The 50 happiest cities in America, ranked

madison wisconsinSean Pavone/Business Insider

In a recent study released by Wallethub, researchers found the happiest people live in Texas, about 20 miles outside of Dallas.

On a list of cities ranked by three main categories - emotional & physical well-being, income & employment, and community & environment - Texas accounted for eight of the top 50. Other notable mentions include locations in Arizona, Hawaii, and many across the midwest. California swept the ranking, totaling 14 cities in the top 50. The Golden State performed similarly in last year's report, and even clinched the No. 1 spot.

Read more: The 30 happiest cities in the US, ranked

To complete the report, WalletHub compared 182 of the nation's largest cities and evaluated them on the three main categories mentioned above. These categories were evaluated using weighted metrics - ranging from adequate-sleep rate to hate crime incidents per capita - and then graded on a 100-point scale. These weighted averages were then used to calculate final scores before ordering cities from least to greatest.

Keep reading for a look at some of the happiest cities to live in, beginning and ending with small cities in Texas.
{{}}

View As: One Page Slides

50 (TIE). Arlington, Texas

50 (TIE). Arlington, Texas

Total score: 61.73

Arlington is about 20 miles west of Dallas. The city is home to the University of Texas at Arlington. The median age of residents is 32.3 and as of 2017, the average home price was $213,888.

Source: Arlington, Texas

50 (TIE). El Paso, Texas

50 (TIE). El Paso, Texas

Total score: 61.73

El Paso is located near the Franklin Mountains, and surrounding areas include four Texas State Parks. The city borders Mexico on the Rio Grande, along with the state of New Mexico. As the westernmost point in Texas, it is over 500 miles from both San Antonio and Austin.

Source: El Paso, Texas, Google Maps

48. Aurora, Colorado

48. Aurora, Colorado

Total score: 61.83

Located nine miles from the capital city Denver, Aurora is Colorado's third-largest city. It is situated across three counties, and is listed as one of the safest large cities in America.

Source: Aurora, Colorado, Google Maps

47. Garland, Texas

47. Garland, Texas

Total score: 61.86

Located 19 miles outside of Dallas, Garland is home to the Firewheel Town Center, which includes over 100 shops and restaurants. Residents can also enjoy an arts center for local theater and visual art exhibits.

Source: Garland, Texas, Google Maps

46. Boise, Idaho

46. Boise, Idaho

Total score: 61.94

Boise is the capital and most populous city in the state of Idaho. It is only 11 miles from the next largest city, Meridian. Located on the Boise River, the city is home to Boise State University.

Source: City of Boise, World Population Review, Google Maps

45. Port St. Lucie, Florida

45. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Total score: 61.96

Port St. Lucie is on the eastern coast of Florida, about 50 miles north of West Palm Beach. As of 2016, it was the eighth-biggest city in Florida, with just under 200,000 residents.

Source: Port St. Lucie

44. Peoria, Arizona

44. Peoria, Arizona

Total score: 62.30

Peoria is a major suburb of Phoenix — it's about 13 miles northwest of Phoenix. As of 2016, the city had a population of roughly 160,00 and is home to Lake Pleasant Regional Park, a 23,000-acre park with two marinas.

Source: Peoria

43. Burlington, Vermont

43. Burlington, Vermont

Total score: 62.31

Burlington is in the northwestern part of Vermont, about 45 miles south of the Canadian border. As of 2012, the city had a population of 42,000. The town is also home to the University of Vermont.

Source: Burlington

42. Fort Worth, Texas

42. Fort Worth, Texas

Total score: 62.35

Fort Worth is about 30 miles west of Texas and, according to its website, boasts more than 92 attractions in the 10-mile downtown radius. The city welcomes 9.1 million tourists a year and is the youngest city in Texas, with an average age of 31.5

Source: Forth Worth

41. Denver, Colorado

41. Denver, Colorado

Total score: 62.41

The capital of Colorado, the "Mile High City" boasts 300 days of sunshine a year. The city has a population of 682,000 and offers easy access to a variety of ski resorts beyond the city.

Source: Denver

40. Garden Grove, California

40. Garden Grove, California

Total score: 62.70

Garden Grove is about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The city is home to the annual Strawberry Festival — one of the largest community festivals in the western US.

