New Year's Resolutions: Which States Are Most Interested in Better Health, Savings and Leisure in 2024?

ByAnja Solum, CEPF
Edited byMegan Hull

Updated: January 4, 2024

ByAnja Solum, CEPF
Edited byMegan Hull

Updated: January 4, 2024

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

At the beginning of a new year, many people set resolutions to improve their lives. MoneyGeek found the states where Americans are most focused on leading healthier lives — both physically and financially — in 2024.

To find these states, we analyzed 2023 and 2022 Google Trends data for all 50 states, examining keyword searches related to quitting smoking and drinking, eating healthy and improving sleep. We also explored search interests for other common resolutions related to personal finance and leisure. Our findings reveal that interest in weight loss is highest in Southern states, while some of the Northeast's most populous states show the lowest search interest in developing healthier habits.

KEY FINDINGS
  • West Virginia shows the highest interest in healthier living heading into the New Year. It has the highest search interest in weight loss and ranks second-highest for quitting smoking.

  • Southern states are focused on weight loss. Four out of five states with the highest search interest for losing weight are in the South.

  • Some of the most populous states in the Northeast — New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey — demonstrate the lowest interest in forming healthier habits.

  • Folks in Oklahoma and New Mexico are most interested in resolutions not related to health, specifically reading and traveling more.

  • Kansans are most focused on money in the New Year, with more search interest in "how to save money" than any other state.

States Showing the Most Interest in Healthier Habits

As the New Year approaches, West Virginia stands out as the state with the highest search interest in overall healthier living. With the highest search interest in weight loss and the second-highest for quitting smoking, West Virginians are also looking to get more shuteye in 2024, ranking No.6 in the nation for “better sleep” searches.

Idaho isn’t far behind, holding the second-highest search interest for better sleep and overall healthier living. Vermont comes in third for search interest in healthier living and the highest search interest in healthy eating.

States With the Highest Health-Related Search Volume
State
Health Related Search Score

1.

West Virginia

72

2.

South Dakota

69

3.

Vermont

67

4.

Idaho

64

5.

Montana

64

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HOW BETTER LIFESTYLE CHOICES CAN REDUCE LIFE INSURANCE COSTS

Adopting healthy habits not only improves your well-being but may also qualify you for lower rates on life insurance. When searching for the best life insurance for your family, prioritize comprehensive coverage that addresses your unique health needs rather than simply opting for the cheapest life insurance plan.

Southern States Lead in Search Queries for Weight Loss

A closer examination of search trends for weight loss reveals a distinct pattern in the South. Four out of the top five states with the highest search interest in "how to lose weight" are in this region, with West Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama taking the lead. Two Midwestern states — North Dakota and Iowa — as well as Idaho in the Northwest, also rank high in weight loss search interest.

States With the Highest Weight Loss-Related Search Volume
State
Weight Loss Search Score

1.

West Virginia

100

2.

Mississippi

93

3.

Alabama

85

4.

Idaho

84

5.

Arkansas

84

Healthy Habit Search Interest Is Low in the Northeast's Populous States

The lowest search interest for healthier living is predominantly in the Northeast, with three out of the five states with the lowest search volume being New York, Massachusetts and New Jersey — states that are among the most populous in the region. New Jersey, in particular, has the lowest score for health-related searches among all states analyzed.

On the other side of the country, another densely populated state mirrors this trend. California tied with New Jersey for the lowest score in health-related searches. The Golden State also has the lowest search interest in "quit smoking" and ranks fifth lowest for weight loss searches.

States With the Lowest Health-Related Search Volume
State
Health Related Search Score

1.

New Jersey

44.0

2.

California

44.0

3.

Texas

44.3

4.

Massachusetts

44.5

5.

New York

45.4

States Making the Most Non-Health-Related New Year's Resolutions

Although popular resolutions often relate to physical health, many people are also make resolutions related to saving money, traveling more and reading more. Among these goals, Kansas leads in searches related to saving more money, New Mexico tops the list for traveling more and Oklahoma ranks highest for reading more. The table below highlights the other top states with strong search interest in these three non-health categories.


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States with the Highest Search Interest for "How to Save Money"
1. Kansas
2. Wyoming
3. Oklahoma
4. New Mexico
5. Mississippi
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States with the Highest Search Interest for "Travel More"
1. New Mexico
2. Oklahoma
3. Mississippi
4. North Carolina
5. Georgia
oklahoma icon
States with the Highest Search Interest for "Read More"
1. Oklahoma
2. New Mexico
3. Alabama
4. Georgia
5. Louisiana

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HOW TO STICK TO A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION

Sticking to your New Year's resolution can be challenging, whether it's developing healthier habits or meeting financial or savings goals. Experts believe that setting realistic and manageable objectives is the key to boosting success rates. It's advisable to concentrate on small, incremental improvements — particularly in the areas of health and finances — to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Methodology

MoneyGeek conducted an analysis of Google Trends search volume for eight popular keyword phrases:

  • "Quit Drinking"
  • "Quit Smoking"
  • "How to Lose Weight"
  • "Sleep Better"
  • "Healthy Eating"
  • "How to Save Money"
  • "Travel More"
  • "Read More"

Google Trends assigns values to search volume by normalizing data for easier comparisons between terms, taking into account geography, time range and relative popularity. A higher value or score in Google Trends signifies that a search query is particularly popular or trending during a given period (with 100 being the highest possible score).

We compared average search interest scores for each keyword across two 12-month periods: October 15, 2022, to December 15, 2022, and October 15, 2023, to December 15, 2023. To determine the Final Score (Health) metric, we averaged the first five search terms, while the Final Score (Non-Health) metric was calculated using the last three. Due to unavailable data, we assigned zero scores for "Quit Drinking" in Wyoming and North Dakota, "Travel More" in Vermont, Wyoming and Alaska, and "Read More" in Vermont.

Full Dataset

Our data uncovers key trends in searches related to quitting smoking and drinking, losing weight, improving sleep and adopting healthier diets. These findings offer insights into which states are actively seeking to transition to healthier lifestyles as we enter the New Year. We also examined the search volume for other common resolutions not related to health, including saving money, traveling, and reading more.

State
Final Score (Health)
Final Score (Non-Health)

West Virginia

72.1

52.5

South Dakota

68.8

59.8

Vermont

66.5

19.8

Idaho

64.2

41.5

Montana

64.2

31.2

Oklahoma

60.4

86.5

New Hampshire

60.1

33.0

Maine

59.9

31.5

About Anja Solum, CEPF


Anja Solum, CEPF headshot

Anja Solum is a certified educator in personal finance and the Data Journalism Manager at MoneyGeek. For over six years, she has produced data analyses and studies for agency and in-house teams across multiple verticals.

Solum holds a bachelor's degree in communication arts from Florida International University. She's passionate about using data to tell compelling, informed stories that empower readers.


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