Happiest Cities in America, From Boulder to Bridgeport (Photos)

The Daily Beast runs the numbers to find out which metro areas harbor the happiest residents.

According to the most recent survey of American happiness and well-being, the country’s residents are just a little less well off than they were in 2010 in terms of their habits, environment, and emotional and physical health. The nation’s “Well-Being Index” score, computed by Gallup-Healthways as part of an annual survey, was 66.2 out of 100 in 2011—the lowest since Gallup-Healthways first conducted the survey in 2008.

But not every pocket of America is sagging. To find out which metro areas have the sunniest dispositions, The Daily Beast first analyzed Gallup-Healthways’ data for more than 100 metro areas, accounting for 40 percent of a city’s final score.

Because happiness has been linked to employment, earnings, and even the weather, we also considered each of the following: unemployment rates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; percentage of families earning more than $100,000, or approximately the top-earning quartile nationwide, according to census figures; and, where available, the number of clear days per year, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Jim Cole / AP Photo

15. Manchester, N.H.

Happiness score: 91.08

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 52
Unemployment rate: 4.8
$100,000+ families: 36.4
Average sunny days: n/a

Ed Andrieski / AP Photo

14. Ft. Collins, Colo.

Happiness score: 91.72

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 9
Unemployment rate: 6.3
$100,000+ families: 31.5
Average sunny days: n/a

Michael Dinneen / AP Photo

13. Anchorage, Alaska

Happiness score: 92.36

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 23
Unemployment rate: 6.4
$100,000+ families: 39.3
Average sunny days: 61

NATI HARNIK

12. Lincoln, Neb.

Happiness score: 92.99

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 20
Unemployment rate: 3.6
$100,000+ families: 24.4
Average sunny days: 117

Andy Manis / AP Photo

11. Madison, Wis.

Happiness score: 93.63

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 26
Unemployment rate: 4.7
$100,000+ families: 32.7
Average sunny days: 89

Office of Mayor Bill Finch

10. Bridgeport, Conn.

Happiness score: 94.27

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 60
Unemployment rate: 7.1
$100,000+ families: 50.2
Average sunny days: 99

Jim Mone / AP Photo

9. Minneapolis, Minn.

Happiness score: 94.90

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 18
Unemployment rate: 5.5
$100,000+ families: 35.8
Average sunny days: 95

Dennis Vandal / AP Photo

8. Boston, Mass.

Happiness score: 95.54

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 37
Unemployment rate: 5.8
$100,000+ families: 43.2
Average sunny days: 98

Andrew Shurtleff / AP Photo

7. Charlottesville, Va.

Happiness score: 96.18

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 2
Unemployment rate: 5
$100,000+ families: 32.5
Average sunny days: n/a

Marco Garcia / AP Photo

6. Honolulu, Hawaii

Happiness score: 96.82

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 6
Unemployment rate: 5.3
$100,000+ families: 37.5
Average sunny days: 90

Charles Dharapak / AP Photo

5. Ann Arbor, Mich.

Happiness score: 97.45

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 3
Unemployment rate: 5.5
$100,000+ families: 37.4
Average sunny days: n/a

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo

4. San Jose, Calif.

Happiness score: 98.09

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 8
Unemployment rate: 8.9
$100,000+ families: 49.5
Average sunny days: n/a

Noah Berger / AP Photo

3. San Francisco, Calif.

Happiness score: 98.73

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 16
Unemployment rate: 8.5
$100,000+ families: 45.8
Average sunny days: 160

Ed Andrieski / AP Photo

2. Boulder, Colo.

Happiness score: 99.36

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 5
Unemployment rate: 5.8
$100,000+ families: 43.8
Average sunny days: n/a

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

1. Washington, D.C.

Happiness score: 100

Gallup-Healthways Index rank: 12
Unemployment rate: 5.5
$100,000+ families: 51.1
Average sunny days: 96