Source: Garden Grove

39. Tempe, Arizona

39. Tempe, Arizona

Total score: 62.80

Tempe is 11 miles east of Phoenix. The city is home to Arizona State University and has a vibrant arts center.

Source: Tempe

38. Billings, Montana

38. Billings, Montana

Total score: 62.82

Billings is in southern Montana and had, as of 2017, a population of just under 110,000. It is the biggest city in Montana.

Source: Billings

37. Oakland, California

37. Oakland, California

Total score: 63.16

Oakland lies just east of San Francisco. As of 2017, the city had a population of roughly 425,000 people.

Source: Oakland

36. Lincoln, Nebraska

36. Lincoln, Nebraska

Total score: 63.43

Lincoln, the capital of Nebraska, had a population of about 280,000 as of 2016. The city is home to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Source: City Data

35. Omaha, Nebraska

35. Omaha, Nebraska

Total score: 63.50

Omaha is the biggest city in Nebraska; the metro area has a population of over 900,000. The city is home to one of the longest pedestrian bridge projects ever constructed.

Source: Visit Omaha

34. Oceanside, California

34. Oceanside, California

Total score: 63.82

Oceanside is about 40 miles north of San Diego. The city has 3.5 miles of beach and a 1,000 boat slip harbor, and is also a popular surf spot.

Source: City of Oceanside, Visit Oceanside, Google Maps

33. Chandler, Arizona

33. Chandler, Arizona

Total score: 63.83

Chandler is about 30 minutes southeast of Phoenix, making it a great suburb for those moving away from the capital's city center. Its population is around 250,000, and — despite its suburban location — the city still has a bustling downtown area.

Source: Chandler, World Population Review, Google Maps

32. Santa Clarita, California

32. Santa Clarita, California

Total score: 64.00

Santa Clarita is a 40-minute drive from Los Angeles, and is home to both Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor attractions. The city has over 213,000 residents, making it the third-largest city in Los Angeles County.

Source: Santa Clarita, Google Maps

31. Irving, Texas

31. Irving, Texas

Total score: 64.07

Located 20 minutes from Dallas and 30 minutes from Forth Worth, Irving had a population of over 230,000 as of 2017. Established in the early 20th century, the city is named after author Washington Irving.

Source: Irving, Texas, Google Maps

30. Des Moines, Iowa

30. Des Moines, Iowa

Total score: 64.17

Des Moines is both the capital and largest city of Iowa. The city is about a two-hour drive from both Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Des Moines is also the third largest major insurance center in the world.

Source: City of Des Moines, Google Maps

29. Honolulu, Hawaii

29. Honolulu, Hawaii

Total score: 64.21

Honolulu is both the capital and largest city of the Hawaiian Islands, located on Oahu. The only Hawaiian city with a population over 50,000, the area is home to both Waikiki Beach and United States naval base Pearl Harbor.

Source: Go Hawaii, World Population Review

28. Pembroke Pines, Florida

28. Pembroke Pines, Florida

Total score: 64.51

Located about 19 miles from Fort Lauderdale and 23 miles from Miami, Pembroke Pines is home to over 160,000 residents. The city borders the Everglades, and is also situated between two major highways.

Source: Pembroke Pines, Google Maps

27. Chula Vista, California

27. Chula Vista, California

Total score: 64.54

The second-largest city in San Diego County, Chula Vista is a 15-minute drive from San Diego's city center. The city — whose name means "Beautiful View" — is home to over 268,000 residents.

Source: City of Chula Vista, Google Maps

26. Minneapolis, Minnesota

26. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Total score: 64.8

The capital of Minnesota, Minneapolis is 12 miles from Saint Paul, the state's second-largest city by population and the other half of the Twin Cities metro area. Along with art museums and concert venues, the city is home to major sports teams and their arenas, such as the Minnesota Vikings, Twins, and Wild.

Source: Meet Minneapolis, Minnesota Demographics, Google Maps

25. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

25. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Total score: 64.90

Located 30 minutes from college town Iowa City and almost 2 hours from capital Des Moines, Cedar Rapids is the second-largest city in the state with a population of over 132,000.

