The Surprising Factors that Make these Cities the Happiest in America

Here are the top 20 happiest cities in America, according to WalletHub // Photo credit: oneinchpunch/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Members within the spa and wellness industry are certainly aware that wellness encompasses more than just physical wellbeing. Some might argue that mental health and wellness is just as important, if not more important, than being physically fit. Just as a number of factors influence ones physical wellbeing, a number of factors influence mental wellbeing as well. In honor of the upcoming International Day of Happiness on March 20, the personal finance site WalletHub conducted a recent study on 2018's happiest cities in America. In order to determine which areas are home to citizens who are most content with their lives, WalletHub compared 28 different factors from more than 180 of the largest cities across the U.S., including depression rate to income-growth rate to average leisure time spent per day, and more.

Check out the findings below on the top 20 happiest cities in America – are you surprised by who made the list?

Top 20 Happiest Cities in America




Fremont, CA



Madison, WI



Bismarck, ND



Columbia, MD



San Jose, CA



San Francisco, CA



Pearl City, HI



Scottsdale, AZ



Plano, TX



Overland Park, KS



Fargo, ND



Santa Clarita, CA



Sioux Falls, SD



Glendale, CA



Irvine, CA



Oakland, CA



Huntington Beach, CA



St. Paul, MN



Grand Prairie, TX



Gilbert, AZ


Key Stats


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  • El Paso, TX has the lowest depression rate, 10.3 percent, which is 2.9 times lower than in Salem, OR, the city with the highest at 29.6 percent. 
  • Laredo, TX, has the lowest number of suicides per 100,000 residents, 5.26, which is 5.5 times lower than in Missoula, MT, the city with the highest at 29.18. 
  • Fremont, CA, has the lowest separation and divorce rate, 16.52 percent, which is 2.9 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest at 47.65 percent.
  • Overland Park, KS has the lowest adequate-sleep rate, 26.4 percent, which is 1.9 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest at 50.8 percent.       
  • Cheyenne, WY, has the lowest average commute time, 14.6 minutes, which is 2.8 times lower than in New York, the city with the highest at 40.3 minutes.

Other questions asked during the study included:

  1. To what extent is the current political climate affecting the happiness of Americans?
  2. What tips do you have for someone who is unhappy with his or her career?
  3. Does an individual’s happiness increase or decrease with age?
  4. How much does where you live influence your happiness?
  5. Can money buy happiness?
  6. Do Americans place too much importance on happiness?

For the full data set for specific cities, as well as the full report, visit the WalletHub study online.


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