Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it helps, and based on a number of economic measures, Loudoun County, Virginia, ranks as the second-happiest county in the country.
SmartAsset’s fifth annual rankings analyzed data on 980 U.S. counties, and considered things such as poverty, employment opportunities and economic stability. It also factored in longevity, marriage rates and healthy lifestyles.
Loudoun County ranked No. 3 last year, moved up a spot with a poverty rate of just 3.7% (the number of residents living below the poverty line), and an unemployment rate of just 2.48%. SmartAsset said employment opportunities are robust in Loudoun County.
Loudoun County residents enjoy relatively long lives. The average life expectancy in the county is 83.19 years.
Fairfax County tied Denver suburb Douglas County as the fifth-happiest.
SmartAsset says Fairfax County has the highest life expectancy in the top 10, with residents living an average of 83.73 years.
Fairfax County residents are also relatively healthy, both physically and financially. About 83.3% of residents get at least some physical activity and the personal bankruptcy rate is just 0.12 percent.
Fairfax County did get poor marks for poverty. With 6.1% of residents living below the poverty line, it has the highest poverty rate in the top 10.
Howard County, Maryland ranks 14th on the list.
For the second year in a row, the Minneapolis suburb of Carver County, Minnesota, ranks as the happiest county. In addition to a healthy economy, low unemployment and high rankings for physical activity, Carver County has higher-than-average marriage rates and lower-than-average divorce rates.
Check out SmartAsset’s list of the 25 Happiest Counties, and why they rank there.