Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Anthony Quintano

Study shows how much money you need to make to reach 'peak happiness' in NYC

Written by
Clayton Guse

Anyone who says that money can't buy happiness has never shared a one-bedroom apartment with three other ramen-chomping millennials. They've never had to empty their bank account to replace a 30-day MetroCard that fell onto the subway tracks. And they've almost certainly never been forced to choose between eating and paying rent.

But even though financial stability brings a certain level comfort and happiness, studies show that joy and elation peaks when people hit a certain level of income. A new study from Gallup and Time shows that the chances of experiencing positive emotions (happiness, enjoyment and smiling/laughter) increase with household income, but those chances reach a limit depending on where you live and how much you make. 

In the New York metropolitan area, Gallup found that residents reached peak happiness with an income of $105,000 per year. Any income made on top of that only serves to distract them from the fact that their life is insignificant and nothing they do with their time on Earth matters in the grand scheme of the universe. 

Residents in the Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Seattle areas also hit peak happiness at an annual income of $105,000, but other cities surveyed found happiness at much more modest levels. Chicagoans, for example, hit peak happiness at a mere $54,000 per year, and those living in and around Atlanta only need $42,000 to put on a smile. 

So if you find yourself wandering about the city at night, wondering why you haven't found joy in life, it could be because you're not raking in a six-figure income. If you are making that much money and still can't find joy out of life, go read some Sartre and engage in a serious internal dialogue about what it means to exist at all. 

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news


      The best things in life are free.

      Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

      Loading animation
      Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

      🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

      Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!