You may be aware of the higher depression rates in our state, but have you ever wondered which areas in Washington are the happiest? It could be difficult to completely measure, but luckily
CreditDonkey.com has done a study that looked at a variety of statistics to rate the happiest cities in our state based off the following: number of restaurants (because food makes ALL of us more cheerful), crime rate (security is key), commute and departure time (traffic certainly contributes to my stress level), income (can money really buy happiness?), divorce rates, and housing. Out of our many communities, here are the top 15 happiest places in Washington according to this study:
If you're looking for an area with endless outdoor recreational opportunities, this city located in the heart of the Columbia Basin is your destination. The average commute time is only 15.2 minutes and it's about 5 miles away from the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge which has over 23,000 acres of land for hiking, fishing, biking, or just viewing spectacular wildlife!
Another place that offers an excellent commute time for residents is this central Washington town with an average time of only 14.4 minutes. It's the gateway to the Wenatchee Valley, Leavenworth and Okanogan Valley if you're traveling from the South or East, and is a comfortable home to only about 6,750+. Credit Donkey's survey also ranked this town as one of the happiest because the divorce rates for both men and women are much lower here than in most other areas in our state.
Noted for their extremely low violent crime rate, this semi-rural city can be found in Snohomish County just north of Lake Washington and Seattle. The area boasts an average income of $99,243 and a comfortable residential setting, so it's no wonder they're considered to be one of our state's happiest cities!
12. Liberty Lake
Located right by the Idaho border in Spokane County, this city of about 7,500 has a low crime rate and decent average commute time of 22.7 minutes. You're also never too far away from a great meal as this town has a wide selection of places to dine at, like Hay J's Bistro and CorkHouse.
Ranked by Money Magazine as one of the best small towns in all of America for 2013, this Eastside city in King County is certainly a cheerful place to reside. The average income for residents here is over $106,000 a year and the violent crime odds are exceptionally low.
With a population over 126K, this Seattle suburb offers residents a higher income, decent commute time with an average of 21.8 minutes, and a relatively safe neighborhood. Although housing prices are a bit higher here than in the big city, most residents spend a lower percentage of their income overall. There are also endless job opportunities here between all of the huge companies with local offices like Expedia, Microsoft and Boeing.
Just south of Olympia, this is a much smaller city with a population less than 20K. It's a great area for working professionals with an average travel time of 19 minutes and median salary of $61K. If you get hungry while in town you're in luck - there are tons of great restaurants nearby worth checking out, like Falls Terrace Restaurant if you're craving for some steak or seafood!
Between the low crime rate, decent commute time, high median income and first class restaurants, this town is basically a Northwest paradise. Gere-A-Deli, A'Town Bistro, and Adrift Restaurant are a few of the highest rated spots in the area that you'll want to add to your list!
You'll find nothing but charm in this northeastern town in Stevens County which ranked high in four categories - with the lowest violent crime rate, shortest average commute time at 12.2 minutes, highest percentage of workers who head out before 5am and the most restaurants per capita. The median income may be lower here than in other cities, but the quality of living is so worth it!
You can't help but enjoy life here in the tri-cities! The Windy Town has some of the lowest housing costs in the state based on average income, in addition to low violent crime odds and an average commute time of less than 20 minutes.
5. West Richland
Just west of the larger city you can explore this area with exciting recreational opportunities such as water-skiing, boating or even just perfect spots for a picnic. There is also a significantly low divorce and violent crime rate here, and even though housing is slightly more expensive, it balances out since the average income for residents is much higher.
Located only a few miles from the Canadian border, this quaint town in Whatcom County has a remarkably safe neighborhood and numerous local restaurants like Fairway Cafe and Jake's Western Grill!
3. Mercer Island
This first-rate community can be discovered on an island in the southern portion of Lake Washington in-between Seattle and Bellevue. Residents here take home an average of $127,000 per year and violent crimes in this neighborhood are quite rare, so it's no surprise that residents here are considered happier than in most other parts of the state.
2. East Wenatchee
Just across the Columbia River from the larger city of Wenatchee you can find this community home to about 13,000+ people. The average commute time is only 16.4 minutes and it's an ideal choice for those who prefer a quiet and tranquil lifestyle.
What makes this city so special and happy? Perhaps it's the Microsoft headquarters here that provides numerous jobs and a solid average income for residents. It's also a relatively safe neighborhood and is known as the "Bicycle Capital of the Northwest", featuring the only velodrome (an arena for track cycling) in the whole state!
I think the real question is – how could you not be happy living in this incredibly beautiful state?