To create the list, Dan Buettner, a NatGeo fellow who writes about longevity and health, enlisted the help of Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. Witters designed an index of 15 metrics that contribute to happiness, including how often people visit the dentist, take vacations and receive recognition for improving their communities. Then, he analyzed 250,000 interviews ― conducted between 2014 and 2015 in 190 metropolitan areas ― to see how each city measured up.
Boulder was the clear winner, partly due to its strong sense of community and access to nature, followed by Santa Cruz and Charlottesville. Most of the happiest metros were in the West and along coasts, and lowest-ranking areas were in the eastern central part of the U.S.
10 Anchorage, Alaska
Residents of Anchorage "take very good care of themselves," Witters told HuffPost. The city has the second-highest exercise rate in the nation, according to his research.
9 Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
Oral health is a closely linked to overall wellbeing, and this Cape Cod city ranked third in the nation for how frequently its residents visit the dentist, according to Witters. Many residents also report "feeling active and productive every day," he added.
8 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut
Witters says this metro area ranks within the top five percent of cities nationwide for residents who say they have "someone in their life who encourages health."
7 Provo, Utah
This beautiful city has the lowest smoking rate in the nation, according to Witters' research.
6 San Jose, California
More than in any other metro, residents in San Jose said they had "enough money to do everything they want to do."
5 San Luis Obispo, California
Residents in SLO told Witters that they "eat healthy every day."
4 Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins residents exercise often, and the city ranked second for how "safe and secure" its residents feel.
3 Charlottesville, Virginia
Charlottesville ranked second overall for percentage of residents who said they've received "recognition for helping to improve their city or area" in the last year.
2 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
Residents of this coastal city stay mentally active: They're "the best in the nation at learning new and interesting things daily," Witters said.
1 Boulder, Colorado
Residents in Boulder reported exercising more than in any other city, according to Witters.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.