Fairfax, Loudoun counties among the happiest places in America

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Image credit McEnearney Associates

Two Northern Virginia counties seem to be taking a page out of Virginia-native Pharrell Williams’ book of “Happy,” because for the second year in a row, Loudoun and Fairfax Counties have come up as two of the happiest places in America, according to a new study conducted by SmartAsset.

In fact, Loudoun County has been named the No. 1 Happiest Place in America for the second year in a row. Meanwhile, Fairfax, which was No. 3 last year, has been bumped up to No. 2. To make these assessments, the study looked at counties with populations of 50,000 or more (almost 1,000 counties were considered) and took factors such as marriage rates, unemployment rates, poverty rates and life expectancy into consideration.

Loudoun County is so incredibly happy first and foremost because Loudoun’s poverty rate is the lowest of any county considered in the study. In fact, both the poverty and the unemployment rates in the county are less than 4 percent. In addition to that, Loudoun’s income ratio is more than 2.5, which means the median income is more than twice the cost of living. When it comes down to it, the county has the fourth-highest income ratio out of the counties included in the study. Not bad, Loudoun. Not bad at all.

At No. 2, Fairfax is just one of three counties included in the study to have a life expectancy of 83 years. Also, at $100,584, the county’s median income is just a bit less than twice the national median income. And this is in a county that also boasts a population that’s great than that of eight states and Washington, D.C. (1,117, 072 people at the time of the study).

A few interesting facts obtained from the study:

  • Seven of the 10 happiest counties are on the East Coast
  • The top 25 happiest counties all had marriage rates over 50 percent, which is the approximate average marriage rate in the U.S.
  • Three New Jersey counties made the top 10 list.
  • Orange County, Fla. (where Disney World is located) isn’t on the top 10 list
  • Orange County, Calif. (where Disneyland is located) isn’t either

—McEnearney Associates, “Northern Virginia gets and stays happy”

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