Where you live can play a role in how happy you are, asserts a report from WalletHub.
The personal finance blog’s annual ranking of happiest cities, released Feb. 28, named a town in California the nation’s happiest for the third year in a row.
Fremont, a city of just under 230,000 people in California’s San Francisco Bay Area, must be doing something right.
What is that something? Per the report, WalletHub examines 30 factors that play a role in a person’s happiness, including a positive mental state, healthy body, strong social connections, job satisfaction and financial well-being — taking care to note, though, that money can only do so much. According to research published in the journal PNAS in 2010, people who make at least $75,000 annually won’t achieve higher satisfaction from more money.
“Consider also the fact that while the U.S. is one of the richest countries, it ranks only 16th on the World Happiness Report,” the WalletHub report states, referencing the 2022 report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network using the Gallup World Poll data. The 2023 edition of the World Happiness Report is due out March 20.
According to the report’s methodology, WalletHub compared the 182 of largest cities in the areas of Emotional & Physical Well-being; Income & Employment and Community & Environment.
Also among those 30 factors examined by WalletHub are the city’s depression rate, the income-growth rate and even average leisure time spent per day. WalletHub assessed the 182 largest cities in the United States based on these metrics, then ranked them from happiest to unhappiest — and Fremont topped the list, as shown on WalletHub’s interactive map below.
Contributing to its happiness score is Fremont’s low depression rate (the city with the highest rate in this year’s report is Huntington, West Virginia) and low separation and divorce rate (highest this year: Cleveland).
And Fremont isn’t the only California city ranking high in happiness — two other California cities were in the top five, with San Jose, placing second and San Francisco coming in fifth. Madison, Wisconsin, and Overland Park, Kansas, round out the top five spots coming in at third and fourth, respectively.
To find out where your city ranks on the list, view the full WalletHub report here.