Turns out, money CAN buy happiness — but the amount you need depends on where you live

Traffic moves along Interstate 75 against the downtown skyline in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

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

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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.

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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.


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