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Fremont is the Happiest City in the U.S.

In March 2022, Fremont, California, a suburban “American dream” city, was named the Happiest City in the United States. So what makes a city happy, and what do Fremont residents say about this?

Illustrated by Melody Zhang

By Praghna Palaparthy and Benjamin Qiao

Editor: Naomi Lin


Judging Criteria

What factors make a city happy? Does it depend on depression or poverty rates? According to Wallethub’s list of 2022's Happiest Cities in America, Fremont received an overall score of 77.13 points and ranked first overall and in the emotional and physical well-being category. It came second in the community and environment category, and had the lowest depression rate. The point system that was used to calculate the scores depends on how many points each topic received depending on its significance, for example, Life-Satisfaction Index is 2.82 points, but Physical-Health Index is 5.63 points. Each topic is weighted by its impact on people’s happiness. If the topic is more significant it is considered double weighted, average importance is full weighted. If it is not as relevant it is half weighted.



I asked a few people living in the city about the headline. Some agreed that Fremont is rightfully the happiest city: “Fremont has good economic status and many people who have a good education or job. It is a very convenient city, with many schools and general stores. In short, it seems reasonable to me that Fremont has been named the happiest city.”

Another Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) student also states, “Honestly, I haven’t been to other cities in California too much. Still, out of the cities I have been to, Fremont is one of the happier ones. We have a good community, and everyone in our city is of similar wealth status, so there isn't a huge poverty gap.”

This sentiment isn't reserved to students, an elder community member said, “I have lived here for many years, and it is a great place to raise a family. Homelessness is a crisis in most of California. I have seen our mayor and our governor take steps to reduce it, for example, the homkey project or the library giving away food. Fremont is centrally located in the Bay Area, and the climate is not too hot or not too cold.”

On the other hand, a resident says, “Fremont isn’t the happiest city. Fremont is one of the most expensive cities to live in compared to other cities. Other cities nearby are less expensive but have much better facilities, such as fully funded schools.”

Many residents have moved away from Fremont due to its expensive lifestyles. For instance, a former citizen of Fremont states, “Fremont is costly, and the housing rates are very high compared to many other areas. It is harder to raise a family in this generation in Fremont due to the expensive rates.” There are many flaws to this city, such as our crime rates, law enforcement, poverty rates, homelessness, and the expensive patrol, houses, etc. According to Fremont, CA Crime Rates and Statistics - NeighborhoodScout, “the chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Fremont is 1 in 36.

Based on FBI crime data, Fremont is not one of the safest communities in America. The city has a crime rate that is higher than 77% of the state's cities and towns of all sizes”. Many current citizens notice these issues. Another significant issue a high school student who has recently moved to the city had noticed was that "Fremont is a highly competitive ground when it comes to education.” Because they have high standards to meet, they face tedious amounts of stress, which is an essential factor to consider for the happiest city in the U.S.

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