In a new survey, WalletHub has ranked 2017's Happiest Places to Live. And it may come as no surprise that the top four slots went to cities in beautiful, sunny California; namely, Fremont, San Jose, Irvine, and San Francisco. The "unhappiest" place in the country? According to WalletHub, that unlucky title goes to the city of Detroit, Michigan.
Researchers looked at several metrics to compile their list of locales where people are the most and least happy, including each city's depression rate, how many of its citizens are obese, sports participation rates, suicide rates, where people work the most hours, and income growth potential.
One measurement that stood out to us was the divorce rate in each city. WalletHub found that Detroit, which as a reminder, was the lowest-rated city in terms of happiness, is, according to U.S. Census data, also the place where couples have the highest chance of getting divorced, at 47.31 percent.
Other cities with high divorce rates include Rochester, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Miami, Florida; and Newark, New Jersey. On the flip side, the city with the lowest divorce rate (at 18 percent) is Fremont, which was also rated the happiest city in the U.S. Other cities with relatively low divorce rates are Gilbert, Arizona; Plano, Texas; Overland Park, Kansas; and Irvine and Santa Clarita, California.
In terms of reasons why certain cities have higher divorce rates, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez offers this insight: "No clear patterns arise when looking at different regions of the country. However, cities with higher poverty rates and lower income levels typically have higher divorce and separation rates."
The connection between income and divorce may not be immediately clear, but it makes sense when you consider the top reasons parents of young children split up are "strains from parenthood" and "stressful conditions." While money can't buy you love, it certainly can buy you more and better child care and lifestyle options that can help ease the stress and challenges of raising a family.
Wondering how your city ranks on the happiness scale? You can check out the full survey here.
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of four. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.