The 10 Happiest Cities For 2020 (And The Happiest City In Your State)

By Kathy Morris - May. 29, 2020

Find a Job You Really Want In

Ever wondered where in the country people are happiest? Better yet, what city in your state has the secret sauce for happiness?

Just like where you work and what you do, where you live can have major implications for your quality of live. We set out to find the cities where life is sweetest and the residents have the most to grin about. We found the cities where people make living wages, aren’t wasting their lives away in cars,

The results? Happiness comes in small packages.

The Happiest Cities

  1. Bloomington, Illinois
  2. Olathe, Kansas
  3. Rochester, Minnesota
  4. Cary, North Carolina
  5. Appleton, Wisconsin
  6. Highlands Ranch, Colorado
  7. Bismarck, North Dakota
  8. Richardson, Texas
  9. Redmond, Washington
  10. Chandler, Arizona

Surprised? Mid-sized towns won out over booming cities. Apparently, happiness needs space to thrive. I guess all those Hallmark movies were on to something.

How We Came Up With This List

We turned happiness into a science and scoured the country to find the cities with all the ingredients for happiness:

  • Being well educated (Population with at least a bachelor’s degree)
  • Percent of households earning above $75,000
  • Median home prices
  • A short commute to work (Traffic = unhappiness)
  • Having a family (Getting, and staying married, has a ton of happiness benefits, on average)

We examined over 600 cities, to find the cities that have all of the above in spades.

While some may be confused to see marriage rates included in our metrics, studies show that married people are typically happier than unmarried people. However, it is worth noting that marriage doesn’t cause happiness. In fact, people leaving a bad marriage experience spikes of happiness. However, a happy marriage and positive social interactions are important for mood and mental health.

Similarly, if you’re scratching your head to see $75,000 as the cut-off for happiness, blame Purdue University. There study found that was the amount that met basic needs and freed people from the pitfalls of deep financial insecurity.

All of our data comes from the most recent American Community Survey.

Keep reading for more on why each of these 10 places is brimming with happiness—or hop to the bottom to see the happiest city in your state.

1. Bloomington, Illinois


Percent Earning 75k+: 43%
Average Commute: 16
Marriage Rate:53

Bloomington, Illinois is the happiest city in the whole country. What makes Bloomington residents so happy? They aren’t wasting their lives on long commutes for one. The average Bloomington resident only drives 16 minutes to work. Toss in affordable housing and the fact that most Bloomington residents are coming home to a loving partner and it’s easy to see the city has a lot going for it.

2. Olathe, Kansas


Percent Earning 75k+: 56%
Average Commute: 22
Marriage Rate:61

Sorry Overland, Kansas has a new happiest city and it’s Olathe. At just 21 miles from Kansas City, residents have the affordability of suburban live, with the available excitement and opportunity of a larger city. Residents of Olathe are highly educated, with an impressive 35% having at least a bachelor’s degree. And in this modern day, education means options, and folks in Olathe have plenty of them.

3. Rochester, Minnesota


Percent Earning 75k+: 47%
Average Commute: 17.5
Marriage Rate:52

Rochester is the third happiest city in the country and the happiest in the entire state of Minnesota. 52% of Rochester residents come home to a partner to share their life burdens. Bonus? Rochester’s short commutes give them more time to spend with all their loved ones or on hobbies they enjoy.

4. Cary, North Carolina


Percent Earning 75k+: 64%
Average Commute: 23
Marriage Rate:57

Cary may only be the 7th largest city in North Carolina, but is number one in happiness. An impressive 64% of Cary households earn $75,000 or more. That means families in Cary can afford peace of mind.

5. Appleton, Wisconsin


Percent Earning 75k+: 40%
Average Commute: 18
Marriage Rate:54

Appleton, Wisconsin is the 5th happiest city in the nation. Appleton residents’ moods are kept high by reasonable home prices (the median home price in this Wisconsin city is only $150,000), happy marriages, and short commutes.

