These Are the Happiest Cities in America Right Now

Ummm... time to move?

Madison, WI | Shutterstock
Madison, WI | Shutterstock

There's no one size fits allkey to happiness. It varies person to person. Maybe your version is as simple as a fat slice of pizza and tall glass of cabernet, or maybe the whole fitness thing gets that serotonin flowing. There's one thing, however, that seems to be a pretty big factor across the board: where you live.

Personal finance site WalletHub analyzed more than 180 of the country's largest cities across 31 "indicators of happiness"—including depression rates, income growth, and leisure time. And as it turns out, you may want to pack your bags and head to Fremont, California or Madison, Wisconsin if you're looking for a change.

"Not everywhere in the US experiences a uniform level of happiness," WalletHub wrote in a blog post. "As this study aims to illustrate, moving to a certain city may help you be more content."

Here are the top 20 happiest cities in the US in 2021: 

1. Fremont, CA 
2. Bismarck, ND
3. Fargo, ND
4. Madison, WI
5. San Jose, CA
6. South Burlington, VT 
7. Lincoln, NE 
8. Columbia, MD
9. Cedar Rapids, IA 
10. Santa Rosa, CA 
11. Sioux Falls, SD
12. Irvine, CA 
13. San Francisco, CA 
14. Pearl City, HI
15. Burlington, VT 
16. Minneapolis, MN 
17. Plano, TX 
18. Charleston, SC 
19. Rapid City, SD
20. Seattle, WA 

So, what exactly earned these destinations a spot among the happiest cities? For starters, San Francisco, Oakland, and Fremont all had incredibly low depression rates—in fact, they were was 2.9 times lower than Billings, Montana which fell towards the bottom of the ranking. Jersey City had the lowest suicide deaths, Fremont again recorded the lowest separation and divorce rates, and Cheyenne, Wyoming had the lowest average commute times—certainly a major perk when you're talking to a New Yorker.

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.