Source: Cedar Rapids, Google Maps

24. Cape Coral, Florida

24. Cape Coral, Florida

Total score: 64.96

Cape Coral is located just 20 minutes outside Fort Myers, and 40 minutes from Snivel Island. The city has over 400 miles of canals, alongside golf courses and parks for other outdoor activities.

Source: Visit Florida, Google Maps

23. Raleigh, North Carolina

23. Raleigh, North Carolina

Total score: 64.99

The capital of North Carolina, Raleigh was established in 1792 and is home to many historic attractions. It is the second-largest city in the state, with a population of over 485,000, behind Charlotte.

Source: Visit Raleigh, World Population Review

22. Anaheim, California

22. Anaheim, California

Total score: 65.02

Located in the Los Angeles area, Anaheim is home to two major sports teams and Disneyland, the original theme park designed by Walt Disney. The most populous city in Orange County, Anaheim currently boasts a population of over 350,000.

Source: Visit Anaheim, World Population Review

21. Gilbert, Arizona

21. Gilbert, Arizona

Total score: 65.07

Like Chandler, Gilbert is a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. While the city is four hours from the Grand Canyon, the area still offers plenty of outdoor activities, along with art exhibits and restaurants downtown. The last recorded population shows a total of over 208,000 residents.

Source: Discover Gilbert Arizona, World Population Review, Google Maps

20. Charleston, South Carolina

20. Charleston, South Carolina

Total score: 65.48

Full of beach areas such as Seabrook Island, Charleston is about a two-hour drive from the state capital and second-largest city, Columbia. The city currently has a population of 775,000, and earned awards from both Condé Nast Travel and Travel + Leisure last year.

Source: Charleston, Google Maps

19. Saint Paul, Minnesota

19. Saint Paul, Minnesota

Total score: 65.79

The smaller half of the Twin Cities, Saint Paul is located roughly 12 miles from its sister location, Minneapolis. The city is home to the University of Minnesota Saint Paul Campus and over 304,000 total residents.

Source: Visit Saint Paul, World Population Review, Google Maps

18. San Diego, California

18. San Diego, California

Total score: 66.01

Home to many lively neighborhoods including the Gaslamp District, Balboa Park, and Coronado Beach, San Diego is the largest city in its county. The city is located 120 miles from Los Angeles, and only 20 miles from Tijuana, Mexico.

Source: San Diego, Google Maps

17. Glendale, California

17. Glendale, California

Total score: 66.25

A city in Los Angeles County, Glendale is situated between Burbank and Pasadena. It is roughly nine miles from downtown Los Angeles, and the last census shows a total of over 191,000 residents.

Source: Glendale, California, Google Maps

16. Pearl City, Hawaii

16. Pearl City, Hawaii

Total score: 66.77

Pearl City's main attraction is Pearl Harbor, located on its shoreline. Pearl City is considered a part of Honolulu on the island of Oahu and has a population of over 47,000 residents.

Source: City Data, Google Maps

15. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

15. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Total score: 66.97

Sioux Falls is South Dakota's largest city, located about three hours from the capital Pierre and about five hours from Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Located on the Big Sioux River, the city has a population of over 180,000.

Source: Visit Sioux Falls, World Population Review, Google Maps

14. Austin, Texas

14. Austin, Texas

Total score: 67.16

Austin is closest to San Antonio but is still less than three hours away from Dallas and Houston. Considered the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is the state's fourth-largest city and continues to have a growing arts community. It is also home to the flagship University of Texas campus, commonly referred to as UT Austin.

Source: Visit Austin, World Population Review, Google Maps

13. Santa Rosa, California

13. Santa Rosa, California

Total score: 67.18

Located in the heart of California's Wine Country, Santa Rosa is 98 miles from Sacramento and 55 miles from San Francisco. Santa Rosa has approximately 175,000 residents, and also houses the Charles M. Schulz Museum, dedicated to the "Peanuts" comic strip creator.

Source: City of Santa Rosa, World Population Review, Google Maps

12. Overland Park, Kansas

12. Overland Park, Kansas

Total score: 67.37

Overland Park is Kansas' second-largest city after Wichita. It is just a twenty-minute drive from the latter and has its own Arboretum & Botanical Gardens alongside other community spaces. Overland Park's total population is around 200,000.

