Do You Live In A Happy City?

happy-cityNew research recently released by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research has identified the happiest and unhappiest U.S. cities and regions. The data relies on a large survey about satisfaction with life. Interestingly the data suggests that people may be deciding to trade happiness for other gains and indicates that individuals may willingly endure less happiness in exchange for a higher income or lower housing cost.

The investigation took a close look at which regions of the U.S. reported lower life satisfaction and found that residents of declining cities appeared less happy than those who live in other parts of the U.S. They found that long-term residents of these cities appeared equally as unhappy as newer residents. This suggests that the citys unhappiness persists over time and that historical data indicates that cities currently in decline were also unhappy in their more prosperous past.

Our research indicates that people care about more than happiness alone, so other factors may encourage them to stay in a city despite their unhappiness, said co-author Joshua Gottlieb of the University of British Columbias Vancouver School of Economics. This means that researchers and policy-makers should not consider an increase in reported happiness as an overriding objective.

Here are the Top 10 happiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million:

1. Richmond-Petersburg, VA

2. Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA

3. Washington, DC

4. Raleigh-Durham, NC

5. Atlanta, GA

6. Houston, TX

7. Jacksonville, FL

8. Nashville, TN

9. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL

10. Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ

Here are the U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest reported happiness:

1. Charlottesville, VA

2. Rochester, MN

3. Lafayette, LA

4. Naples, FL

5. Baton Rouge, LA

6. Flagstaff, AZ

7. Shreveport, LA

8. Houma, LA

9. Corpus Christi, TX

10. Provo, UT

Here are the Top 10 unhappiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million:

1. New York, NY

2. Pittsburgh, PA

3. Louisville, KY

4. Milwaukee, WI

5. Detroit, MI

6. Indianapolis, IN

7. St. Louis, MO

8. Las Vegas, NV

9. Buffalo, NY

10. Philadelphia, PA

Here are the least happy American regions:

1. Scranton, PA

2. St. Joseph, MO

3. Erie, PA

4. South Bend, IN

5. Jersey City, NJ

6. Johnstown, PA

7. Non-metropolitan West Virginia

8. Springfield, MA

9. New York, NY

10. Evansville-Henderson, IN-KY

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