South Florida fares poorly in annual list of “happiest places to live”

MIAMI (WSVN) - Florida may be known as the home of the “happiest place on earth,” but that joy apparently does not apply to those of us in the southern portion of the state.

Three of South Florida’s four largest cities fall in the bottom third of WalletHub’s annual rankings of the happiest places to live. Out of 150 U.S. cities listed, Miami ranks 103rd, Fort Lauderdale at 105th, and Hialeah at 113th.

The website ranks cities based on four main factors: emotional and physical well-being, income and employment, and community and environment. While the three cities got positive marks for the first category, their poor showings in the latter two brought them down.

South Florida performed no better when it came to specific category breakdowns. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Hialeah, and Pembroke Pines hold the unenviable tie for last place in the “lowest volunteer rate” list. Hialeah also makes an appearance at 147th on the list of “lowest income growth” and 146th for “lowest sports-participation rate,” while Miami came in at 147th for “highest separation and divorce rate.” Ouch.

Pembroke Pines had the region’s best showing, ranking 65th on the list. Florida overall doesn’t fare well on the list, with the highest ranking going to Cape Coral in 44th place. California, meanwhile, is the clear winner, taking 8 of the top 10 spots. San Francisco’s Bay Area cities fared the best, taking three of the top four spots.

Overall, Florida appears to be pretty miserable, coming in 35th on the website’s ranking of the 50 states. The Sunshine State made several other poor showings, placing in the bottom five in several categories, including lowest volunteerism, highest divorce rate, lowest income growth, and highest long-term unemployment rate.

At least we can still brag about our weather.

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