SmartAsset is out with this year's version of the happiest places in America. Virginia again scored big.

The U.S. ranked as the 18th-happiest country in the world in 2018, according to the World Happiness Report, released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the U.N. That’s down four spots from the 2017 ranking. But while the U.S. may not be the happiest country in the world, there are some parts of the country that are doing exceptionally well. Thanks to factors like affordable homes, low unemployment rates and high life expectancy, some counties are happier than others.

In order to rank the happiest places, we compared counties across eight factors. Specifically we looked at unemployment rate, poverty rate, affordability ratio, marriage rate, divorce rate, bankruptcy rate, life expectancy, and physical activity rate. Check out our data and methodology below to see where we got our data and how we put it together.

Key Findings

  • Consistent counties – In total five of last year’s 10 happiest counties scores in the top 10 this year. In particular Carver County, Minnesota and Loudon and Fairfax Counties in Virginia scored well, with each county securing a top 5 spot for the third straight year.
  • A wide spread – No single state or region dominates the top 10. Nine states are represented in our top 10 and every geographic region is represented in our top 25. The Midwest has a slight edge with 9 counties representing it in our top 25.
  • Georgia ranks poorly – Georgia counties make up five of the 10 least happy counties in our study. These counties tend to have high rates of poverty and unemployment. The worst-scoring Georgia county is Richmond County, which scores a 2.42 on our index.
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