SmartAsset, a financial analysis website, says we rank No. 8 among most content residents in America
If you think Ozaukee County is a pretty great place to live, there are now statistics to back you up.
A recent study by SmartAsset, an interactive financial advice website, shows the county has cracked the Top 10 Happiest Places in the U.S.
The national ranking has the area in the No. 8 spot. It is the only Wisconsin county to make the list.
According to the analysis, the county ranked in the Top 100 for seven of the eight metrics used to measure happiness — the only county to score so consistently well.
“Thanks likely in part to the abundance of nearby outdoor opportunities, the residents of Ozaukee County rated especially well for their healthy lifestyles,” the summary of the rankings said.
Reinforcing that assertion, the report noted life expectancy in the county is 81.15 years and 63.6% of the population gets the recommended amount of weekly exercise.
The study suggests that our contented air is contagious, too. Nine Midwest counties rank among the Top 25 happiest counties in the nation.
However, the study suggests the surest way to keep a smile on your face is to move to Virginia — which touts three of the five happiest U.S. counties. Fittingly, the state’s motto is, “Virginia is for lovers.”
According to the study, Loudoun County, Va., has the happiest residents.
Over the past 20 years, the region has grown from 90,000 to 310,000 people and has the highest quality of life of any major county, the analysis says.
Not surprisingly, it has the nation’s lowest poverty rate — 3.6% — and the sixth highest life expectancy at 82.6 years.
Other areas cracking the Top 10 list: Delaware County, Ohio; Fairfax County, Va.; Carver County, Minn.; York County, Va.; Chester County, Penn.; Howard County, Md.; Douglas County, Colo.; and Geauga County, Ohio.
In contrast, the South ranked poorly in the analysis, with 18 of the 25 lowest ranking counties found in the southern states of Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.
The lowest-rated counties had poverty rates higher than 20%, unemployment rates greater than 10% and life expectancies around 75 years.
On a global level, the United States ranks sixth in the Better Life Index — just behind Canada.
“However, along with being one of the happiest countries in the world, the United States is also one of the most diverse,” the summary says.
“Just as no two people are the same, no two U.S. counties are exactly alike. Even within individual states, the quality of life can vary greatly from one area to the next. SmartAsset analyzed data on metrics ranging from marriage rates to bankruptcies to life expectancy to find the U.S. counties with the highest quality of life — the happiest places in America.”
Some of the factors used to measure happiness included family stability, physical health, personal financial health and economic security.
The full study is available at smartasset.com/mortgage/happiest-places-in-america.