Can the community you live in determine your outlook on life? While it certainly is not the only (or perhaps even primary) factor, it seems that the city where you reside could have an effect on your overall happiness.
WalletHub’s 2022 Happiest Cities in America study compared 182 of the largest cities, including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, across three key dimensions:
- Emotional and physical well-being
- Income and employment
- Community and environment
Using 30 relevant metrics, such as the depression rate and the income-growth pace, each city was given an overall score.
As you can see by the map provided by WalletHub, the majority of the happiest cities are on the west coast. California has six of the top 10 spots and Washington state has another.
The top 10 happiest cities are:
- Fremont, California
- Columbia, Maryland
- San Francisco, California
- San Jose, California
- Irvine, California
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Seattle, Washington
- Overland Park, Kansas
- Huntington Beach, California
- San Diego, California
They listed top cities in specific categories, as well. For example, Pearl City, Hawaii, had the lowest depression rate, while South Burlington, Vermont, had the highest adequate sleep rate and San Francisco had the highest income growth, all of which were factored into the overall conclusions.
So, how much does your location influence your happiness?
Jay Caughron, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Radford University, told WalletHub that he has mixed feelings about the topic.
“I think the more pertinent question is the people you are around, and this can vary by location,” Caughron told WalletHub. “If you move to Appalachia because you like hiking, are you happier because you get to hike or because you make friends with others who enjoy the same activities and lifestyle? If you move to a place that has more opportunities within your career field, is it because of the place or because you are seeing forward progress in your life goals? Probably a bit of both.”