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Posted on Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

Ann Arbor No. 5 on happiest cities in the nation list

By Cindy Heflin


Ann Arbor ranked No. 5 on The Daily Beast's list of happiest cities.

File photo

Earlier this month it was named the best city in America for singles. Now we learn that Ann Arbor is the 5th happiest city in America. (We’ll just forget about that worst place to meet a sensitive guy designation.)

The Daily Beast rated metro areas for the sunniest dispositions, looking at data from Gallup-Healthways as well as unemployment rates, income and the number of clear days per year.

Ann Arbor earned its fifth-place ranking with a happiness score of 97.5. It's the only Michigan city mentioned.

Washington, D.C., netted the top spot with a score of 100. Boulder, Colo., ranked No. 2 with a score of 99. Ann Arbor earned its score even though the number of sunny days wasn’t available from the National Climatic Data Center, according to The Daily Beast.

Ann Arbor even beat out Honolulu, which came in 6th.




Mon, Mar 19, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

After seing the documentary "Happy" I agree with Annie Zirkel, that happiness comes greatly from the inside, but a good community and opportunities to play, exercise and be creative does a lot for the spirit. I was born in Lima, Peru a big modern city with many contrasts, great food and terrible traffic. I love my home town, with all it's problems, because I have many friends and family there, but I have to say, after spending over a month there I start missing the peace and quiet of my neighborhood in Ann Arbor, my short car trips and the international community here. I have lived in several cities in the US (mainly the midwest and Pennsylvania), and I do find AA pretty special. I decided to make it my home. It was great to raise my kids, and I don't want to move anymore. When I retire, I hope to spend the cold months in Peru, where the other half of my heart is, and that is perfection. For the time being, I am happy where I am. 10 Happiness Tips


Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

Okay. I gotta say it. Ann Arbor. #1 city in the country for grouchiest bloggers on community blog.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

You're right, to a point. However, I shop in downtown Ann Arbor for at whole foods, clothing...although I rarely shop for that any more, as I am constantly on my horse, which is ONE of the reasons people live in the Dexter-Chelsea area. It is horse country. I love the atmosphere and the ambiance of A2, the restaurants, the hipsters, the wannabe hipsters, the students, Gallup Park. I could go on forever. My husband's business contributes to the Ann Arbor economy. He pays taxes on his building. His office is filled with office equipment bought in Ann Arbor. Real estate was extremely costly in A2 as compared to Dexter, as well. So that really made the decision for us. A2 makes me feel like I'm back in college again. We do love it. My daughter and her family live in VA, and are constantly searching for jobs back in Ann Arbor. But don't sell the "area" people short. We're not all grouchy proletarian scum. Most of us work in A2. I don't know how you can tell it's the "area" people complaining. There are no signs on anyone's avatar. Have a peaceful Sunday.

Peter Baker

Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 2:40 p.m.

That was my point. And most of the bitterness comes from people who identify themselves as living in the surrounding areas and can't stand coming downtown anymore for a myriad of reasons, most of which are exactly why we like living here.

Frustrated in A2

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

Instead of using some goofy unproven formula why don't they just come to town and ask us how happy we are. I was born and raised here and I think there are happier places. Not that I'm not happy but I can think of a few other places I've been where I've been just a tad more happy Lol!


Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

Life is too short. If you're unhappy here, and would be happier somewhere else, then go THERE!

Peter Baker

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 10:29 p.m.

Ann Arbor: #5 in happiness Surrounding Areas: #1 in bitterness


Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

As I stated above, My husband owns a business in Ann Arbor. We live in Dexter. No bitter people out here that I know. Perhaps you need a new set of friends?


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 8:14 p.m.

They obviously did not survey many of the posters on who appear to be (based on all their negative posts) some of the unhappiest people anywhere.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

we're not unhappy, we just haven't been drinking the kool-aid

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

We would be happier without all the republicans trying to ruin our city!


