FARGO — Despite the fact that we're reaching the one-year mark of a global pandemic, it seems North Dakotans are still finding reasons to be happy.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the average person's stress levels to increase significantly — up for the first time since 2007, according to the American Psychological Association — people are still pushing forward and boosting their serotonin levels in any way they can. Family, friends and hobbies are important, but what can sometimes be even more important is where they live.
In a report released Monday, March 8, personal finance website WalletHub ranked Bismarck and Fargo as Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, on the list of the Happiest Cities in America.
The rankings weren't random. To rate happiness in cities, the WalletHub team drew upon the findings of positive-psychology research and examined over 180 cities across more than 30 key indicators of happiness, including adequate sleep rate, sports participation rate, income growth, separation and divorce rate and more.
The study found that while neither Bismarck nor Fargo stood out in any of the offset categories, like fewest work hours, lowest suicide rate or lowest depression rate, their weighted average in the three key dimensions evaluated determined overall happiness.
Bismarck, which came in second place after Fremont, Calif., held a total score of 71.59, while Fargo received 70.94 total points. In the individual category rankings, Bismarck ranked fifth overall for both the Emotional and Physical Well-being and Income and Employment categories, and 23rd in the Community and Environment category.
Fargo, on the other hand, fared well in the Income and Employment category, being ranked No. 3 overall. As far as the other two categories go, the Gateway to the West came in ninth for Emotional and Physical Well-being and 17th for Community and Environment.
To see how other cities in the U.S. fared or to read more about the methodology behind this study, visit https://wallethub.com/edu/happiest-places-to-live/32619.