Americans, a ton of international data shows, work longer -- and weirder -- hours than nearly anyone else in the world. But while it's clear that Americans bust their butts to make this the world's biggest economy, effort isn't evenly distributed. In a nation of hard workers there are a few locations that stand out as particularly dedicated to their jobs.

Where are they? That's why WalletHub aims to figure out with it's annual ranking of America's hardest working cities. The yearly exercise compares 116 metro areas across all 50 states by digging into data like labor-force participation rates, average weekly work hours, and the share of workers with multiple jobs (you can get the full methodology and analysis here). After crunching the numbers, here are the cities that came out on top:

  1. Anchorage, AK
  2. Plano, TX
  3. Cheyenne, WY
  4. Virginia Beach, VA
  5. Irving, TX
  6. Scottsdale, AZ
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. Corpus Cristi, TX
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Sioux Falls, SD
  11. Denver, CO
  12. Dallas, TX

As you can see, the cities are spread from coast to coast (though Texas is clearly more than pulling its weight in terms of hard work), and range from tech hubs and government centers, to resource-rich industrial towns. Hard work apparently isn't defined by geography or economic sector. The bottom of the list, which includes Burlington, San Bernardino and Detroit, is equally diverse.

Is making this ranking a mark or honor or shame?

So what can we say about the cities that made this list more generally? One important thing to note is that while Americans tend to revere hard work, putting in more hours isn't always a good thing. On an individual level, long workweeks can be a sign of people barely scraping by and needing a second or third gig to make ends meet. Nor do long hours mean greater productivity (which measures output per hour) -- after a certain point how much we get accomplished each hour falls dramatically, research shows.

On a societal level, a punishing work grind can also indicate that individuals are being asked to pay privately for services like healthcare and higher education that are provided by social programs elsewhere. Without these programs, Americans need "more hours or work to achieve the equivalent lifestyle of Europeans," points out Howard University economics professor William E. Spriggs, commenting on the rankings.

One thing we might be able to to guess from these rankings, however, is how much hard work pays off in a particular city. "I would expect people in cities with greater dispersion of income (and mobility within that distribution) to work more hours," notes Purdue University lecturer Kelly Blanchard.

In other words, if you can see that putting your nose to the grindstone gets you somewhere (and slacking off holds hurts you badly), you're more likely to buckle down. Therefore, if there is one thing to say about these cities, it's probably that they're places where industriousness is rewarded.

What do you make of WalletHub's ranking?