Folks in two Dallas suburbs put on a happy face — and mean it. Plano and Grand Prairie rank among the top 10 happiest cities in America, a new analysis shows.
The study, conducted by WalletHub, compared 182 of the largest cities to determine the happiest places in the U.S. Researchers drew upon various findings of positive-psychology research and analyzed 28 indicators of happiness, ranging from depression rate to income-growth rate to average leisure time spent per day.
Plano came in at No. 5, and Grand Prairie, at No. 10.
Both cities scored high in three important areas: emotional and physical well-being; income and employment; and community and environment. Plano had the fourth lowest separation and divorce rate, as well, the study showed.
They were the only Texas cities to break into the top 20. Others that made the list were:
- Austin (No. 21)
- Irving (No. 25)
- Garland (No. 30)
- Fort Worth (No. 39)
- El Paso (No. 46)
- Brownsville (No. 47)
- Arlington (No. 50)
- Dallas (No. 81)
- Amarillo (No. 92)
- Laredo (No. 93)
- San Antonio (No. 94)
- Houston (No. 113)
- Lubbock (No. 130)
- Corpus Christi (No. 138)
Interestingly, El Paso had the lowest depression rate, 10.3 percent, which is 2.9 times lower than in Salem, Oregon, the city with the highest at 29.6 percent. Another Texas city, Laredo, had the lowest number of suicides per 100,000 residents, 5.26, which is 5.5 times lower than in Missoula, Montana, the city with the highest at 29.18.
The happiest city in the U.S. is Fremont, California, the rankings showed, while Detroit came in last, at No. 182.
But, researchers stress, the factors that make someone happy or unhappy in their community often correlate with their own values.
"There are many factors that influence happiness and life satisfaction, and where you live is one of them," researcher Jonathan H. Westover says on the WalletHub site. "This usually connects with life stage and what the individual/family is looking for, but generally speaking, people are happier when they live in places with good schools, low crime, a strong economy, and a strong connection with nature and the surrounding environment."