Report ranks Peoria 35th "happiest" city in the country

By WEEK Producer

March 28, 2014 Updated Mar 28, 2014 at 9:59 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Peoria residents seem to be quite happy.

There’s a new Gallup report on the well-being of Americans. It lists everything from physical health, exercise habits, job satisfaction and emotional health.

Out of the 189 communities surveyed, Peoria ranks 35th.

That means residents in Peoria said they feel healthy, happy and satisfied with their lives in the river city.

Most of the residents we spoke with said they are not too surprised that Peoria has a high rate of well-being.

"I enjoy the city and I enjoy the downtown with the skyline,” said Peoria resident Gary Smith. “It is a great place to walk and a great place to live."

Smith has lived in Peoria his whole life. He said residents here have always had a large selection of activities to keep them active and healthy.

For Smith and many others, the view from the riverfront always brings a smile.

For others it's the city's large selection of food that gives them that extra pep in their step.

"A lot of great places to eat. You just need to look,” said resident Steven Jones. “I come down here every now and then to get some food. I go to One World and Mr. G's because I am in the downtown area a lot."

But many residents said it takes leaving Peoria to realize how well off they are.

"I am from the Chicago land area, so on a scale of happiness, people are much more happy here in Peoria,” said Bradley student Kelly Weigand.

"The schools, the cost of living and how it is 20 minutes from everything. It really is a polished gem,” said Peoria resident Hiram Toraason.

Peoria was the only city in Illinois to rank in the top 40.

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