Happy days are here
2 Dallas suburbs shine merry and bright among America's happiest cities, study says
Things are looking especially merry in Frisco and Plano, home to some of the happiest people in the U.S., according to a new study.
The two Texas cities land near the top of a new study by SmartAsset that ranks the top 50 places where Americans are happiest in 2022. Frisco comes in at No. 5, and Plano, at No. 6.
The study analyzes the 200 largest cities by comparing 13 different metrics across three categories: personal finance, well-being and quality of life.
"Research shows that in some cases, money does lead to happiness," the report says. "In fact, a 2021 University of Pennsylvania study found a correlation between happiness and income growth, even past an annual income of $80,000. This is in contrast to previous research that found happiness stagnated after an individual earned $75,000. However, not all places can offer the same level of happiness, as some cities offer more economic opportunities and a better quality of life than others."
Six California cities dominated the top 10, and Frisco and Plano were the only Texas cities that made it in. Austin ranked a little further down the list, at No. 20.
To conduct their study, SmartAsset analyzed four metrics relating to the category of personal finances. The metrics included the percentage of individuals earning $100,000 or more annually, the cost of living as a percentage of income, personal bankruptcy filings, and down payment-to-income ratios.
To research each cities’ level of well-being, SmartAsset studied the percentage of reported poor mental health days, life expectancy rates, percentage of reported physical inactivity, and percentage of adults with health insurance.
The cities’ quality of life was calculated based on the percentage of adults living below the poverty level, marriage rates, average commute time, violent crime rates, and the concentration of restaurants, bars and entertainment establishments within each city.
In the study, the happiest cities all hold similarly high marriage rates. Residents who have tied the knot make up the majority of the population in all but one of the top-10 cities: Arlington, Virginia. Of those cities, Frisco has the highest marriage rate at 62.6 percent, according to the study.
In addition to the No. 1 marriage rate, Frisco has the lowest percentage of residents living below the poverty level, at 2.5 precent. It also ranks second for typical living costs compared to the median household income (29.55 percent). With a violent crime rate of about 86 crimes per 100,000 residents, it makes sense why this city scored a top-five ranking.
No. 6-ranked Plano has the fourth highest marriage rate at 56.9 percent and the 10th lowest violent crime rate with about 155 for every 100,000 residents. Over a third of the population earns $100,000 or more annually, and the typical cost of living expenses account for 40.43 percent of the median household income.
This isn’t Plano’s first time in the happy-and-bright spotlight this year. In March, personal finance website WalletHub ranked Plano as the happiest city in Texas and the 22nd happiest city in the U.S.
In the SmartAsset study's ranking index, Austin scored 88.75 out of 100 for Personal Finance, 76.87 for Well-Being, and 49.35 for Quality of Life.
Sunnyvale, California was deemed the happiest place in America for 2022.
To learn more about America’s happiest cities, view the SmartAsset study here.