Source: Overland Park, Kansas, World Population Review, Google Maps

11. Bismarck, North Dakota

11. Bismarck, North Dakota

Total score: 67.38

Located in the center of the sparsely populated state, Bismarck is the capital and second-largest city in North Dakota. The city is a three-hour drive from the state's largest city, Fargo, and is home to 70,500 residents.

Source: North Dakota Demographics, Google Maps

10. San Francisco, California

10. San Francisco, California

Total score: 67.53

One of California's most well-known cities, San Francisco is home to iconic sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz Island, Lombard Street, and the painted ladies houses. The median rent in San Francisco is around $4,500 per month.

Source: CNBC, San Francisco Travel

9. Scottsdale, Arizona

9. Scottsdale, Arizona

Total score: 68.24

Considered a part of the greater Phoenix area, Scottsdale is a 25-minute drive from the capital city center and less than 20 minutes from nearby Tempe. The city is home to plenty of shopping and restaurants in its Old Town section, along with popular Arizona adventure trips — such as raft and jeep tours — of surrounding areas. The city is also well known for its beautiful golf courses.

Source: Scottsdale, Arizona, Google Maps

8. San Jose, California

8. San Jose, California

Total score: 68.90

As the Capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose features over 6,600 tech headquarters, including Netflix and eBay. Tech giants Apple, Google, and Facebook are also located nearby in surrounding cities such as Menlo Park. San Jose is the state's third-largest city, following Los Angeles and San Diego, and is located 55 miles from San Francisco.

Source: San Jose, Google Maps

7. Grand Prairie, Texas

7. Grand Prairie, Texas

Total score: 69.30

Grand Prairie is located directly between Forth Worth and Dallas and is less than a 25-minute drive from both cities. The city boasts a historic downtown area and has a population of close to 190,000.

Source: City of Grand Prairie, Texas, Google Maps

6. Fargo, North Dakota

6. Fargo, North Dakota

Total score: 69.57

Located on the North Dakota and Minnesota border, the city of Fargo sits on the Red River in Cass County. It is close to 200 miles from the next largest — and capital — city Bismarck. The town originated as a frontier settlement and its historic downtown is still home to its 93-year-old Fargo Theatre.

Source: Fargo

5. Huntington Beach, California

5. Huntington Beach, California

Total score: 69.74

Otherwise known as "Surf City USA," Huntington Beach sits on 10 miles of coastline between Los Angeles and San Diego. Visitors can drive along Southern California's famous Pacific Coast Highway for oceanfront views, as well as window shop in the city's downtown area.

Source: Surf City USA, World Population Review

4. Fremont, California

4. Fremont, California

Total score: 71.17

About 38 miles from San Francisco and only 17 miles from San Jose, Fremont is the fourth most populous city in the Bay Area with over 231,000 residents. Situated on the San Francisco Bay's southeast side, the city is home to art galleries, farmers markets, and historic sites.

Source: City of Fremont, California

3. Madison, Wisconsin

3. Madison, Wisconsin

Total score: 71.81

Located near five lakes and known for its winter weather, some of Madison's popular attractions include its Capitol building and the University of Wisconsin main campus. It is about an hour-and-fifteen-minute drive from Milwaukee — the state's largest city — and a two-and-a-half-hour-drive from Chicago, both of which sit on Lake Michigan. Madison's highest category rank was for "Income & Employment."

Source: Destination Madison, World Population Review

2. Irvine, California

2. Irvine, California

Total score: 71.86

Located near Huntington and Newport beaches in Orange County, the city of Irvine includes over 16,000 acres of parks and open space. The FBI has considered Irvine "America's Safest Big City" for over a decade, and the area is also home to a prestigious branch of the University of California system. The city received its highest score in the "Emotional & Physical Well-Being" category.

Source: Destination Irvine, Google Maps

1. Plano, Texas

1. Plano, Texas

Total score: 72.30

A part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, Plano is home to over 283,000 residents, as well as the headquarters for companies such as Frito-Lay and Toyota North America. The city's highest ranking category from the happiest cities report was for "Community and Environment."

Source: Plano

Add Comment()
Comments ()
X
Sort By:
Be the first one to comment.
We have sent you a verification email. This comment will be published once verification is done.