COVID-19 Cramps Plano’s Rank Among 20 Happiest Cities

Plano scores lower among residents than it did prior to the onset of the pandemic.

Plano is the 17th happiest city in the United States to live, according to a new study, but the coronavirus has had a negative impact on residents.

“The stress caused by the health crisis and economic uncertainty took a toll on people’s well-being,” said Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst. “The lockdowns and lack of social interaction that followed only added to the population’s emotional distress, causing happiness levels to drop significantly.”

Overall, the WalletHub analysis found that Plano scored points for having the tenth lowest share of people who use marijuana at 6.25%, he sixth lowest share of adults with poor mental health at 10.5% and an income growth rate of 15.9%.

“To improve its ranking, Plano would need to have a higher income-growth rate, a lower underemployment rate, shorter work weeks, and lower commute times,” Gonzalez told Dallas Express. “Plano would also be a happier city if residents had more average leisure time spent per day.”

The Lone Star state overall has the tenth largest share of households earning annual incomes above $75,000 at 61.1%, the seventh lowest poverty rate, and the sixth smallest separation and divorce rate at less than 16%, according to the study.  But Brownsville and Laredo were among the least happy cities.

“Some of the factors that contributed to Brownsville and Laredo ranking so low include the low adequate sleep and sport participation rates, the large share of adults with poor mental health, and high food insecurity rates,” Gonzalez said in an interview. “These two cities also registered low shares of households earning annual incomes above $75,000, high poverty rates, a small number of job opportunities, low job security and high unemployment.

California had five of its cities score in the top 20 happiest places to live. Fremont, San Jose, Santa Rosa, Irvine and San Francisco all have a high life satisfaction index, high adequate sleep and sports participation rates, a low number of retail opioid prescriptions dispensed, low shares of adults with poor mental health, high life expectancy, and low food insecurity.

“They also have large shares of households earning annual incomes above $75,000, low poverty rates, low unemployment, and small bankruptcy rates,” Gonzalez added. “Other cities would need to increase their overall quality of life and strengthen their labor markets. Their residents would also have to have healthier lifestyles.”

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