It’s more interesting for the cities that didn’t make the list: Delegates to the next IPW (May 19-23, 2018) in Denver could, if they so desire, squeeze in a drive of less than 30 minutes to visit the Happiest City in America—Boulder, Colorado. Boulder (population of 108,000) is a city at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in northern Colorado, northwest of Denver.
How did it Become Number One? Author Dan Buettner and Dan Witters of Gallup put together a list of 16 questions relating to physical, social, community, financial, and purpose well-being, drawing on nearly 250,000 interviews conducted with adults from 2014 to 2015 as a part of the comprehensive Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. After averaging the responses to those questions in 190 metro areas across the United States, they produced the National Geographic Happiest Places list. The Top 25 follow.
- Boulder, Colo.
- Santa Cruz/Watsonville, Calif.
- Charlottesville, Va.
- Fort Collins. Colo.
- San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, Calif.
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara
- Provo-Orem, Utah
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.
- Barnstable Town, Mass.
- Anchorage, Alaska
- Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Fla.
- Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Calif.
- Salinas, Calif.
- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.
- Urban Honolulu, Hawaii
- Ann Arbor, Mich.
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward
- Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Manchester-Nashua, N.H.
- Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.
- Washington D.C.-Arlington, Va.-Alexandria, Va.
- Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn.
- San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif.
- Portland-South Portland, Maine
- Austin-Round Rock, Texas
Why not New York City? New York, which is usually at the top of any most-desired, most-popular destination list in the United States for both Americans, as well as international visitors, might take issue with the kind of personality a U.S. city ought to have—a city where you don’t have to be happy. Perhaps it’s best stated thus: