Even before the COVID-19 pandemic challenged the well-being of millions of people, happiness was not an easy measure to quantify because it is highly individual. What makes a person happy changes from one individual to the next, and a person’s happiness is influenced by different factors, depending on social, financial, and health status.
To identify the happiest cities in America, according to residents, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the happiness score of all 383 metro areas in the U.S. from digital health company Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index.
The index measures whether individuals feel a sense of purpose, have supportive relationships, are financially secure, satisfied with their community, and are in good physical health. Sharecare surveyed more than 450,000 U.S. adults, concentrating on these five areas of individual well-being, as well as analyzed more than 600 elements of social determinants of health from additional data sources.
The West and Rocky Mountains regions, specifically California and Colorado, appear to be the states with the most cities where residents feel happy. The happiness of residents in the Greater San Francisco area — the winner for a second year in a row — is bolstered by strong performance in several categories, including housing and transportation, food access, and financial stability, according to Sharecare.
Unlike the San Francisco area, financial well-being did not improve between 2019 and 2020 in most metro areas, even in those cities that are among the happiest — due to the negative economic impact the pandemic has had in 2020. All other individual well-being factors, however, including physical, community, social, and purpose, have improved between 2019 to 2020.
Life has somewhat normalized between 2020 and 2021 due to extended restrictions and limits on people’s movements. Millions of people have made their homes their offices for good. These are the best cities to live and work from home this year.