After being recognized among the best counties in the state and country for various economic and developmental growth categories earlier this month, the superlatives continue to roll in for Delaware County. Most recently, the county was named the 11th happiest county in the U.S. by SmartAsset, a financial technology company which offers financial advice and tools to assist in decisions on homebuying, retirement, taxes and more.
Last year, Delaware cracked the top 10 list, checking in at ninth, and was also 11th in the 2016 study.
In analyzing and ranking the country’s happiest counties, SmartAsseet considered eight factors. Those factors were: unemployment rate, poverty rate, affordability ratio, marriage rate, divorce rate, bankruptcy rate, life expectancy and physical activity rate. The study looked at 980 counties with a population of at least 50,000.
The top 10 happiest county’s in the country, the study found, are Carver (Minnesota), Lincoln (South Dakota), Loudoun (Virginia), Fairfax (Virginia), Williamson (Tennessee), Dallas (Iowa), Ozaukee (Wisconsin), Douglas (Colorado), Santa Clara (California) and Howard (Maryland) counties.
Carver, Loudoun and Fairfax counties were ranked in the top 5 for the third straight year. No other Ohio counties cracked the top 25 list, nor have they in either of the previous two studies. By region, there were nine states in the Midwest that were represented in the top 25, more than any other region.
Delaware County’s unemployment rate was listed at 3.3 percent, with a poverty rate of 4.9 percent, which is lower than six of the top 10 counties. Those numbers come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ January 2018 report.
According to the Census Bureau’s 2016 five-year American Community Survey, the marriage rate in the county is 62.5 percent, higher than all but two of the counties ahead of them in overall happiness. However, with an average life expectancy of 81.4, Delaware County was behind all top 10 counties.
It is unknown if there is any correlation between having a higher marriage rate than most counties and a lower life expectancy.
In studies published earlier this month, SmartAsset ranked Delaware County as the top county in the state in terms of incoming investments and mortgage approval rates. The county was also top in the state in new building permits issued and fourth in business establishment growth over the past three years.
Full results of the study, as well as previous published studies, can be found by visiting www.smartasset.com.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.