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article imageStudy: Happiest cities in the U.S. revealed

By Tim Sandle     Mar 12, 2019 in Lifestyle
‘Happy’ is a subjective concept, but there are factors that can combine to improve quality of live. To mark the forthcoming International Day of Happiness (March 20), WalletHub have released a new study.
Part of the study’s remit set out to explore the question as to whether money does or does not buy happiness. This question and others are addressed in WalletHub’s report on 2019’s “Happiest Cities in America”.
To gather the data, WalletHub compared and contrasted over 180 of the largest U.S. cities and accounted for 31 key indicators of ‘happiness’. The types of factors explored included depression rates to income-growth rate; and to lifestyle issues like the amount of leisure time per day.
The survey produced a ranking of the 180 cities, with the top ten being:
Plano, TX
Irvine, CA
Madison, WI
Fremont, CA
Huntington Beach, CA
Fargo, ND
Grand Prairie, TX
San Jose, CA
Scottsdale, AZ
San Francisco, CA
The next ten were: Bismarck, ND; Overland Park, KS; Santa Rosa, CA; Austin, TX; Sioux Falls, SD; Pearl City, HI; Glendale, CA; San Diego, CA; St. Paul, MN; and Charleston, SC.
While the top ten reflects overall happiness, there were some key variations within the 180 cities. In terms of cities having the lowest rates of depression, these were identified as: Miami, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale and Pembroke Pines, Florida. These cities scored rates of depression among the general populace of 12.50 percent. These levels stand as 2.3 times lower than in Charleston, West Virginia, which is the city with the highest rate of depression, at 28.90 percent.
Another measure was the suicide rate. Boston records the lowest number of suicides per 100,000 residents, at 4.48. This was 6.9 times lower than in Juneau, Alaska, where the city recorded the highest level at 30.83.
In terms of couples, Fremont, California, was found to have the lowest separation and divorce rate at around 16 percent. This stands at three times lower than in Detroit, which records the highest rate for couples splitting, at 47 percent.
A further measure was sleep quality. Overland Park, Kansas was found to have the lowest share of adults sleeping less than 7 hours per night at 26 percent. This stands at two times lower than in Detroit, where the highest proportion have seven hours or more sleep per night, at 50.10 percent.
Further happiness facts are contained in the following video:
To answer the money question, it was found there is a certain level of earnings that is proportionate with happiness. However, money can only make you so happy. The study revealed that people who make $75,000 a year will not get any higher satisfaction from acquiring more money.
According to Dr. Kristin Horan, from the Department of Psychology, University of Central Florida: “The relationship between wealth and happiness is a complex one, but overall it suggests that money cannot buy happiness. The wealth of your nation matters, but personal wealth does not predict happiness. More importantly, those who are more focused on money tend to be unhappier. Money matters up to a certain point – having your basic needs met – but after that, it does not result in greater happiness.”
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