Top 10 Happiest Cities in the US
By Katherine Wernet
The pursuit of happiness is something so critical in America that Thomas Jefferson spelled it out as an "unalienable" right in the Declaration of Independence (and Will Smith would later star in a movie all about it). Recently, we asked ourselves: what does happiness in America look like 244 years after Jefferson penned the famous phrase?
We ranked the top 50 cities as part of the 2020 Mindbody Wellness Index. So, where's it all happy-ning? Here are the top ten happiest cities.
1. Miami, FL
The healthiest city in America is also the happiest. Sixty-six percent of Miami residents say they feel happy most of the time. In our 2020 Fitness Trends in America report, we saw that, on average, Americans who choose group workouts (like fitness classes or running groups) report feeling happier. Fifty-two percent of Miami residents work out at least once a week in a class or group setting—more than any other city in the US. Miami also has the highest percentage of residents who say they enjoy their work or day-to-day activities. Everything is "working" (and "working out") in Miami's favor.
2. Washington, DC
The nation's capital is nearly the happiness capital, coming in second place just after Miami. What makes Washington so special? DC residents say they regularly engage in creative and mentally stimulating activities—more than any other city. Washington, DC also has the highest percentage of residents who say they feel connected to their neighborhood and community.
3. San Francisco, CA
SF comes in third in happiness, with 61% saying they feel happy most of the time. Notably, San Francisco is also the least financially stressed of the top 50 US cities. Like Miami, San Francisco loves group fitness. Could it be that sweat is correlated with smiles?
4. Atlanta, GA
Atlanta ranks fourth on our list. Maybe it's a "don't worry, be happy" attitude that lands Atlantans near the top. The Georgian city is the second-least stressed city in the US. A good night's rest probably helps, too. Atlanta is the eighth-most well-rested city.
5. Los Angeles, CA
Fifty-nine percent of Angelenos say they're happy most of the time. In the 2020 Salon Trends in America report, we found that the more beauty and grooming services people book, the more likely they are to say they're happy. This definitely works in LA's favor—LA has the highest percentage of people (67%) who book services regularly (four times a year or more). Seventy-four percent of residents say they make time for play and having fun—more than any other city. Los Angeles is also the most active city in America; now that's something to be happy about!
6. Tampa, FL
Coming in sixth is Tampa, where residents are making a point of sweating together. Thirty percent of residents go to fitness classes or work out in a group at least once a week. Tampa ranks in the top ten in spiritual fulfillment, too.
7. Detroit, MI
With 56% of residents saying they’re happy most of the time, Detroit is the seventh-happiest city in America. Detroit is fourth in spiritual fulfillment. The Michigan metro also ranks high in social wellness, landing third in feeling close with community and neighborhood.
8. Houston, TX
Houston is eighth in happiness. What makes Houston smile? Maybe it's the city's investment in wellness. Houston is a top ten spender in fitness classes, beauty and grooming services, and integrative health services.
9. Charlotte, NC
Charlotte earns high marks in both happiness and social wellness; 54% say they feel happy most of the time and residents say they're close with friends and family (the sixth-closest city in the US). Charlotte is also the third-least stressed city, and 46% of residents say they're satisfied or very satisfied with their overall health.
10. San Diego, CA
San Diego is no stranger to our top 10 lists. The Southern California city also makes an appearance on our top 10 healthiest, top 10 most active, and top 10 most well-rested US city rankings.