Two cities in Northern Virginia cracked the top 15 of areas with the happiest residents, according to a survey that assessed personal finance, well-being, and quality of life.
Arlington, which came in at second best overall, and Alexandria (13th) stood out among a list of the nation’s 200 largest cities analyzed by financial tech company SmartAsset. Eight of the top 15 are in California, where there were “lower percentages of people living in poverty, higher marriage rates, and lower violent crime rates,” the report said.
Married couples — a quality of life criteria — comprise the majority of residents in every top 10 city except Arlington, where the marriage rate is 44 percent.
Additional financial criteria included the percentage of individuals earning $100,000 or more, the cost of living as a percent of income, the number of personal bankruptcy filings, and down payment-to-income ratios.
Mental health, life expectancy, physical activity, commute times, concentration of dining and entertainment options, and violent crime rates made up other categories.
Arlington ranked in the top seven in all criteria and came in at No. 1 in personal finance, thanks to half of the city’s population earning more than $100,000 while spending less than 35 percent of the area’s median household income on cost of living. Arlington County also accounted for the lowest number of personal bankruptcy filings.
Residents in Birmingham, Alabama; Newark, New Jersey; and Memphis, Tennessee were considered the nation’s least happy.
The rest of the top 15 are:
- Sunnyvale, California
- Arlington, Virginia
- Bellevue, Washington
- Fremont, California
- Frisco, Texas
- Plano, Texas
- Roseville, California
- San Jose, California
- Santa Clarita, California
- Irvine, California
- Huntington Beach, California
- Madison, Wisconsin
- Alexandria, Virginia
- San Francisco, California
- Seattle, Washington
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