Did your hometown make the list?
You might want to pack a pair of skis and head west for your next vacation. According to a Gallup study conducted in collaboration with National Geographic Explorer and best-selling author Dan Buettner, Boulder, Colorado tops the list of the best cities in the United States.
The study analyzed information from nearly 250,000 interviews with adults from 2014 to 2015 in 190 metropolitan areas in the U.S. Among the 15 metrics reviewed were eating habits, vacation time, and financial security. Boulder’s access to outdoorsy activities, its highly active population, and low obesity rates made it worthy of the No. 1 slot.
“There’s a high correlation between bikeability and happiness in a city,” Buettner said, explaining Boulder’s rank. “This benefits visitors, who can experience an emphasis on greenery, a high-quality culinary community, limited marketing onslaught, and no billboards.”
The other four cities rounding out the top five are the Santa Cruz-Watsonville area in California, Charlottesville, Virginia, Fort Collins, Colorado, and San Luis Obispo, California, respectively. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the study concluded that Charleston, West Virginia, Fort Smith, Arkansas, and the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area in North Carolina are the least happy places in the country.
“My findings indicate that if you want to get happy, don’t try to change your belief system,” Buettner said. “Change your environment.”
Check out the entire list of 25 happiest cities in the U.S.:
- Boulder, Colorado
- Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
- Charlottesville, Virginia
- Fort Collins, Colorado
- San Luis Obispo, California
- San Jose, California
- Provo, Utah
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
- Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island Florida
- Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California
- Salinas, California
- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Ann Arbor, Michigan
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire
- Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, District of Columbia/Virginia
- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota/Wisconsin
- San Diego-Carlsbad, California
- Portland, Maine
- Austin, Texas