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

these best city lists are getting to be a weekly boring read. Very few people believe them. Mainly some people who work at the corner of Fifth and Huron. These lists continue to give them the misconception that they must be doing something right. how about this list: Happiest place to get a parking ticket. Happiest place to not be a fire fighter. Happiest place to not be a police officer. Happiest college town to be raped by a serial rapest. Happiest place to be accosted by panhandlers Happiest place to have the most breakins in the first two months of 2012 per capita. Happiest place to not own a small business Happiest place to be rear-ended at a pedestrian crossing. Happiest place to be runover in your wheelchair by someone driving and talking on a cellphone, Happiest place to search for parking for over thirty minutes. Happiest place to navigate jaywalkers. Happiest place to hit potholes. Happiest place to view an expensive water fountain (in front of the ugliest building in town) soon to be the happiest place to live that has banned plastic grocery sacks


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 4:35 a.m.

I can't believe you took all that time to make up a list this long. Try the opposite. What do you like about Ann Arbor? If you can't t think of anything, then I can point you to a city in Indiana, where I guarantee your dislike list will grow substantially. Then that positive list for A2 will come together quite nicely.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 6:45 p.m.

I knew I was missing an "important" one.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

don't forget soon to be happiest place to be cited for idling your vehicle


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

I've lived in Ann Arbor for all of my 61 years. I am very happy as are all of my neighbors.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 2:45 p.m.

I think the sculpture outside City Hall and that Underground Parking Structure really tipped the scales in our favor...take that 6th Happiest City in the Nation!


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

The city has a large population of rich college students. When I went to college I was pretty happy too. Not much responsibility. Weekends usually started on Tuesday. Its all down hill from there.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 9:26 p.m.

Funny thing is, not many of them really were that happy...for being ultra-rich, many were absolutely miserable and depressed.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 5:29 a.m.

I have lived in AA and in various other areas of Washtenaw County since 1987. I love A2 for the arts, concerts, restaurants, festivals and relative open minds and liberalism, not to mention the physical beauty. But what frustrates me about A2 are people who are so rude and belligerent...Not a few but many! I have seen some awful things happen in these 25 years. Try being called the C word or the B word? Would you call your mother that name? They have this "I am a college degreed human so I am going to look down on you attitude" toward people who work in retail and as servers etc. I have been treated rudely as have my co-workers and I have seen it with my own eyes! I don't act rudely back to these "educated" people. I was taught good manners. Besides honey gathers more than vinegar folks! Just because you have a college degree doesn't give you the right to treat me as a "lesser" human being. If anything, it should have taught you how to be thoughtful, kind, patient and not a condescending boob. I am speaking about 20 somethings, 30 somethings and all the way up to the elderly residents of A2. Learn about me before passing judgement. You may be pleasantly surprised! So maybe if their is a "Rudest City" poll...I will vote A2 Number one!


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 12:15 a.m.

@CPL Huh? What? Are you a cashier in a clothing store or something? It's sometimes hard for those with arthritis to operate those zippers. I have nerve damage in my right hand...which makes it very difficult for me, as well...but the coat is so CUTE! So they stuck you in RETURNS, huh. Sorry about that.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

it's funny...the 3d smartest city has the most highly educated people return winter coats because they can't operate a double slider zipper. OBVIOUSLY it's DEFECTIVE, not their inability to be shown how to properly zip their jacket. >snicker<


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

They are probably treating you like that because your a liberal. You know that is a disease. They just dont want you to spread it around.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 5:06 a.m.

We moved here from Indiana, because we were unhappy with the public school system. We wanted to stay in the Midwest. I researched (before PCs) and Ann Arbor kept popping up. We moved to the area. We could not have made a better choice. We are very, very happy here, with the schools, the lovely people, the cultural activities and amenities of this wonderful area. When you complain about the public school systems just think of Indiana, and other areas, who don't place as much importance on public schools as we do. The only thing Indiana has going for it is IU/Bloomington (my alma mater), recently named one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Are we happy here? YES!


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 4:27 a.m.

Um...If you plan on bringinging your irksome attitude to Dexter, please give all of us notice. You could try Manchester. They have an army of angry guys. Seriously. You know I'm just yankin' your chain. Right? ;P


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

Nah, like I said, the AREA is fine, the city is a clown show. I might move to Dexter or some place like that, as it seems like most the people outside the city have figured that out already.


Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

My husband owns a business in A2. We live in Dexter. If you hate Ann Arbor so much, you can always move to Indiana.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Do actually LIVE here? or maybe in the township? Do you have to pay for the art? or just get to look at it for free? Do you have to pay for the greenbelt fiasco, or just benefit from getting paid not to develop your land, or the land around you? The AREA is fine, the clown show that is Ann Arbor is a joke.

Blue Marker

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

I've raised my two boys here and feel the same way Julie. Diversity, culture, night-life, good schools and hospitals. What's not to love?

r treat

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 5:21 a.m.

Did anyone ask if you were happy here?


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 4:28 a.m.

This will soon change once people realized that their excellent healthcare & service by the UM Hospital Systems have been limited by the new agreement with the Trinity Health (St. Joseph) that follow the religious tenets of the Catholic church. This agreement will limit healthcare of women, men and families by denial of fertility services, contraception, abortion and sterilization. These religious sytems won't even perform treatment after a miscarriage or a tubal ligation after a C-section. What if a family member is on life support? How about the people who work for St. Joe who are non-catholic and the clients who are non-catholics? Ann Arbor a happy place....not anymore or until UM address this potential conflict to the public instead of hiding it.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 3:50 a.m.

I have lived here for about 14 years and this town makes me happy -- the vibe is great. Honolulu is great for a very expensive vacation, but not for living

Kelly Thomson McLeod

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 3:29 a.m.

I was able to open a small business in this town, thrive in this town and live my dream in this town. All day long I hear out of towners comment on how friendly everyone in Ann Arbor is. Does it have it's share of problems....sure, tell me one place that doesn't. I'd say we have a happy little city here...let the haters hate.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 4:33 a.m.

LOL, is it one of those businesses owned by a trust funder from the East Coast that no one ever shops at? Exhibit A people^^^^^


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

Here is my happiness survey criteria: 1. Strip joints 2. Bars 3. Hookers 4. Casinos Here is my ranking: 1. Vegas BABY 2. Detroit 3. Atlantic City There, that was easy, and just as much BS as the other survey. Now Detroit is the #2 happiest city in the country.

Annie Zirkel

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 2:01 a.m.

Hmmm. Just being part of bringing the movie Happy to the Michigan Theater this finding doesn't relate to what we just learned. So much of happiness is intrinsic, action-oriented or related to community, so the criteria - 100K+ income, number of sunny days and employment statistics confuse me. The good news is that antidotally - with over 400 people attending this movie, and many of the findings - such as strong community, a focus on mindfulness, and an openness to novelty, exercise and play - being present in Ann Arbor I would say, for different reasons (and commenters notwithstanding) we are a happy place to live! Grateful to live in this interesting, engaged and dynamic town.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 2 a.m.

DC #1? Sunshine factor? Obviously never been there in July and August, that "sunshine" and humidity will melt the trim off an automobile.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:54 a.m.

The Daily Beast is also EXTREMELY liberal, and thus biased towards Ann Arbor. They are not a credible source. BTW, they ruined Newsweek.


Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 4:21 a.m.



Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

I lived in Ann Arbor for four years. It was even more unfriendly than New York City. People wouldn't and couldn't ever say hi to you, even open doors. I actually watched a friend from the South open a door up for a random woman, only to get a nasty sneer in return. People used to brag on their cellphones on the bus. Everyone was full of themselves. I never met more 1%'s than I did when I lived in Ann Arbor, happily enjoying their trust funds and their radical leftist views. People don't make small talk! I couldn't wait to escape that place.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

We're thrilled that you escaped. Please don't come back. Thank you. (Just being polite, as is our habit 'round these parts.)


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

Gee, I wonder where Jay could've gotten the idea that this isn't the friendliest place this side of "Mayberry". You do realize that NYC would think THIS is Mayberry, right?

Blue Marker

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 12:20 p.m.

Yet still follows the local news on line and took time to comment. Tell everyone in Mayberry we said "hi". Just mix it in with some of your beloved small talk.

Antoinette McCrea

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:47 a.m.

sure, because they can legally smoke pot in public and only get a $5.00 fine


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 11:14 p.m.

Sunshine = happiness. They couldn't get data on that for Ann Arbor.but still named it #5?


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

That's what pot will do for you!


