March 20 is the International Day of Happiness
. The event was founded by United Nations adviser Jayme Illien on June 28, 2012, when all 193 member states of the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted UN resolution 66/281. As to what ‘happiness’ is, there are various definitions and psychologists are unlikely to agree on one set of values. One dictionary definition
, which seems to work as well as any other, is: “happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.”
To mark the global day of happiness, the website WalletHub
(which specializes in personal finance) has released a report which shows the happiest places to live in the U.S. The focus was on the 150 largest cities in the U.S. and 30 key indicators of happiness were used for the measures. These measures extended to reported rates of depression to average leisure time per day. Added to this were factors like income growth rates.
The outcome was that the 20 happiest places to live are:
1. Fremont, CA
2. San Jose, CA
3. Irvine, CA
4. San Francisco, CA
5. Sioux Falls, SD
6. Huntington Beach, CA
7. San Diego, CA
8. Oakland, CA
9. Santa Rosa, CA
10. Washington, DC
And conversely the least happy places to live are:
1. Chula Vista, CA
2. Santa Clarita, CA
3. Scottsdale, AZ
4. Garden Grove, CA
5. Madison, WI
6. Gilbert, AZ
7. Overland Park, KS
8. Anaheim, CA
9. Plano, TX
10. Glendale, CA
Of the 150 cities reviewed there are some interesting variances. Los Angeles was found to have the lowest depression rate at around 10 percent. This is 2.5 times lower than in Portland, Ore. Another measure was suicide rate. Here Brownsville, Texas, recorded the lowest number of suicides per 100,000 residents at just over five. This is 5.3 times lower than in Anchorage, Alaska. This city has the highest level at around 26 per 100,000 people.
Looking at other health statistics, Washington reports the lowest share of adults who have suffered from a heart attack (just over 2 percent of the population). The city with the highest levels is Knoxville, Tenn., at close to 7 percent.
Selecting one final measure – divorce rates. Fremont, Calif. has the lowest separation and divorce rate at around 18 percent. The city with the greatest chance of couples separating is Detroit at a whopping 47 percent.