10 Cities in America With the Happiest People

What makes a happy place? To answer that question, WalletHub analyzed 30 indicators of happiness in 150 cities. Here are the cities with the happiest people.

Most of our goals — career, relationship and so on — are conceived with one end in mind: happiness. But are you looking for joy in the right places? While it’s important to keep a positive mindset, sometimes where you are in the world can have a huge impact on your contentment. Do you have access to parks when you want to exercise? Does the economy where you live foster job satisfaction? To help you answer these questions, WalletHub analyzed 30 indicators of happiness in 150 of the largest cities in the U.S., determining where the happiest people are living. They looked at everything from depression rate to income growth rate to the amount of time spent on leisure. Find out if your hometown is helping to lift you up.

10. Washington, District of Columbia

Washington, D.C., is the 10th happiest city in America. WalletHub’s analysts discovered that it has the second lowest suicide rate of all the cities in question and the highest income growth, meaning that the nation’s capital city serves as a pillar for both democracy and the American dream.

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9. Santa Rosa, California

Sunny Santa Rosa received high scores in WalletHub’s income and employment category, which takes into consideration everything from poverty rate to job satisfaction to commute time. S. Katherine Nelson-Coffey, assistant professor in the department of psychology at The University of the South, tells WalletHub that an important factor in job satisfaction is a sense of autonomy — feeling like you can make your own choices at work.

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8. Oakland, California

Oakland shined in WalletHub’s emotional and physical well-being category, which broadly accounts for metrics like suicide rate, expressions of happiness, heart-disease rate and food-insecurity rate.

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7. San Diego, California

Like Oakland, San Diego excelled in the physical and emotional well-being category. It also scored high marks when it came to income and employment.

6. Huntington Beach, California

Huntington Beach scored well in the physical and emotional well-being category. Specifically, it tied with five other California cities for having the lowest depression rate and has the fourth lowest obesity rate of the cities studied.

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5. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Didn’t get enough shut-eye last night? The people of Sioux Falls happily slept the night away. The South Dakota city was found to have the highest adequate-sleep rate in the country. But that doesn’t mean people there don’t make time for friends: Sioux Falls also scored quite well in the community and environment category.

4. San Francisco, California

Although San Francisco failed terribly in the community and environment category, coming in at 101 out of 150, it scored high marks in the income and employment and emotional and physical well-being categories. It also helps that the city has the third lowest obesity rate in the country.

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3. Irvine, California

Irvine tied with WalletHub’s No. 1 happiest city for having the lowest obesity rate of the nation’s largest cities. It also came in fifth place for having some of the lowest separation and divorce rates in the country. WalletHub expert Mariah Evans, associate professor at the University of Nevada-Reno, says, “Married people are happier than never-married people, separated people and divorced people.”

2. San Jose, California

San Jose actually outranked the happiest city on WalletHub’s list to get the top score in the physical and emotional well-being category. It fell slightly behind in the community and environment rankings.

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1. Fremont, California

If you haven’t noticed already, California cities claimed eight of the 10 titles on this list. What do all of these cities have in common? Well, for one thing, moderate weather all year long, which really does matter when it comes to happiness, according to Evans. We’re pretty sure good weather alone can’t account for Fremont’s low obesity rate and low separation and divorce rate, but it probably doesn’t hurt.

What Do YOU Think?

Did your city make the cut? Were you surprised by any of the cities on this list? What factors do you think makes a person happy? Let us know in the comments section!

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