America’s Most Content (and Miserable) Cities

Print Email

5. Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.
> Well-being index score: 71.6
> Obesity: 16.5%
> Median household income: $55,219
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 94.5%

As many as 94.1% of Fort Collins respondents said they were satisfied with their city, tied for the highest in the nation. Those surveyed also rated their work environments well, with residents evaluating their workplace fifth best out of the 189 metro areas surveyed. Many people in the area work for Colorado State University, the largest employer in the city of Fort Collins. The area also ranked as one of the nation’s most well-educated. More than 94% of residents earned at least a high school diploma, and 42.8% had at least a bachelor’s degree.

Also Read: The Seven States Running Out of Water

4. Provo-Orem, Utah
> Well-being index score: 71.7
> Obesity: 19.6%
> Median household income: $58,398
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 92.9%

Provo is home to Brigham Young University, one of the largest private, not-for-profit universities in the country. The university was also the area’s largest employer as of 2012, according to the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, and one of the largest in the state. Important to their well-being, Provo-Orem residents were among the most likely to enjoy where they worked. Residents also were likely to report that they had learned something new and were happy within the past day. As many as 77% of those surveyed noted their city was getting better, versus just 59.1% of respondents nationwide.

3. Burlington-South Burlington, Vt.
> Well-being index score: 72.4
> Obesity: 18.7%
> Median household income: $60,771
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 93.7%

At 95.9%, more Burlington residents reported health insurance coverage than any other area in the country. Residents also were rated second healthiest among the 189 metro areas, according to Gallup’s physical health index. Like most of the cities with the highest well-being, higher education plays a larger part in the local economy; the University of Vermont is one the area’s largest employers.

2. Boulder, Colo.
> Well-being index score: 72.7
> Obesity: 12.5%
> Median household income: $68,637
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 93.7%

Boulder residents were among the nation’s best at practicing healthy behaviors. They were among the least likely respondents to smoke and among the most likely to eat healthy all day. Likely because of this, residents scored well for physical health as well. In Boulder, 85.6% of residents had no health problems preventing them from age-appropriate activities — the third highest rate in the nation. Every year the city hosts BolderBoulder, a 10K race that had more than 50,000 participants in 2012.

1. Lincoln, Neb.
> Well-being index score: 72.8
> Obesity: 25.8%
> Median household income: $49,315
> Adult population with high school diploma or higher: 93.7%

Lincoln is the top ranked metro area in the nation on Gallup’s well-being index. As of January, 4.2% of all workers in the area were unemployed, less than all but three other metropolitan areas. Residents were also the most likely Americans nationwide to enjoy their work environment. More than 94% of survey respondents were satisfied with their job and work, almost 68% felt treated like a partner at work and nearly 86% felt they worked in a trusting environment — all among the highest figures in the country. Nearly 76% of those surveyed believe the city is becoming a better place, the fourth highest rate in the nation.

Also Read: America’s Most Miserable Cities