These are the happiest cities in the US

Aerial view of a residential neighborhood on a sunny day, Fremont, east San Francisco bay area, California
Aerial view of a residential neighborhood on a sunny day, Fremont, east San Francisco bay area, California. Photo credit Getty Images
By , Audacy

There are many factors that go into what makes any individual happy, and where they live is certainly one of them.

This Tuesday, WalletHub released a list of the happiest – and least happy – cities in the U.S. Fremont, Calif., made it to the top spot and Detroit, Mich., landed in the bottom spot at 182.

“In order to determine where people in America are most content with their lives, WalletHub compared more than 180 of the largest U.S. cities across 30 key indicators of happiness,” said the personal finance website. “The data set ranges from depression rate to income-growth rate to average leisure time spent per day.”

Here’s the top 10 list of happiest cities in the nation, according to the analysis:

1. Fremont, Calif.

2. San Jose, Calif.

3. Madison, Wisc.

4. Overland Park, Kan.

5. San Francisco, Calif.

6. Irvine, Calif.

7. Columbia, Md.

8. Sioux Falls, S.D.

9. South Burlington, Vt.

10. Burlington, Vt.

“Fremont, Calif., has the lowest depression rate, 11.9%, which is 2.5 times lower than in Huntington, W.V., the city with the highest at 30.1%,” said WalletHub of the top placed city. It also had the lowest separation and divorce rate.

“South Burlington, Vt., has the lowest share of adults sleeping less than seven hours per night, 24%, which is 1.9 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest at 45.9% percent,” said the report.

These are the 10 cities that were at the bottom of WalletHub’s list:

182. Detroit, Mich.

181. Huntington, W.V.

180. Shreveport, La.

179. Cleveland, Ohio

178. Montgomery, Ala.

177. Memphis, Tenn.

176. Augusta, Ga.

175. Jackson, Miss.

174. Columbus, Ga.

173. Gulfport, Miss.

A survey from the American Psychological Association for 2022 found that 76% of U.S. adults said that the “future of our nation is a significant source of stress in their lives,” and, according to the 2022 World Happiness Report, “worry and stress have risen – by 8% in 2020 and 4% in 2021 compared with pre-pandemic levels.”

An updated World Happiness Report is set to come out next month.

How much can the place where someone lives actually impact their happiness?

“A lot!” according to Stacey N. Doan, director of the Berger Institute for Individual and Social Development at Claremont McKenna College.
“Some places are just happiness-inducing places, with lots of sunlight, nature, and culture. However, recent research suggests also that it is not about the place, but the match between the place and who you are as a person! If your values are more in line with the values of the culture of that town, or neighborhood, you are more likely to be happy.”

Sherry Hamby, distinguished research professor of psychology at the University of the South and director of Life Paths Research Center said that while location makes a difference, “where you live probably is not as big a factor as personal and family influences on any one person’s happiness.”

Dev Dalal, associate professor of psychology at the University at Albany also said there “is evidence for certain geographic areas, labeled by some as Blue Zones of Happiness, wherein residents tend to happier, on average, than residents of other areas.”

“The most important variable in [the] happiness recipe, the ingredient with the most statistical variability, is where you live,” according to Dan Buettner, author of “The Blue Zones of Happiness” book. “If you live in an unhappy place, the best thing you can do is move to a happier place.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images