LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- National Geographic Explorer set out to find the happiest cities in the U.S.
While Boulder, Colorado pulled the top ranking, Fort Smith bottomed out the list. Here's the magazine's reasoning:
At the bottom of the index (not included in our list) are America’s least-happy places, according to the study: Charleston, West Virginia; Fort Smith, Arkansas; and Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, North Carolina. Research indicates that the variabilities of place play an important role in whether locals feel happy. In happier places, according to Buettner, locals smile and laugh more often, socialize several hours a day, have access to green spaces, and feel that they are making purposeful progress toward achieving life goals.
You won't find any of the top 25 in the deep south. Austin is among the closest spots. The deeper report on the survey findings shows Arkansas in the band of states with the lowest "well-being" score. Poverty is a factor.
Respondents from the lowest ranked states were more likely to report worse physical and financial health: They were more likely to smoke, be obese, and have little interest in life. They also reported not having enough money to buy food or healthcare.
A map indicates that Arkansas and the Fort Smith and Little Rock metro areas are among those in the bottom third of well-being scores. A cheerier note: another map indicates that the Fayetteville-to-Rogers metro area ranks in the top third.
You can find the full list and rankings here.
(Story adapted from Arkansas Times)
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