Forget New York City, LA, and even San Francisco – Fremont, California, takes the top spot as the happiest city in the US according to a recent study.
What makes Fremont so special – and should we start browsing property there right away?
Fremont is the happiest city in the USA
The study (opens in new tab) was conducted by the personal finance website MyWalletHub. It scored over 180 US cities across all the states against 31 key criteria ranging from economic security and wage growth to emotional wellbeing, state of the environment, and divorce rates.
Rather than assuming that money guarantees happiness, the study opted for a more balanced approach similar to those used by exercises such as the World Happiness Report (opens in new tab) that try to get close to how people actually feel living somewhere.
Fremont, a mid-sized Bay Area town of about 240,000 residents, proved this point as it didn't score the highest for economic or wage growth. San Francisco will make you richer quicker (it ranked first for income growth), but it ranked only 13th overall in the happiness rankings. You'll earn more in Burlington (top for employment and pay), but it ranked even lower, at 15.
Fremont came 46th for income and employment, but it came in a solid first in the 'Emotional and Physical Wellbeing' category, and fifth in the 'Community and Environment' category. Impressively, this fast-growing city also ranked the lowest for the rate of economic depression and had the lowest divorce rates in the country.
This combination of factors is what gave it the edge over several other Californian cities such as San Jose. San Jose came a close second in emotional and physical wellbeing, but a distant 75th for environmental factors.
When explaining the study's ranking, WalletHub's Andrew McCann seconded many happiness researchers who have been saying for years that money, past a certain threshold, really doesn't bring you happiness. 'People who make $75,000 a year won't get any higher satisfaction from more money,' he explains.
'Consider also the fact that while the U.S. is one of the richest countries, it ranks only 18th on the World Happiness Report. But not everywhere in the U.S. experiences a uniform level of happiness. As this study aims to illustrate, moving to a certain city may help you be more content.'
Emotional wellbeing, strong ties with your community, and a protected environment – Fremont has nailed it.