What does it mean to be happy? That's probably a loaded question for a lot of people. So if you're a publication planning on determining who is happy and who isn't, you better have some very good methodology.

WalletHub attempted the feat by looking at 30 different factors for major cities across the country. Those factors include financial well-being, physical health, mental health, the environment, and a sense of community. After compiling all the data, WalletHub determined that Portland, Maine ranks 21 in the entire nation for happiness.

Portland, Maine, USA downtown city skyline at dusk.
Sean Pavone

Digging deeper into how Portland ranked so high amongst all the major cities in America, it boiled down to scoring well within two specific criteria. Portland ranked high in financial well-being, with many residents gainfully employed, owning real estate, and retaining money in their savings. Portland ranked #7 in the country overall.

Portland, Maine, USA coastal townscape.
Sean Pavone

Portland did well in both physical and mental health, with low obesity rates and high activity counts, as well as having relatively low depression/suicide rates. Portland was awarded points for having substantial access to gyms and walking paths. Portland ranked #22 overall.

Lobster boats tied up to a pier, Portland, Maine.

The net negative for Portland was environmental factors, as well as community. A lengthy winter with gloomy conditions was used against Portland, as was rising commute times and Portland's public parks getting less favorable cleanliness scores. Portland regained some points thanks to volunteering and non-profits being prominent city-wide. Portland ranked 123 out of 180 nationwide.

Monument Square in Portland, Maine
Townsquare Media

While Portland still remains one of the happiest cities in America, it has dropped in recent years. Back in 2021, Portland was ranked #4 overall.

In case you're wondering, Fremont, California, was named the happiest city in America for 2023. As for New England, South Burlington and Burlington, Vermont, were the deemed the happiest cities in the region. They ranked nine and 10 overall on the list.

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