Gina Mei
November 25, 2015 2:47 pm

Regardless of what we choose to celebrate, the holiday season always inspires us to reflect on what we’re most grateful for. With a new year on the horizon, it’s good to remember what made our time on this planet so special — and to give credit where credit’s due. But aside from the obvious, what exactly are we most grateful for? In a study released earlier today, Facebook sought to explore just that.

The social media site noticed that, around this time of year, many of its users took part in social media “challenges” where people were asked to express gratitude over the course of a few days. According to their research, about 90% of participants in these challenges identified as female — which they believed could be attributed to multiple reasons, but they were quick to point out that they “think it is unlikely that women are actually more grateful than men.” Using data from “anonymized English status updates that contained ‘grateful’ or ‘thankful,'” the website then put their findings through a text-clustering algorithm to figure out what exactly makes its users tick.

Based on Facebook’s research, the top ten things we’re most grateful for weren’t particularly surprising: Friends, family, and good health took the top three spots.

But where things started to get really interesting was in the breakdown by state. Seeking to find greater themes across the U.S., Facebook delved deep into the topics we care about most — and the results were occasionally pretty surprising.

Religion, social media, and Mother Nature featured pretty heavily across the U.S. — and “children’s laughter” even got a couple shout-outs thanks to Ohio and Alaska. It makes sense that New York would value its apartments so highly (having lived there before, my living quarters took up the majority of my income and therefore my life); and that Florida would be thankful for “living near the beach.” Kansas spoke the truth by proclaiming its appreciation for Google, while New Hampshire has probably already watched Jessica Jones twice based on its love for Netflix.

From there, Facebook also explored what topics got the most “likes” (sobriety, recovery, and significant others took the cake), and if the things we’re grateful for change over time (short answer, yes). The study is absolutely fascinating, and it’s heartening to know that when it comes down to it, we all know what’s most important in life.

You can check out the rest of the study for yourself right here.

(Images via Facebook, Shutterstock.)

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