If you're unhappy where you are, you can pick up and move. Thanks to a new study, we now know where all those happy people live.
Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index asked more than 353,000 Americans to find out the happiest ... and the unhappiest cities in the United States:
"Most of our highest-scoring cities are found out West and most of our lowest-scoring cities are in the South," says research director Dan Witters. Wealthier communities typically score higher.
Residents of large cities — those with a population of 1 million or more — generally report higher levels of well-being and more optimism about the future than those in small or medium-sized cities. In small cities, at 250,000 or less, people are more likely to feel safe walking alone at night and have enough money for housing. [...]
Nine of the 10 cities that fare best on "life evaluation," assessments of life now and expectations in five years, boast a major university, a big military installation or a state Capitol — institutions that presumably provide some insulation from recession.
Overall, the top 10 cities include four in California, two in Utah and one each in Colorado and Hawaii. Of them, only the Holland, Mich., and Washington, D.C., metro areas are located in the Eastern or Central time zones.
Many of the bottom 10 are in economically embattled regions. Three are in the Alleghenies and three in the Rust Belt. Only Shreveport, La., and Modesto, Calif., are west of the Mississippi.
The 10 happiest cities are:
1. Boulder, CO
2. Holland-Grand Haven, MI
3. Honolulu, HI
4. Provo-Orem, UT
5. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA
6. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA
7. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
8. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
9. Ogden-Clearfield, UT
10. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
... and the 10 unhappiest cities are:
153. Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL
154. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC
155. Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
156. Evansville, IN-KY
157. Kingsport-Bristol, TN-VA
158. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA
159. Flint, MI
160. Charleston, WV
161. Modesto, CA
162. Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH