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These Are the Happiest (and Least Happy) Cities in America

Plus, which cities you should avoid.


Where you live could determine how happy you are, according to a new study. Last week, WalletHub released its 2019 “Happiest Cities in America” report, which ranks 182 of the country’s largest cities by how content their residents are.

Researchers analyzed each city based on 31 different key indicators of happiness, like depression rates, number of hours worked, job satisfaction, divorce rates, and amount of income growth.

“The main aim of the report was to find out whether money can really buy happiness,” Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub, told Forbes. “We also wanted to see what combination of factors help people to achieve happiness.”

Plano, Texas came in at number one. Gonzalez explained to Forbes that this is primarily due to it having “the smallest share of adults (13 percent) whose physical, mental or emotional problems affect their personal happiness,” along with some of the country’s lowest rates of depression, divorce and separation, and poverty. (However, in WalletHub’s “Happiest States in America” study, Texas as a whole came in at a not-so-stellar 22nd.)

Rounding out the top five are three California cities (Irvine, Fremont, and Huntington Beach) along with Madison, Wisc.

And at the bottom? Detroit. According to Gonzalez’ interview with Forbes, not only does the Michigan metropolis have “the lowest share of households earning annual incomes above $75,000” but it also has high unemployment and poverty rates.

Some of the other cities where residents aren’t very satisfied are Toledo, Ohio; Charleston, W.V.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Cleveland. Charleston, in particular, has the highest rate of depression in the U.S., with 28.9 percent of its residents affected.

In terms of individual indicators, the study has some interesting findings. For example, parents who want to boost their salary should consider San Francisco or Seattle, the two cities with the highest income growth. And families who want to decrease their risk of depression might think about relocating to Florida, where four cities tied for the lowest depression rates.

For the full list of WalletHub’s rankings, click here.

Source: WalletHub