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10 Happiest Cities in America

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10 Happiest Cities in America

What does it take to be America’s happiest city? Images of frolicking dogs, chirping bluebirds, and pie on every window sill come to mind, but when the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index set out to determine this elusive answer they used measures other than those from a Norman Rockwell illustration.

Based on the results of telephone surveys with a random sample of 352,840 adults, compilers of the index asked numerous questions about six sub-indexes: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The overall score and each of the six sub-index scores were calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents the ideal.

To determine how to include which cities, they used the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. In many cases, more than one city is included in the same MSA. Areas in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia were included.

Here are the overall rankings for all cities in the country–number 1 being deemed the best for well being. (Ranking by large, medium, and small city follows.)

Next: The 10 Happiest Cities: Overall Ranking (cities of all sizes).

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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12:49PM PDT on Mar 29, 2014

What is it with the east that makes people miserable? Hmmmm...
I love living in San Jose :) Weather is perfect, and it's not as expensive as other parts of Cali!
I pay $900/month for rent for a one bedroom in a nice area.
I pay $25/month to fill up my Prius (thanks Toyota! thanks GasBuddy app)
I pay $25/month for car insurance (from 4AutoInsuranceQuote)
I pay $50/month for cable/internet.
Apart from that.. food is pretty cheap too... much more so than when I lived in NYC.
San Jose can't be beat :)

4:27PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

A good friend living in Lincoln, NE was shocked - she didn't realize how happy she was!

7:09PM PST on Dec 3, 2011


4:51AM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

I visited Honolulu Hawaii, during my teens, I loved it. Brings back good memories. I actually had a chance to travel with my family across the whole U.S.A , I guess I was happy all the time. Beautiful landscapes, sightseeing. Lived in San Francisco, beautiful city with even more beautiful people; once went to a small city Carmel and I just fell in love with it. Good article, thank you.

1:54AM PDT on Oct 14, 2011

i wanna move

8:09AM PDT on Aug 25, 2011


5:27AM PDT on Jul 26, 2011


6:14PM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

Why do I have to click through 14 pages to complete this article. Surely there has to be a better way to do do things.

10:55AM PDT on Jul 21, 2011

Notice Los Angeles was not on the list................LOL

8:09PM PDT on Jul 17, 2011

Utah really? I can completely see any where in Hawaii being awesome.

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Wow! Thorough and welcome article. Let's all volunteer somewhere this week.

Thank you for sharing:)


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