The 10 happiest cities in America

The Golden State has some of the happiest residents in America, according to an analysis by Gallup and National Geographic, Melanie Curtin reports for Inc.

To conduct the study, researchers interviewed nearly 250,000 U.S. residents of 190 metropolitan areas about their life satisfaction (rate your life on a scale of 0 to 10), daily happiness (how many times did you laugh yesterday?), and sense of purpose (did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?).

According to the study, the happiest cities in the United States are:

  1. Boulder, CO
  2. Santa Cruz, CA
  3. Charlottesville, VA
  4. Fort Collins, CO
  5. San Luis Obispo, CA
  6. San Jose, CA
  7. Provo, UT
  8. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
  9. Barnstable, MA
  10. Anchorage, AK

California is the only state to appear three times in the top 10. Curtin attributes this to the sunny weather, which may help residents combat seasonal effects on mental health. Curtin also notes that many of the high-ranked cities offer opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Dan Buettner, an author and National Geographic fellow who worked on the analysis, has identified some surprising trends in his research on happy cities. "There's a strong correlation between quality of water and happiness. And places where people frequent their dentists report being more satisfied with their lives," he says (Curtin, Inc., 12/9; Stone, National Geographic, 10/18).

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