These California cities ranked as the ‘happiest’ in America for 2024

While everyone has their unique definition of happiness, location can play a crucial role.

A new study by WalletHub examined the "happiest" cities across the nation for the year 2024. The study looked at 29 factors, such as a city’s depression rate, income-growth rate and the average leisure time spent per day.

Several California cities made the list and, as no surprise, some of the happiest cities also happen to be some of the wealthiest. 

However, one WalletHub analyst said money doesn’t always equate to happiness. 

"Money can buy happiness to a certain degree because a stable income is essential for a person’s physical and mental well-being. However, plenty of other factors affect happiness as well, and the happiest cities combine economic security with kind communities and conditions that are conducive to low depression rates and high life satisfaction," said WalletHub Analyst Cassandra Happe. 



An aerial view of Huntington Beach, Calif. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The study ranks the 15 happiest cities in America as:

1. Fremont, Calif. 

2. Overland Park, Kan. 

3. San Jose, Calif.

4. Madison, Wis.

5. Irvine, Calif. 

6. Honolulu

7. San Francisco

8. Pearl City, Hawaii 

9. Columbia, Md. 

10. Scottsdale, Ariz.

11. Sioux Falls, S.D.

12. Huntington Beach, Calif. 

13. Minneapolis 

14. Garden Grove, Calif.

15. San Diego 

Fremont and San Jose explained


Fremont, Calif. (Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images)

In Fremont, 80% of households had an income average of over $75,000, which is the highest in the nation. The study also said residents in this Bay Area city have a high rate of life satisfaction, a low depression rate, and a long lifespan. This is the fourth consecutive year Fremont has topped the list.

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Speaking of longevity, San Jose, another Northern California city, has the longest average life expectancy nationwide. Health and wellness were other reasons why San Jose ranked so high on the list as people here like where they live, feel safe and have pride in their community, the study said. 

Other California cities in the top 50

Other California cities to rank among the top 50 were Glendale (24), Anaheim (25), Oakland (26), Chula Vista (27), Santa Rosa (29), Santa Clarita (30), Oxnard (32), Oceanside (34), and Santa Ana (43).

Click here for the full study.