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Study Finds Orange County Cities are Among the Happiest in the Country

According to a recent survey, Orange County residents are among the happiest in the country. And who can blame them? With so many great attractions, including Disneyland, located in the area combined with the beautiful weather, the wonderful people, the excellent services for residents and the beautiful beaches, there is a lot to smile about in Orange County.

Finding the Happiest Cities in the Country

In an effort to identify the happiest cities in the country, WalletHub recently conducted a survey that ranked the 150 most populous municipalities based on a variety of data. Factors that were taken into consideration included emotional and physical well-being, community, environment, income and employment. Some of the detailed criteria taken under consideration included depression and suicide rates, life expectancy, sports participation, obesity, income growth, poverty, population increases, commute times, weather, separation and divorce, and acres of parkland.

The data was collected from a variety of different sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Feeding America, The Trust for Public Land and Prevention, and Tripadvisor.

The Results

Once all of the information was tallied, researchers at WalletHub found that a number of California cities rated at the top of the list. In fact, eight out of the top 10 cities and 13 of the first 20 on the list were cities in California. Among these were:

• Fremont (1st)
• San Jose (2nd)
• Irvine (3rd)
• San Francisco (4th)
• Huntington Beach (6th)
• San Diego (7th)
• Chula Visa (11th)
• Santa Clarita (12th)
• Garden Grove (14th)
• Anaheim (18th)
• Glendale (20th)

Sioux Falls, South Dakota took the number 5 position.

While Los Angeles didn’t make the top 20 of the list, the study noted that the city actually has the lowest depression rate at 9.99 percent. Conversely, Portland had the highest depression rate at 24.62 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum, the “most unhappy” cities in the country included Detroit, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; Augusta, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; and Toledo, Ohio.

Other Findings

When looking at specific areas that were used to measure happiness, California had several top cities within many of them. Among the cities with the lowest obesity rates, for example, the following cities were listed in the top five:

• Irvine, California
• Fremont, California
• San Francisco, California
• Huntington Beach, California
• Denver, Colorado

California also did well when examining divorce rates, with the top five cities with the lowest divorce rates being:

• Fremont, California
• Gilbert, Arizona
• Plano, Texas
• Overland Parks, Kansas
• Irvine, California

Interestingly, the researchers also found that wealth does, indeed, affect happiness. Yet, while wealth does follow happiness, it only seems to do so for incomes up to $75,000 per year. After reaching this point, income does not seem to have any more influence on whether or not a person is happy with life. Instead, key ingredients include healthy physique, positive mental state, job satisfaction and strong social connections.

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