Since one of the ongoing bits of wisdom about being happier usually involves getting outside, you'd think Missoula would be "over the moon", as the expression goes.

And while Missoula has made another list of the "Happiest Cities in America", the data suggests we could do better. Ironically, the area for the most improvement? Outside and improving our "community and environment."

The findings come in the annual report from the data crunchers at WalletHub, who analyzed everything from "Emotional & Physical Well-Being", to our jobs, economy, and the section on "community and environment." The report looked at research on happiness and measured again statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, the CDC, and other agencies. Each category was weighed against a point system.

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Missoula made a pretty good showing

The study puts Missoula at #81 on the overall list, with Billings at #115. That ranking is based on a number of details, with scores based on depression rates, life-satisfaction index, physical health, participation in sports, and even marijuana use.

Missoula's score of 55.05 is right behind Manchester, New Hampshire, and just ahead of Mesa Arizona. Billings is flanked by Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Brownsville, Texas.

Missoula actually ranked at #37 on "income and employment" with Billings 42nd. Ironic, given the complaints about wage growth and housing costs.

But here's the surprise

Both cities could improve their overall ranking if we had shown better scores for "community and environment", (#167 for Billings and #133 for Missoula). That includes how we're rated on separations and divorce rates, hate crime incidents, and even the amount of parks we have and "leisure time spent more day."

And while we can't do much about "ideal weather", most of those other components are things we CAN work on. Best of all, we could be happier about it.

And if a little more care and consideration helps everyone's happiness, that's where Montana could shine.

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