These Are the Happiest Cities and States in the U.S., According to Instagram

published Aug 20, 2022
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Friends hugging on urban rooftop
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When it comes to personal happiness, where you live is an important factor. Whether you want to be close to family and friends, live near your dream job, or avoid winter weather at all costs, the perfect hometown looks different for everyone. But is it really possible to find the happiest places in the country? According to a new study, the answer is yes.

To determine the happiest U.S. cities and states, HouseFresh teamed up with Microsoft’s face recognition AI tool, Azure, which assigns numerical values to emotions based on people’s expressions. To get their results, the team analyzed geotagged Instagram selfies from each state’s Instagram page, as well as the top 100 U.S. cities by population. Locations were then ranked by the percentage of people smiling.

Utah ranked first in happiest states with a happiness score of 74.49 out of 100. It scored highly across several life categories, including community engagement and work-life balance. Another bonus? It has the cleanest air in America! Trailing closely is Vermont, with a happiness score of 72.29 out of 100.

The state of Utah was also the smiliest in the country with a score of 70.78%, narrowly beating out Wisconsin (68.46%) and Nebraska (68.12%).

When it comes to American cities, Concord, California comes out on top with a happiness score of 79.1 out of 100. Concord also happens to be the smiliest city, with almost three-quarters (74.7%) grinning in their pictures.

Provo, Utah placed second (74.95) in the happiest cities ranking, just ahead of Knoxville, Tennessee in third (74.72). However, Knoxville pulled ahead in the smiliest cities ranking, placing second (72.37%), with Charleston, South Carolina in third (71.70%).

But what about the unhappiest states in America? You might need to find more to smile about if you live in California (38.37) or New Jersey (40.6), which place at the very bottom of HouseFresh’s happiness rankings. Or maybe the people of your state are simply too busy enjoying their surroundings to snap a selfie. It’s all about silver linings, folks!