Life is good

This upbeat Dallas suburb is one of the happiest cities in America in 2020

Upbeat Dallas suburb is one of the happiest cities in America in 2020

Plano, dad, Father's Day, kids
The city has earned a reputation as a great place for families. City of Plano/Facebook

Residents of Plano have plenty to smile about. Their city ranks second on a new list of the happiest cities in the country.

In a study released March 9, personal finance website WalletHub looks at 30 happiness-related metrics for 182 U.S. cities — the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state.

The study places data into three buckets: emotional and physical well-being, income and employment, and community and environment. Plano’s best showing among those three is a No. 6 ranking in the category of emotional and physical well-being. It grabs the No. 9 spot for income and employment, and the No. 16 spot for community and environment.

Plano performs particularly well on one metric: No. 5 for the lowest separation and divorce rate.

On its website, the Plano Chamber of Commerce boasts that the city “has earned a national reputation as one of the best places in the United States for families to live and work.”

For Plano, there is one thing to be a tiny bit sad about in this year’s WalletHub ranking. In the 2019 happiest-cities study, Plano sat atop the list. This year’s No. 1 is Fremont, California, a San Francisco suburb. In 2018, Plano ranked fifth.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez says the methodology for the study was changed this year, meaning an apples-to-apples comparison shouldn’t be made between the 2019 and 2020 rankings.

“However, the second happiest city is still a great place to be. Plano’s top marks this year include a low depression rate, and the smallest percentage of adults who are limited in their activities because of illness or disability,” Gonzalez says. “In terms of income and employment, almost 60 percent of households in Plano earn annual incomes above $75,000, and the poverty and unemployment rates are some of the lowest in the country.”

Here’s how other large cities in Dallas-Fort Worth rank this year:

  • Grand Prairie, No. 27
  • Irving, No. 35
  • Garland, No. 43
  • Fort Worth, No. 60
  • Arlington, No. 61
  • Dallas, No. 76

Aside from Dallas and Fort Worth, here’s how the state’s largest cities rank:

  • Austin, No. 22
  • San Antonio, No. 110
  • Houston, No. 111