Charlie & Debbie

Burton Hills said, “Happiness is not a destination”. But are there destinations that can bring you happiness? At least temporarily. Building on that can where you live impact your happiness? Certainly. Seasonal depression is much more common in areas that have long, dark winters. And if you aren’t used to it the constant rain and overcast skies in Seattle can dampen your mood- pun intended. What about the happiest cities in the Carolinas?

Luckily the folks at WalletHub helped us answer this question. The top 2 in North Carolina are Charlotte and Raleigh. They conducted a study on the happiest cities in the US.  To determine which of over 180 of the largest U.S. cities has the happiest residents, researchers at Wallet Hub drew upon the findings of positive psychology research. Each city was analyzed based on 30 key indicators of happiness, including depression rates, income-growth rates, and leisure time spent daily.

The happiest cities in the US included 4 from California, as well as Kansas, Maryland, South Dakota, and Vermont. Meanwhile of the 6 North Carolina cities on this list, 3 were in the bottom half of the rankings. I’d have to disagree though, having lived in several other places North Carolina is a wonderful place to live. Keep reading to see where the NC and SC cities ranked as well as the full top 10. Want more info? Read the full WalletHub study.


  • North Carolina

  • 22. Raleigh, NC


    Total Score: 62.37

    Emotional & Physical Well-Being: 13

    Income & Employment: 77

    Community & Environment: 76

  • 46. Charlotte

    Things to do Charlotte

    Total Score: 59.29

    Emotional & Physical Well-Being: 40

    Income & Employment: 70

    Community & Environment: 80

  • 71. Durham

    Durham NC

    Total Score: 56.83

    Emotional & Physical Well-Being: 39

    Income & Employment: 76

    Community & Environment: 141

  • 114. Winston-Salem

    Winston Salem

    Winston-Salem North Carolina NC Downtown Skyline Aerial at Sunset.

    Total Score: 50.97

    Emotional & Physical Well-Being: 108

    Income & Employment: 115

    Community & Environment: 96

  • 130. Greensboro




    Total Score: 48.77

    Emotional & Physical Well-Being: 97

    Income & Employment: 108

    Community & Environment: 168

  • 170. Fayetteville



    Total Score: 38.84

    Emotional & Physical Well-Being: 168

    Income & Employment: 164

    Community & Environment: 169


  • South Carolina

  • 35. Charleston

    South Carolina city hotel

    Total Score: 60.23

    Emotional & Physical Well-Being: 65

    Income & Employment: 21

    Community & Environment: 31

  • Columbia


    Columbia, South Carolina, USA downtown city skyline from Finlay Park at dusk.

    Total Score: 52.20

    Emotional & Physical Well-Being: 126

    Income & Employment: 68

    Community & Environment: 38

  • Top 10 Happiest Cities

    1. Fremont, CA
    2. San Jose, CA
    3. Madison, WI
    4. Overland Park, KS
    5. San Francisco, CA
    6. Irvine, CA
    7. Columbia, MD
    8. Sioux Falls, SD
    9. South Burlington, VT
    10. Burlington, VT

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