This Is the Happiest Place to Live in the U.S., According to One Study

published Oct 11, 2023
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While there’s certainly no single source of happiness, where we live can play a major role in shaping our overall quality of life. From a strong sense of community to good school systems to access to the outdoors, there’s plenty to evaluate when deciding where to build a life. But what’s the happiest town in the United States?

To find out, Outside Magazine judged towns from within the 300 top-scoring U.S. counties in Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index in categories like public land, affordability, climate change, and inclusivity.

According to their report, the happiest U.S. town is Reno, Nevada. The former gambling town is often referred to as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” offering Burning Man-era art installations, a month-long summer arts festival, and easy access to nearby Mount Rose.

“Reno has changed so much,” Sara Holm, director of studies and diversity at the Lake Tahoe School, told Outside Magazine. “You can run through a county park with sheep grazing, go backcountry skiing, or see a touring Broadway play.”

Wilmington, Delaware came in second place. Located just a 20-minute train ride from Philadelphia and a two-hour train ride from New York City, the town prizes its access to green spaces. According to the report, 98 percent of residents live within 10 minutes of a public park, and given that the town has around 70, that’s hardly surprising.

Third place went to New Orleans, Louisiana. The Big Easy is renowned for its rich Creole heritage and has one of the country’s largest concentrations of gay bars, making it an inviting Southern haven for residents of all backgrounds.

Here’s Outside Magazine’s full list of the top 10 happiest places to live in the U.S.:

  1. Reno, Nevada
  2. Wilmington, Delaware
  3. New Orleans, Louisiana
  4. Cincinnati, Ohio
  5. Charlottesville, Virginia
  6. Hood River, Oregon
  7. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  8. Glenwood Springs, Colorado
  9. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  10. Plano, Texas