Photo: Jacob Boomsma (Shutterstock)
Over the last decade, the World Happiness Report has ranked countries based on factors like perceptions of corruption, GDP per capita, social support, life expectancy, and freedom to make life choices. Finland has come out on top for the past five years. Meanwhile, the United States achieved its highest ranking—11th—in 2012, the first year the report was published.
Since then, it has hovered in the mid-to-high teens, landing in the 16th spot in the most recent report, which came out in 2022. Of course, there are some caveats to consider with a report like that, including the fact that the United States is a large, diverse country, which makes it difficult to lump all of its people and places together.
If you’ve ever wondered which American cities are the happiest in the country, you may be interested in a new report which ranked U.S. metro areas based on factors thought to contribute to happiness. Here’s what to know.
What makes a happy city?
So how, exactly, did WalletHub rank America’s happiest cities? The team started with the 150 most populated U.S. cities, then added at least two of the largest cities in each state.
Ultimately, they ended up with a list of 182 cities, which the team compared across three key dimensions: 1) Emotional and physical well-being, 2) income and employment, and 3) community and environment. You can find their full methodology in the report.
The happiest cities in America
Using the criteria above, the team at WalletHub determined that the following 10 cities are the happiest in the United States:
1. Fremont, CA
2. San Jose, CA
3. Madison, WI
4. Overland Park, KS
5. San Francisco, CA
6. Irvine, CA
7. Columbia, MD
8. Sioux Falls, SD
9. South Burlington, VT
10. Burlington, VT
The full ranking of all 182 cities is available here, as well as experts’ insights on the report’s findings.