What makes people happy?
According to author Dan Buettner, it's two things: Genetics and geography. One you can't do anything about. As for the other — well, that's the subject of Buettner's new book, The Blue Zones of Happiness. And after years of research, Buettner has named his happiest, blue-iest zone: Boulder, Colorado.
This will probably come as little surprise to those who keep track of this sort of thing, as Boulder is a perennial winner in various superlatives like healthiest city in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, there's a significant amount of crossover between healthiest and happiest, along with a number of other factors: "Residents of [the 25 cities selected by Buettner] say they feel safe, enjoy being active and productive, manage their money well, make time for vacations, eat well and learn something new or interesting every day."
So basically: They're rich.
Californian cities fared especially well in Buettner's rankings, filling out one-third of the top towns, ranging from San Francisco in the north to San Diego and Carlsbad in the south. New England showed up, with three entries, and Colorado also had a total of three — Fort Collins and Colorado Springs in addition to the winner.
The South fared less well, with only two cities ranking, both in Florida. But let's be honest: Florida's more its own planet than part of any American region.