SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – In Santa Barbara, happiness may come at a high cost. A recent study by S Money found the American city with the highest cost of happiness is right here on the Central Coast.
A previous study from Purdue University in 2018 calculated the cost of happiness by how much money would make people feel satisfied with life. S Money then recently adjusted those numbers by the cost of living in an area.
The study found the cost of happiness in Santa Barbara was $162,721 – 85% higher than the lowest in the country, Knoxville, TN with $88,032.
The average personal income in Santa Barbara is $54,426 according to the US Census Bureau.
On the bright side, Harvard researchers found that more money does not necessarily make people happier, according to USA Today. The study discovered happiness relied more on how you spend the money you have versus the amount of money you have. Researchers suggest buying more experiences and fewer material goods.
For more reassurance, former Vassar College instructor and activist, Jeff Golden, said in his book "Reclaiming the Sacred", that money only accounted for 2% to 4% of people's happiness.