charity. The data we collected was for the 12 months from June 2021 to May 2022, and we then calculated the number of searches per 100,000 people in the state so they could be compared on an equal footing.

Once we had collected the data for these various factors, we combined the results into a single “Caring Score” allowing us to rank the states and reveal which are the most caring in the country.

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