National Geographic named Boulder the “happiest city in the United States” based on factors including climate, activities and proximity to nature.
Dan Buettner and a team of social scientists got together to create a way to assess different expressions of happiness and to find the happiest place in the U.S. based on these attributes. The study drew from about 250,000 interviews that were conducted between 2014 and 2015 in 190 different areas in the U.S. The study looked at different areas of life that ranged from healthy eating to time for vacations. The study concluded that Boulder is the happiest city due to its productive and active citizens.
Not only do the locals feel this happiness. Buettner explained that visitors are able to benefit from the experiences Boulder offers as well. There is greenery, a community that emphasizes the culinary arts and does not have billboards within city limits.
After explaining these traits, Buettner claimed that environment has a lot to do with the happiness of the people in that area. In other words, Boulder was deemed the happiest place because of its citizens’ healthy lifestyles and how sustainable the area is. Boulder has low rates of obesity and smoking while also touting higher exercise rates.
A few Boulder locals had mixed feelings about Buettner’s findings.
“It is really happy and colorful, and everyone here is friendly,” said Katrice White, a student at CU.
Tom Yulsman, a professor at CU, had a different feeling about the article itself.
“I don’t like those ‘happiest’ contests,” Yulsman said. “They don’t account for enough of the citizens in the community. Boulder is an expensive place to live, so what about those who can’t afford to live here? I’m sure they’re not happy.”
“Boulder does seem like a happier place than where I used to live,” student Shawn Strealy said. “I really enjoy the nature that I’m surrounded by.”
Cities that followed Boulder in happiness included Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California, at number two, Charlottesville, Virginia, at number three, Fort Collins, Colorado, at number four and San Luis Obispo, California, at number five. Of the 25 cities listed, Colorado was home to five.
All of these cities had a large overarching commonality: access to the outdoors. Buettner found that the ability to be active and have time outdoors greatly affects the happiness of an individual.
Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Makenna Sturgeon at email@example.com.