Select Page

Happiest place in the Golden State is … not where you think

Happiest place in the Golden State is … not where you think

Ron Trujillo/

Californians have a lot to be happy about – excellent year-round weather, the sixth-largest economy in the world, and endless entertainment and recreational opportunities, from the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to Disneyland and Yosemite National Park.

How happy are Californians? Well, a lot. Eight of the nation’s 25 happiest cities are in the Golden State, according to National Geographic Explorer.

National Geographic and best-selling author Dan Buettner and Gallup social scientists developed an index to determine happiness and identifies where Americans are living their best lives. The study took into account 15 metrics, from eating healthy and learning something new every day to community engagement, financial security and even vacation time (then again, if you’re happy where you call home, why would you ever want to leave?). About 250,000 people were interviewed for the Gallup poll.

Santa Cruz-Watsonville, with its brilliant beaches and historic boardwalk, grabbed second-place, behind the Happiest Place in America – Boulder, Colo.

San Luis Obispo finished in fifth place, followed by San Jose. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria finished at No. 12, with Salinas a notch lower.

Other California cities on the list:

  1. San Francisco-Oakland
  2. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura
  3. San Diego-Carlsbad

Feature photo of Santa Cruz by Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock. San Luis Obispo photo by Jeffrey T. Kreulen/Shutterstock.

Californians are happy, really happy

California is the fourth-happiest state in the nation, thanks largely to a positive and upbeat outlook by its residents, according to WalletHub.

The state finished behind only Minnesota, Utah and Hawaii, and ahead of fifth-place Nebraska.

California had the second-highest score for emotional and physical well-being, behind only Hawaii, and ranked No. 21 for both “work environment” and “community and environment.”

California scored in the top five for the lowest rate of adult depression and the highest rate of sports participation. Otherwise, the Golden State was middle-of-the-pack in other areas.

West Virginia is the least happiest state, followed by Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Photo of Santa Barbara by Bill Perry/Shutterstock.

Sign-up for our email newsletter

The latest California housing news in your inbox

Thank you for subscribing

Share This