The Happiest and Unhappiest Cities in America

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


Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

They forgot Chicago as one of the unhappiest... I'm so proud of this city, but it just craps on me repeatedly in return. DOG EAT DOG!!!
1)Jobs are extremely rare to come by and employers are happy to fire you at the drop of a hat just for fun.
2)Highest sales tax in the country
3)The city squeezes every dime out of you possible for revenue (state is broke. Ridiculous procedures for everything with very little reward (heaven help you if you ever have to deal with building inspectors).
4)The most surely and lazy post office customer service and transit workers you've ever seen. And they're all fat!!!
5)Oppressive winters that last 8 full months.
6)Overpaid and corrupt, machine politicians run the joint and there's nothing you can do about it.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I grew up in a small town in northern MI and have since lived in the Detroit suburbs for almost 10 years. I have also spent quite a bit of time in west MI and many cities in the midwest. I can say with conviction that southeast MI has some of the most unhappy, stressed out, self-absorbed and immature people in the country. Certainly the auto industry implosion shoulders a big part of the blame. Chicago folks are friendly by comparison. I agree that west MI culture is far more open and friendly. The lay of the land is really nice (mix of forests, plains, rivers, fruit tree orchards, dunes), and of course the beauty of Lake MI is hard to ignore. It's for these reasons and more that I'm selling my place in Oakland County and moving to Ottawa County.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I live in Michigan. Traverse City to be exact. It's a tourist town, but I hate living here. The water is beautiful! The people however, not so much. For the past few years I've been traveling to find somewhere to move. I really don't like snow, small amount are fine, but not a lot. I love the water. If you have any suggestions of a great place with awesome people, please let me know!
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I, also, live in the Huntington area. I have no indication to tell that the area is one of the unhappiest in the nation. I mean, I feel as if I don't say to someone "Hello, how are you doing?", that I am being very rude. I enjoy the area, the milder weather, and we are not unhappy whatsoever.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"The Happiest and Unhappiest Cities in America"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More