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

On April 1.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

Wait, I thought Ann Arbor was a Godless, socialist hellscape from which not eve light can escape?


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

Don't forget that Ann Arbor also ranks 9th in the alphabetical list of cities with a population over 100,000.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

Love it!


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Just reading about this makes me happy! :) :) :)


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 9:26 p.m.

I know East Lansing has been Happier the Last Four Years than Ann Arbor!

Terry Star21

Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

What about the six years before that, and 67 of the last 100.....e.lansing very sad pace.....

Red Floyd

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

I was going to leave a snarky, sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek comment, but it seems everyone else has already beaten me to the punch...


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

yea i feel so much better after reading this. it must be all the art we have up. we also have 1.6 mil that can make more people happy.maybe we will move into first place.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Did you note the per cent of households with income over $100K? Washington DC is #1. Must be all those politicians on the take!


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

Gee if it wasn't for the yahoo's that run it it might be # 1.......


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

Happiest for the thugs, freeloaders, robbers, panhandlers, and social miscreants. I'd be happy too if I could live in Liberty Park for free and have people give me stuff. >snicker< sorry. But read the headlines from the past few weeks.

Terry Star21

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

I knew it all the time, happiest people, happiest city and college footballs happiest all time winning team.....priceless. So predictable how this article will bring out the worst in some people's comments - sure easy to see who doesn't live in or near this wonderful city......too bad. Could be much, much worse however - we could be stuck in east lansing or columbus.....yikes !


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

When did you come here? In my opinion Ann Arbor USED to be a great city, but that was a long time ago. Bring on the high rises, the franchises, the developers, the art critics, the committees, the new ordinances, the dirty public spaces, the potholes, the hoity toity shops, and the rest. Who cares about football? Not us.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

Or Saline!


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

This rating will further increase our mayor and council's Boulder-envy.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

Yes, liberal paradise is a great place to live. Above ground powerlines throughout most of the city. Roads with pot-holes bigger than my car. Two major freeways with only two lanes to increase the morbidity and mortality of driving to work. Yup, love this city. GO OBAMA, hope change and $10 gas.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

OMG. The sky is falling. Above ground powerlines! Pot-holes!! Freeways with only two lanes?? How can things get any worse? Dogs and cats living together? And Obama caused all this to happen. Must have erected the power lines during his first visit to Ann Arbor. And had his people dig potholes during his recent visit. As Marvin the Martian once said "Liberals--you're making me very very angry!"


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

joe.blow....Gas averages climbed above $4/gal prior to Obama...who was President then?? I forget.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Fjord No there are other cities like romulus, detroit, inkster that have above powerline. None of these places most wouldn't like to live. Above ground lines are really unattractive.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:35 p.m.

The way this guy talks, you'd think above-ground power lines were some kind of oddity that only we poor rubes in Ann Arbor have to suffer with.

Robert Coffey

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

IYou may be onto something, smokeblwr...let me think. Some way to raise funds to pay for things we all need and use...hmm. Never mind, let's just fight about birth control, abortion, and gay marriage. That's way easier.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

If only there was some way to IMPROVE the freeways....some way to raise monies to pay for them.....

Mike S

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

Is it a Peel P50? You should show it at the A2 Rolling Sculpture Car Show!


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Hmm, Ann Arbor or Honolulu? Ann Arbor or Honolulu? . . . Tough call.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 4:05 p.m.

..if you're a pro surfer I'm sure this is true...what other jobs are there in Honolulu? Hotel work? Tourism? The daily grind might not actually be that great.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

Stoners have the most time to answer surveys.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

I used to work for one of the 100 Best Places to Work ...and I know we paid for that designation. Can, before publicizing this stuff, please check to see if this was something A2 (or one of its stand-ins) PAID to be designated as such? Was this paid for? And why should we care about this rating?

r treat

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

Lol! The most miserable maybe.


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

The Daily Beast obviously does not read's comments section.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Heh. I just came here to post that same comment, verbatim.


Fri, Mar 2, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

Hahahahaha! You're so right!

Top Cat

Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

No, the art has nothing to do with it. It's all about the brewpubs!


Thu, Mar 1, 2012 : 7:08 p.m.

See? Art does make us happy. Ya gotta have ART!