The Happiest Places to Live in the USA

When thinking about where you will settle down and spend your life, what do you consider? For most of us, happiness is towards the top of our requirements. While being happy in your surroundings is subjective, there are many elements pertaining to living in certain areas that can put a smile on your face.

One of these key factors is the cost of living, but it’s important to note that the cost to rent property in the United States fluctuates dramatically state by state. It’s imperative to be aware of the financial ramifications if you’re planning on renting property in certain areas, as this can have a huge impact on your comfort and stability levels on a daily basis.

In addition to financial comfort, your actual surroundings may be affecting your mood more than you think. The study of ecopsychology refers to the relationship between human beings and the natural world through ecological and psychological principles. According to Martha Gill of New Statesman, “Not only does being surrounded by trees and fields make you happier, it lengthens concentration spans, reduces procrastination and makes you better at managing ‘major life challenges.’”

Another aspect is personal safety and crime levels. If you don’t feel secure where you live, can you ever be truly happy? Many people also put a lot of stock in the community and cultural elements, so we took all these elements into account when looking at three of the happiest places to live in the USA.

North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida

Florida

The stunning beachside beauty of North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton helps keep residents happy. Image by roger4336

Ranking as the current number one place to live in the United States, the district of North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida offers residents pure sun-soaked joy. Florida constantly ranks highly when it comes to ideal places to live, so it’s no surprise to see it at number one. It would be easy to equate the happiness of Florida to its consistently agreeable climate and the wealth of outdoor activities it offers. However, there’s more at play than what is on the surface.

When it comes to the topic of finances, Florida can be hard to beat. Residents of the sunshine state don’t pay any state income taxes which can mean thousands of dollars of savings for higher tax bracket individuals. The North Port metro area alone boasts a cost of living that is 6.3 percent below the state average and 5.3 percent lower than the national average. Some also believe that after a certain point, any happiness associated with cost of living can no longer rise. If this theory holds true then living in Florida is ideal: the average cost of living is $74,775; the tipping point for happiness is estimated to be $75,000.

In addition, the crime in this region is 41 percent lower than the national average and for every 100,000 people there are only five crimes committed daily. As personal safety is of the utmost concern for residents, these statistics give this part of Florida a significant boost in terms of associated happiness.

Lastly, in regards to ecopsychology, North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton offers a nature experience for everyone. Aside from its beautiful beaches it features bicycle and hiking trails, horseback riding and spectacular mountainous scenery. By presenting the complete package in terms of the happiness factors discussed, it’s no wonder that North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton is at the top of the charts.

Raleigh, North Carolina

In what is a stark contrast to North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Raleigh in North Carolina also appeared in a shortlist of the nation’s top three happiest cities. Whereas North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton thrived due to its financial perks and lack of crime, Raleigh makes the list for quite different reasons.

The current cost of living for Raleigh is 6 percent greater than the North Carolina average and 2.6 percent greater than the national average. The crime statistics are also 11 percent higher than the national average. This important-yet-unfavorable statistic, coupled with the financial ramifications of living in Raleigh, may lead you to believe that it wouldn’t be a popular living choice. So why are more and more people flocking there and loving it?

While Raleigh may pale in comparison to North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton when it comes to safety and cost, it makes up for that in culture and community. Ranking just below personal safety when it comes to what people look for in a place to live, culture is a high priority and can contribute significantly to overall joy in one’s environment. Home to numerous museums, concert halls, breweries and various other modes of entertainment, Raleigh has culture in spades.

Provo-Orem, Utah

The Provo-Orem metropolitan area offers a bit of middle ground between North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton and Raleigh. The cost of living is only very marginally less than the state average (0.1 percent) and the national average (0.4 percent), which means that people certainly aren’t moving to Provo-Orem, Utah for financial reasons.

The personal safety and crime statistics of Provo-Orem also fall in between North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton and Raleigh; with the overall crime rate of Orem being 25 percent lower than the national average, and neighboring Provo at 19 percent lower, it certainly offers a secure living environment. Provo-Orem also offer a slew of amenities, culture and nightlife, much like Raleigh.

Utah

Provo-Orem’s dramatic natural backdrop is a contributing factor to residential happiness. Image by a4gpa

On top of this, Provo-Orem is especially celebrated for its magnificent and dramatic scenery; the imposing Timpanogos mountain range provides an awe-inspiring backdrop to this region and also ensures there is an abundance of outdoor activities for residents to enjoy, as well as natural scenery to admire.

So while the cost of living here isn’t something to shout about, if one is marking happiness by the aforementioned principles then Orem certainly isn’t a bad place to be. Home to many nature lovers and culture enthusiasts, Provo-Orem ranks so highly because here you can have your cake and eat it too – without much risk of being robbed of your fork.

All in all it is hard to quantify happiness in terms of location, but living in one of these areas seems like one step closer to bliss. So, what qualities do you look for when deciding where to live?

Andrea R. Jones

Andrea writes about the issues closest to her heart including technology, business, home improvement and youth alcohol/drug addiction.