The Happiest Cities, States and Countries

The redder the state, the happier its people.  The bluer the state, the less happy.
The redder the state, the happier its people. The bluer the state, the less happy.

If you’re considering relocation, wouldn’t it be preferable to locate to where the people are more positive, optimistic, and happy, than somewhere with dour, negative, unhappy people?

Okay, so you might have other issues that you rank higher than a vague ‘happiness’ factor, but in the mythical scenario where all other things are equal, it is something to consider, don’t you think?  A happy community probably has less ‘real’ crime, more complete employment, better services, more honest elected officials, and so on.

If you do agree that happiness is an interesting thing to understand, that rather begs the question ‘so how do you measure happiness’?  The easy answer would seem to be ‘ask people’ but in this modern age, why use an easy approach when there’s a ‘better’ high tech approach?  So a team of researchers at the University of Vermont came up with a list of more than 10,000 words, each one of which it scored as implying happiness or unhappiness, then worked through millions of Twitter tweets, sorted by location, to calculate the relative levels of happiness, as expressed in tweets.

Interestingly, some poor choices for prepper retreats scored highly on the happiness scale (and vice versa).

The happiest five cities were first Napa CA, followed by Idaho Falls ID, Longmont CO, Mission Viejo/Lake Forest/San Clemente CA, and Simi Valley CA.  Other featured cities in the ‘American Redoubt’ included Spokane WA (scoring at 11th place), Nampa ID (41st) and Cour d’Alene ID (109th).

The least happy city (of the 373 evaluated) was Beaumont TX, followed by Albany GA, Texas City TX, Shreveport LA and Monroe LA.

Of course, no prepper would want to move to a city, anyway.  So let’s also look at states.  The five happiest states were Hawaii in first place, followed by Maine, Nevada, Utah and Vermont.  The unhappiest state was Louisiana, followed by Mississippi, Maryland, Delaware and Georgia.  The three core redoubt states scored 7th for Idaho, 10th for Wyoming, and 26th for Montana.

To be fair, there’s not a huge difference in score as between the happiest and least happy states.

Here’s an interesting article that summarizes the findings of the team and also shows international happiness scores, too.  Internationally, based on an OECD survey,  the happiest five countries are Switzerland (happiest) followed by Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark.  The five unhappiest are Hungary (least happy) followed by Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Estonia.  The US placed slightly better than average.

Surprisingly Mexico rated significantly happier than the US, which begs the question ‘If they’re so happy in Mexico, why do they keep coming here?’.  🙂

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