If your quest for happiness remains elusive, it may be time to pack up and move to Boulder, Colorado, which was just named National Geographic’s happiest city in the United States.
Developed by NatGeo, pollster Gallup and Dan Buettner, author of the New York Times best-selling book “The Blue Zones of Happiness”, the index measures a population’s happiness based on a set of 15 metrics.
After examining everything from civic engagement, walkability, healthy food options, financial security, vacation time and even dental check-ups, the city at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains was given the auspicious title of being America’s happiest city.
“Bolstered by a sense of community, access to nature, sustainable urban development and preservation policies, and perhaps even that clean mountain air, Boulderites overwhelmingly feel ‘active and productive every day,'” reads the report.
Boulder’s lifestyle statistics are impressive. Per capita, more people walk to work in Boulder than in any other city in the U.S. The city, population 103,000, boasts some of the lowest rates of smoking and obesity in the U.S. and some of the highest rates of exercise.
Another fun fact: The city enjoys an average of 300 days of sun a year. But like other parts of the country, Boulder is not completely immune to the realities of everyday life, as nearly half (49 percent) of locals reported feeling stress in their lives.
Rounding out the top three spots on the happiness index are Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA, and Charlottesville, VA.
Overall, the cities with the happiest populations share a few common denominators, notes Buettner.
Locals smile and laugh more often, socialize several hours a day, have access to green spaces, and feel that they are making purposeful progress toward achieving life goals.
Meanwhile, those who are prone to depression would do well to avoid Charleston, West Virginia; Fort Smith, Arkansas; and Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, North Carolina; all of which landed at the bottom of the list as America’s least happy cities.
The index is based on the responses of more than 250,000 adults from 190 metropolitan areas across the U.S., who were interviewed between 2014 to 2015.
Here’s the happy top ten:
1. Boulder, CO
2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
3. Charlottesville, VA
4. Fort Collins, CO
5. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA
6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
7. Provo-Orem, UT
8. Bridgeport-Stamford, CT
9. Barnstable Town, MA
10. Anchorage, AK
For the full list, check out this link. JB