6. Highlands Ranch, Colorado


Source: Sascha Brück|CC BY-SA 3.1

Percent Earning 75k+: 78%
Average Commute: 26
Marriage Rate:64

The state of Colorado is booming, with many moving there to enjoy the growing tech scene, beautiful outdoors, and great work life balance. So many flooding into the state head to Denver, but going by the data they should give Highlands Ranch a second look. A staggering 78% of households earn over 75,000. Toss in high marriage rates and reasonable commutes, and it’s easy to see those who call Highlands Ranch home have a lot to be happy about.

7. Bismarck, North Dakota


Percent Earning 75k+: 44%
Average Commute: 18
Marriage Rate:50

Bismark, North Dakota is the 7th happiest city in the country. Bismark residents pull in respectable salaries and manage to do it, on average, within 18 minutes of their home. They can use all that extra time saved from a long commute to indulge in hobbies they’re passionate about.

8. Richardson, Texas


Percent Earning 75k+: 57%
Average Commute: 23
Marriage Rate:48

Richardson is the affluent inner suburb of Dallas. Rchardson residents are highly educated with good incomes, decent marriage rates, and reasonable commutes. What’s not to be happy about?

9. Redmond, Washington


Percent Earning 75k+: 73%
Average Commute: 24.8
Marriage Rate:58

Seattle may be where you go to work in Washington’s largest companies, but Redmond’s where you live for happiness in Washington. While median home value is pretty steep in Redmond (a staggering $825,700!), Redmond residents earn top wages which helps soften the costs. Redmond residents are some of the most educated people in the country– with 39% having a bachelor’s degree.

10. Chandler, Arizona


Percent Earning 75k+: 57%
Average Commute: 24.2
Marriage Rate:52

In 10th place is Chandler, Arizona. Not only is Chandler the happiest city in Arizona, it is also home to a growing population of millennials. Maybe they’re hoping happiness is contagious?

There you have it, happiness is a place

Turns out, the happiest cities in America are mid-sized, with many being suburbs of large nearby cities.

While we can’t guarantee everyone living and working in the top 10 cities is happy, they have a better chance the most.

If you are looking to improve your own happiness, check out how you can help improve your personal factors: housing costs, job satisfaction, income, and education. If your city and state didn’t make the top 10, check out the list below to see where in your state people are the happiest.

The Happiest City In Every State

State Happiest City
Alabama Huntsville
Alaska Anchorage
Arizona Chandler
Arkansas Little Rock
California Sunnyvale
Colorado Highlands Ranch
Connecticut Norwalk
Delaware Wilmington
Florida Coral Springs
Georgia Sandy Springs
Hawaii Honolulu
Idaho Boise
Illinois Bloomington
Indiana Fort Wayne
Iowa Sioux City
Kansas Olathe
Kentucky Lexington
Louisiana Metairie
Maine Portland
Maryland Ellicot
Massachusetts Newton
Michigan Farmington Hills
Minnesota Rochester
Mississippi Jackson
Missouri Columbia
Montana Billings
Nebraska Omaha
Nevada Enterprise
New Hampshire Nashua
New Jersey Clifton
New Mexico Albuquerque
New York Cheektowaga
North Carolina Cary
North Dakota Bismark
Ohio Columbus
Oklahoma Broken Arrow
Oregon Hillsboro
Pennsylvania Pittsburgh
Rhode Island Providence
South Carolina Charleston
South Dakota Sioux Falls
Tennessee Clarksville
Texas Richardson
Utah Sandy
Vemont Burlington
Virginia Virginia Beach
Washington Redmond
West Virginia Charleston
Wisconsin Appleton
Wyoming Cheyenne

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.


Kathy Morris

Kathy is the head of content at Zippia with a knack for engaging audiences. Prior to joining Zippia, Kathy worked at Gateway Blend growing audiences across diverse brands. She graduated from Troy University with a degree in Social Science Education.

Related posts

Topics: Rankings