(NEXSTAR) – Happiness doesn’t grow on trees, but it may be a little easier to come by in some cities, a new study has found.
Reviewing federal and local government data across 13 metrics based on personal finances, well-being, and quality of life, SmartAsset ranked nearly 165 of the nation’s largest cities to find where Americans are happiest.
Virginia Beach landed in the top 25, at number 22, based largely on quality of life, ranking second in that category with a score of 97.01 out of 100. Sunnyvale, one of six California cities landing in the top 10, was the highest-ranked city.
SmartAsset found the top 10 California cities overall had lower percentages of people living in poverty, higher marriage rates, and lower violent crime rates. Virginia Beach had the second-lowest percentage in those areas.
Virginia Beach had a personal finance score of 54.81 and a well-being score of 59.61, in the lower tier top 40 ranked cities
Two Texas cities also found their way into the top 10.
Overall, the top 10 happiest cities are also home to high marriage rates. In all but one – Arlington, Virginia – married residents make up the majority of the population.
Here are the 10 places where Americans are happiest, according to SmartAsset’s findings:
- Sunnyvale, California
- Arlington, Virginia
- Bellevue, Washington
- Fremont, California
- Frisco, Texas
- Plano, Texas
- Roseville, California
- San Jose, California
- Santa Clarita, California
- Irvine, California
Frisco had the highest personal finance score, which is based on the percentage of individuals earning $100,000 or more, cost of living as a percent of income, personal bankruptcy filings, and down payment to income ratio. Among the top 50 cities in SmartAsset’s rankings, Chula Vista, California, had the lowest score in this category.
Another California city, San Francisco, ranked highest for well-being, which was calculated based on the percent of the population reporting poor mental health days, life expectancy, physical activity rate, and percent of adults with health insurance. Henderson, Nevada had the lowest ranking.
Sunnyvale wasn’t only the happiest city but the place with the highest quality of life score. SmartAsset based this metric on the percentage of adults living below poverty level, marriage rates, commute times, the concentration of entertainment and food venues, and the violent crime rate. In this category, Minneapolis ranked the lowest.
Americans aren’t happiest everywhere, of course. According to SmartAsset, Birmingham, Alabama was the least happy place based on the metrics reviewed in the study. It scored poorly in multiple metrics, including personal bankruptcy filings per capita, life expectancy, and the percentage of residents living in poverty.
Newark, New Jersey, and Memphis, Tennessee were found to be the second and third least happy cities.
Cities from 19 states ranked among the 50 happiest places in America, as well as Washington, D.C. California dominated the list, with 17 of its cities ranking among the top 50, followed by Colorado, which had four cities in the top 50.
You can see SmartAsset’s full rankings here.