Mental Floss
TRAVEL

The 25 Happiest Cities in America

Michele Debczak
ferrantraite/iStock via Getty Images
ferrantraite/iStock via Getty Images / ferrantraite/iStock via Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

Happiness may be subjective, but that doesn't stop experts from trying to quantify it. We've shared reports ranking the happiest countries in the world and the happiest states in America. For an even more localized look at contentment levels, check out this list of the 25 happiest cities in the U.S.

To determine the happiest U.S. cities in 2022, WalletHub compared more than 180 of the country's biggest metros across 30 metrics. The personal finance site pulled data from sources like the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for their report. Factors like income-growth rate, weather, daily leisure time, and mental health quality were taken into consideration.

Fremont, California, sits at the top of the list, earning 77.13 out of a total possible score of 100. The city comes in 46th place in income and employment, but high scores in community and environment (where it ranks No.1) and emotional and physical well-being (ranking No.2) helped bump it to the top. It's followed by Columbia, Maryland, which also scores higher in environment and well-being than it does in employment. San Francisco—third in the overall ranking—is No.1 in the job-related category. You can view the full list of the 25 happiest cities below.

The definition of happiness may differ from person to person, but personal satisfaction is more quantifiable than you may think. Yale even teaches a course on "The Science of Well-Being" (and anyone can enroll for free online). If you're not willing to move to a new city or sign up for a class, try these science-backed ways to feel happier.

  1. Fremont, California
  2. Columbia, Maryland
  3. San Francisco, California
  4. San Jose, California
  5. Irvine, California
  6. Madison, Wisconsin
  7. Seattle, Washington
  8. Overland Park, Kansas
  9. Huntington Beach, California
  10. San Diego, California
  11. Fargo, North Dakota
  12. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  13. Bismarck, North Dakota
  14. Santa Rosa, California
  15. Santa Clarita, California
  16. Oakland, California
  17. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  18. Glendale, California
  19. Scottsdale, Arizona
  20. Anaheim, California
  21. Aurora, Illinois
  22. Plano, Texas
  23. Oxnard, California
  24. Garden Grove, California
  25. Chula Vista, California
facebooktwitterreddit