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The luck of the Irish: New Jersey is 3rd luckiest state in the U.S., report says

With Saint Patrick’s Day around the corner, people all over the US are hoping the luck of the Irish will make their wishes come true. Maybe in the form of a new relationship, new job, or the biggest jackpot of them all: winning the lottery.

With that in mind, wanted to find out which states are the luckiest and boast the highest number of jackpot wins over the past ten years. They analyzed lottery data over the last decade and surveyed more than 1,000 Americans to better understand their lucky habits.

Here are the results:

Which States Are the Luckiest In America?

Which state has the most jackpot wins in the U.S. Infographic

Whether it’s an overabundance of fields of four-leaf clovers or the fact that it is the nation’s most populated state, California takes the top spot for the luckiest state. The Golden State had a whopping 16 Mega Millions wins and 11 Powerball jackpots from 2012-2022. That gives California a total of 27 jackpot wins over the past ten years. Here are the power rankings:

  1. California
  2. New York
  3. New Jersey
  4. Florida
  5. Illinois and Michigan (tie)

Another tie is between California and Florida for the most Powerball jackpot wins, with each getting 11 Powerball wins from 2012-2022.

Unluckiest States in the US

Of course, a few states aren’t often visited by Lady Luck. Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Dakota, Montana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Maine did not have any jackpot wins from 2012-2022. Ironically, Maine’s luck finally turned in January of 2023 with a $1.34 billion dollar Mega Millions jackpot win on what’s traditionally considered a rather unlucky day – Friday the 13th! It was the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time.

Unfortunately, some states’ lottery luck ran dry before the competition started, as the lottery is not played in Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Alabama, or Alaska. Hey, you can’t be unlucky if you don’t even play!

Most Lottery Jackpot Wins by State

Top Ten Luckiest States in the U.S. Infographic

If you’re traveling through or living in California, New York, New Jersey, or Florida, you might want to try your luck and buy a lottery ticket. Each of these states had the most winning tickets sold.

California boasts a total of 27 jackpot wins over the past ten years. New York comes in second with 22 jackpots. New Jersey ranks third with 19 total wins. Florida places fourth with 14 wins. And Illinois and Michigan are tied for fifth place with 9 wins. When it comes to sixth in the nation, Pennsylvania and Tennessee both tie at 8 wins, and Missouri and Texas tie at #7 with 7 jackpot wins each.

Lottery wins have been evasive for parts of the South like Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. It’s the same story for the Great American West, in states like Idaho, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming. There have been zero jackpot wins in these 10 states over the past ten years! 

Highest Jackpot Totals by State

Highest Jackpot Totals by State Infographic

Jackpots for the Powerball and Mega Millions keep ticking higher in recent years. Winning tickets have topped well over one billion dollars! 

Powerball set a world record jackpot of $2.04 billion in November 2022. The record prize was won by a single ticket sold in California.

The top Mega Millions Jackpot came with a $1.5 billion dollar prize. The winning ticket was sold in South Carolina for a drawing in 2018.

The Golden State had the most lottery wins over the past ten years, so it comes as no surprise that it also had the highest total jackpot winnings with $7.7 billion dollars. However, Floridians placed #5 for the most lotteries won, but the earnings of those winnings were higher, with the Sunshine State coming in at #2 for total jackpot winnings with $5.5 billion dollars. New York ranks #3 with over $4 billion dollars in winnings, and neighboring New Jersey placed #4 with $3.8 billion in prize money. Illinois took the #5 spot with $2.8 billion in winnings.

America’s Relationship with Luck

 America's Relationship with Luck Infographic

Americans tend to be pretty optimistic when it comes to luck. Nearly seven in ten Americans believe in luck. More than 37% believe in lucky superstitions, while 29% believe in unlucky ones.

More people may be headed out to buy lottery tickets this Saint Patrick’s day, as one in five consider St. Paddy’s a lucky holiday. The majority of people (57%) pick specific numbers, and 18% admit their lottery buying habits are based on superstition.

Nearly half of Americans play the lottery. One in five say they only play when there’s a big jackpot, and 20% play once a month. The average American spends $143 on lottery tickets per year.

If you do end up hitting the jackpot, one of the biggest questions is who you tell. More than half of Americans say they wouldn’t tell acquaintances, 53% wouldn’t dare tell their neighbors, and 49% wouldn’t say a thing to their boss. Most would tell their friends and family, however, 23% of people say they wouldn’t tell their friends and 9% say they wouldn’t talk about it to their families.

Now onto the most exciting part – how Americans plan to spend that money! 63% say they would buy a new house, 48% say they would pay off their debt, and 46% say they would share it with their loved ones.

No matter how high the odds are of losing the lottery, it seems Americans will bet on themselves and try to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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