It has been said that happiness is a matter of perspective, but the folks at WalletHub claim to have it down to a click-baity science.
Well, color me click-baited. I wrote about the rankings from the eyeball-attracting ratings specialists last year, when Plano topped the list. The northern suburb rode top 10 showings across the study’s three factors—emotional and physical well-being, income and employment, and community and environment—to the top spot. It beat out several cities in California along the way.
This year it could fend off those happy hippies no longer, and Plano’s joyful reign has come to an end. It dropped a spot to a still respectable No. 2. Fremont, California slid up three spots to take the crown.
It appears Plano was hurt by a drop to No. 16 in its “community and environment” ranking, encompassing metrics like separation and divorce rates, hate-crime incidents per capita, average leisure time per day, and strength of social ties.
Elsewhere in North Texas: Grand Prairie came in at 27 this year, Irving at 35, Garland at 43, Fort Worth at 60, Arlington at 61, and Dallas at 76. With the exception of Garland, all of those rankings fell from last year, most drastically Grand Prairie, which came in at 7th in 2019.
But WalletHub doesn’t phone it in like some. The study uses 30 metrics across the three dimensions. The most weight goes to emotional and physical well-being, encompassing things like depression rates, life expectancy, food-insecurity rates, and adequate-sleep rates. (If you’re curious, find the methodology, along with the whole list of data points researchers used, here.)
While North Texas fell off, the Golden State did not—nine of the top 15 cities are in California or, oddly, one of the Dakotas. Find the full list here.