12 Mar Forbes: 20 Happiest And 20 Unhappiest Cities In America
By Laura Begley Bloom
Does money buy happiness? The personal-finance website WalletHub has released its annual ranking of the happiest cities in America in an attempt to see if it does.
WalletHub compared more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities using 31 key indicators of happiness, including income-growth rate, depression rate, average leisure time spent per day and more. “The main aim of the report was to find out whether money can really buy happiness,” says WalletHub analyst, Jill Gonzalez. “We also wanted to see what combination of factors help people to achieve happiness.”
And the happiest city in America is…drumroll, please…Plano, Texas. “Plano is the happiest city in the U.S. because it has one of the lowest depression rates at 14%, and the smallest share of adults (13%) whose physical, mental or emotional problems affect their personal happiness,” says Gonzalez. Additionally, Plano has one of the lowest poverty rates in the country (7%) and the lowest unemployment rate (3%). “Another indicator of Plano’s residents’ happiness is its low separation and divorce rate,” says Gonzalez.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is Detroit, which came in last on the list. “The city has the lowest share of households earning annual incomes above $75,000 (less than 14%), the highest poverty rate (almost 38%) and the third highest unemployment rate (at just above 8%),” says Gonzalez. “Moreover, Detroit has the highest separation and divorce rate in the country (47%).”
The state that appeared the most time in the top 10 list is California, with eight cities — from Irvine to San Diego — making the cut.
Some other notable stats:
Miami, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale and Pembroke Pines, Florida, all have the lowest depression rate (12.5%), which is 2.3 times lower than in Charleston, West Virginia, the city with the highest depression rate (28.9%).
Boston has the lowest number of suicides at 4.48 per 100,000 residents — which is 6.9 times lower than in Juneau, Alaska, the city with the highest number, at 30.83 per 100,000 residents.
Fremont, California, has the lowest separation and divorce rate (15.96%), which is three times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest (47.44%).
Cheyenne, Wyoming, has the lowest average commute time, 14 minutes, which is 2.9 times lower than in New York, the city with the highest at 40.8 minutes.
Read on for the list of the 20 happiest and the 20 unhappiest cities in America, as well as the fewest work hours and the highest income growth. You can see the full list and the methodology here.
Top 20 Happiest Cities in America
- Plano, Texas
- Irvine, California
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Fremont, California
- Huntington Beach, California
- Fargo, North Dakota
- Grand Prairie, Texas
- San Jose, California
- Scottsdale, Arizona
- San Francisco, California
- Bismarck, North Dakota
- Overland Park, Kansas
- Santa Rosa, California
- Austin, Texas
- Sioux Falls, South Dakota
- Pearl City, Hawaii
- Glendale, California
- San Diego, California
- St. Paul, Minnesota
- Charleston, South Carolina