As the old saying goes, “Money can’t buy happiness.” In other words, we don’t need to be millionaires to live good lives.

But how much money does the average American need to reach “peak happiness?” It depends on where you live.

A new study from Gallup and personal health company Sharecare discovered the ways that income impacts people’s emotions. Naturally, the results vary by region.

RELATED: This is how much you need to earn to be in your state’s top 1%

In part of the Midwest, an average household income of about $54,000 a year is all that’s needed for maximum contentment. The highest average — $120,000 a year — can be found in the East North Central region, which includes the Great Lakes, “for reasons that aren’t immediately clear,” per Gallup.

(Gallup-Sharecare / TIME)

The lowest income where happiness peaks is $42,000; that’s in the Atlanta metro area.

In five cities — Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. — happiness peaks at an average income of $54,000.

Residents of the Boston and Houston areas need $75,000 to reach peak happiness, while an average of $105,000 is required in Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, and Seattle.


5 habits of self-made millionaires

Beth Sawicki About the author:
Beth Sawicki is a content editor at Rare. Email her at
View More Articles