Moving to one of America’s sunniest places can help those with SAD

Seasonal affective disorder emotionally affects millions of Americans each year (between 4 and 20 percent of the population, depending on who you ask), with women outnumbering men four to one. Also called the “winter blues,” it usually begins in the fall and lasts all winter (although it can also occur in the summer). It most often affects people in their 20s and 30s, and will most often affect people who live in latitudes north of 30°N or south of 30°S (i.e. cooler places with harsh winters and less sun) . According to, “SAD is rare, if it exists at all, in the tropics.”

People who lose interest in their usual activities, withdraw from social activities, feel sad or anxious, sleep or eat more, or feel irritability or heaviness in their arms and legs may have SAD. There are a variety of therapies to combat this disorder, including adding more vitamin D to the diet, the use of light therapy, and exercise. Another option may be to simply move to a sunnier city or town. If you’re just graduating from college or nearing retirement, why not consider moving to one of the sunniest places in America?

According to Marcelle Pick, a nurse practitioner specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, getting out every day “is one of the easiest ways to quickly alleviate the symptoms of seasonal depression.” Even spending as little as 15 minutes “connecting with nature” can be helpful, she says. So people who don’t enjoy outdoor activities, and don’t usually exercise outdoors, may find that if they move to the sunniest place in the country, Yuma, Arizona, for example, they won’t need to change So much your routine: Walking from the car to the office can offer enough exposure to offset winter blues. Direct sunlight through office windows is also beneficial. Or, if you’re an avid outdoorsman, you’ll find more opportunities to be outdoors if it’s sunny all year.

To help you decide which place is right for you, the Internet relocation company,, has put together a list of 25 of the best sunny places to live in the United States. All great places to live and work, these top places are ranked in order of highest percentage of sunny days for this article. Many of these cities and towns are located in the desert regions of the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado), where annual precipitation is low. However, there are some surprises, especially in California, Texas and even Alabama.

Yuma, AZ: 90% sunny days;

Las Vegas, NV: 85% sunny days;

Phoenix, AZ: 85% sunny days;

Tucson, AZ: 85% sunny days;

El Paso, TX: 83% sunny days;

Flagstaff, AZ: 79% sunny days;

Reno, NV: 79% sunny days;

Sacramento, CA: 78% sunny days;

Albuquerque, NM: 76% sunny days;

Long Beach, CA: 73% sunny days;

Honolulu, HI: 71% sunny days;

Santa Barbara, CA: 85% sunny days;

Los Angeles, CA: 80% sunny days;

San Diego, CA: 73% sunny days;

Miami, FL: 70% sunny days;

Denver, CO: 69% sunny days;

Grand Junction, CO: 68% sunny days;

Salt Lake City, UT: 66% sunny days;

Cheyenne, WY: 66% sunny days;

Columbia, South Carolina: 64% sunny days;

Boise, ID: 64% sunny days;

Rapid City, SD: 63% sunny days;

Little Rock, AR: 62% sunny days;

Charlotte, NC: 62% sunny days;

Topeka, KS: 61% sunny days;

Jackson, MS: 61% sunny days;

Birmingham, AL: 57% sunny days;