Dallas/Fort Worth is the city with the most "very happy" residents.

In second place is Houston.



Los Angeles.

New York City.

Washington, D.C.



San Francisco.



The 10 Happiest Cities In America

The happiest city in the country is ... Dallas?

San Francisco is beautiful, wealthy, and has a booming economy. But, of 10 cities surveyed for happiness, it has the least number of residents describing themselves as "very happy." Dallas/Fort Worth has the most "very happy" people.

The numbers come from a Harris Interactive poll of more than 2,000 adults. In Dallas, 38% of people described themselves as very happy, compared to 28% in San Francisco. Houston had the next happiest group of people: 36% of residents, followed by Atlanta and Philadelphia, which both had 34%.

Spirituality could be one factor: 75% of people in Dallas/Fort Worth said their "spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force," compared to 60% of San Franciscans. That's a big gap. Houston (79%) and Atlanta (77%) also scored highly on that question.

On the other hand, 79% of S.F. residents say they're "optimistic about the future" (highest than seven other cities), and only 35% said their "work is frustrating"—a lower percentage than most other cities. So, it's not all bad. But part of San Francisco's low ranking may be due to the city's rapid gentrification—a process that is pushing out longtime residents and making it difficult for others to hang on. It's also worth considering that residents of different cities may define happiness in varying ways.

A separate Harris survey found that 33% of Americans are "very happy," with slightly higher numbers among richer, older, and better educated parts of population. Two-thirds (67%) said they were "optimistic about the future."

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  • sm1961

    San Francisco is beautiful, wealthy and has a booming economy hmmmm I guess that must be the view from Pacific Heights versus say ummm Civic Center where SF is littered, filled with confrontational homeless people with the smell of urine wafting through the streets.  Living in the area after living on the East Coast and Mountain West, a generalization I find- people in the SF bay area are narcissistic, cranky and disengaged where "very happy" would not be hip at all...

  • JD Eveland

    Re sample size - it works if your sample is carefully drawn, and you use the appropriate
    analysis procedures; it's all a function of the mathematics of
    probability distributions. Political polls can routinely come to within a
    percentage point of actual vote results, and market research driving
    multi-million dollar advertising programs can also be successful with
    that kind of sampling. The Harris people know how to do sampling on this
    scale - they wouldn't still be in business unless they were delivering
    reliable results to their corporate clients. So I wouldn't worry too
    much about the sample size issue. I'm pretty sure that they've done the
    math right.


  • Seamus

    Hmmm...360,000,000 peeps in our country and they are extrapolating the happiest 10 cities based on what 2,000 people have to say...frivolous at best...but, maybe I'm grumpy.

  • happysociety

    It's no surprise then that the Secret Society of Happy People is HQ'd in Dallas :-)

  • Michael Blaustein

    Self-reported happiness is not the same as actual happiness.  The headline should be "The 10 cities in America that claim to be the happiest".

  • SpidermanVitamin

    Haha you know why Dallas is the happiest city? Because that's where the whole ecstasy craze took off from. People here can get a roll of molly cheaper than anywhere.