One thing Aurora is never short on is smiles. Spend a few minutes at a community event in Illinois’ second-largest city, and you’ll quickly learn that happiness is both authentic and contagious.

Now, after its most recent national ranking, the City of Lights can be referred to as the City of Lightheartedness.

In an effort to move beyond the doldrums brought on by the pandemic, personal finance website Wallethub set out to determine the happiest cities in America by comparing 182 of the largest cities – including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state.

Aurora, Illinois, came in at the top of the heap of joy with a ranking of 21. Chicago ranked 56.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a third of Americans to be so stressed that they sometimes find it hard to make basic decisions,” said Wallethub writer Adam McCann. “Location plays a hand in how bright or gloomy our days are. As this study aims to illustrate, moving to a certain city may help you be more content.”

Cities were compared across three key metrics - 1. Emotional and Physical Well-Being, 2. Income and Employment and 3. Community and Environment – and each city’s weighted average across all metrics was used to calculate its overall score and rank-order.

In the latter category of Community and Environment, which measures such areas as how people spend their leisure time and how much pride they have in their city, Aurora ranked 8th in the nation. 

Previously, Aurora has been named one of the most diverse cities in America, as well as one of the top cities where Black Americans fare best economically. In 2018, Aurora's 9th Ward was named the #3 destination for new millennial homeowners by a nationwide housing search website. 

See the full ‘2022 Happiest Cities in America’ report at