Texans are pretty proud of Texas — but are they happy there? A massive new study by WalletHub (a credit score and personal finance website) took on the task of reviewing the 150 largest cities in America. The goal? Determine the happiest places to live.
In order to do so, researchers considered three key dimensions: 1) emotional and physical well-being 2) income & employment and 3) community & environment. They then broke out those dimensions into 30 key metrics. Researchers graded each metric on a scale of 1 to 100 (with 100 being the most happy). And then they used the weighted average to tally up the scores.
So how did Texas do? Well, it definitely depends where you live.
According to the study, the happiest places to live in Texas mostly hang out around Dallas-Fort Worth. Plano ranks as the highest Texas city, coming in at No. 19. Austin isn’t far behind, ranking at No. 22. You can also find happy Texans in Grand Prairie (No. 34), El Paso (No. 42) and Garland (No. 47). Irving rounds out the top 50, but after that it looks like Texans don’t fare so well.
San Antonio falls way behind rival town Austin at No. 72, while Lubbock (No. 81) beats out panhandle rival Amarillo (No. 97). Interestingly enough, there’s a huge difference between living in Dallas and living in the DFW area. In fact, even though Plano and Dallas only see 20 miles between them, there’s a 67-place difference between the two. Dallas comes in at No. 86 (still better than rival city Houston, which lands at No. 104).
The least-happy Texans apparently reside in Corpus Christi at No. 134. Which is strange, considering they get some of the most sunshine and ocean time of all Texans.
Austinites may be “weird,” but they’re the most emotionally and physically healthy (no surprise) coming in at No. 12 in the country. A lot of that is because they get a lot of sleep (No. 5 overall). Meanwhile, Grand Prairie gets a huge score for community and environment, coming in at No. 4 in the country.
And it’s certainly not all bad news for towns on the edges of Texas. El Paso has the fourth highest income growth in the country, while Corpus Christi has the third. Then again, folks in Corpus are tied for 147th-worst when it comes to most work hours (with Plano, no less).
The massive study compiles data from all over, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CDC and even TripAdvisor. Interestingly enough, the study found that after about $75,000, income really doesn’t play a huge factor in overall happiness.
Though it’s sure to ruffle a few proud Texan feathers, California fares way better than Texas in “happiest places to live” metrics. An astonishing 13 of the top 20 happiest places to live are in California. That includes the top 4 places, with Fremont at No.1 and noted “expensive place to live” San Francisco at No. 4. Heck, even Los Angeles ranks pretty high at No. 34.
However, Texas fared much, much better than the South overall. The happiest town in the entire South is Raleigh, N.C. at No. 23. By and large, the rest of the South hangs near the bottom of the pack. Even trendy and up-and-coming Nashville falls right around the middle at No. 71.
Check out the full study for more analysis and metrics.