National Geographic Explorer and best-selling author Dan Buettner recently released a ranking called The 25 Happiest Cities in the United States, which is based on an index the team developed intended to measure happiness. In his National Geographic November cover story and new book The Blue Zones of Happiness, Buettner also revealed what he found to be the world's happiest places.
The 15 happiness metrics included civic engagement, walkability, and sense of community. Boulder, CO, topped the U.S. list thanks to its access to nature, sense of community, and "bikeability."
"There’s a high correlation between bikeability and happiness in a city," Buettner wrote in his research. "In Boulder, you’re more likely to hear the whoosh of a cyclist than the shrill of a siren compared to places like Dallas, Tallahassee, or Los Angeles. Cities like Boulder question the unquestioned virtues of development. This benefits visitors, who can experience an emphasis on greenery, a high-quality culinary community, limited marketing onslaught, and no billboards."
Number two on the list is the Santa Cruz-Watsonville area in California; number three is Charlottesville, VA; and Fort Collins, CO, comes in fourth. Ann Arbor, MI; Colorado Springs, CO; the Washington, D.C., Metro area; and San Diego-Carlsbad, CA, also made the list of 25. You can check out the full list here, and view of a map of it below.
Buettner's overall wisdom? "My findings indicate that if you want to get happy, don’t try to change your belief system. Change your environment," he said. So if you're looking to make a change, maybe it's time to look into a move.