Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study reveals 'unhappiest' cities in the U.S.

Date:
July 22, 2014
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
New research identifies the unhappiest cities in the U.S., but finds that some young people are still willing to relocate to them for a good job opportunity or lower housing prices. The analysis suggests people may be deciding to trade happiness for other gains.

A map of the U.S. which shows each metropolitan and rural area’s adjusted life satisfaction.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of British Columbia

New research identifies the unhappiest cities in the U.S., but finds that some young people are still willing to relocate to them for a good job opportunity or lower housing prices.

The analysis, co-authored by Joshua Gottlieb of the University of British Columbia's Vancouver School of Economics, suggests people may be deciding to trade happiness for other gains.

The working paper "Unhappy Cities," released last week by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, relies on a large survey that asks respondents about their satisfaction with life. This measure, which is often interpreted as a measure of happiness, indicates that individuals may willingly endure less happiness in exchange for higher incomes or lower housing costs.

"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," says Gottlieb. "This means that researchers and policy-makers should not consider an increase in reported happiness as an overriding objective."

Gottlieb and his co-authors investigated which regions of the U.S. tend to report lower life satisfaction, and found that residents of declining cities appear less happy than those who live in other parts of the U.S. Long-term residents of these cities appear equally as unhappy as newer residents, suggesting that the city's unhappiness persists over time. Historical data indicate that cities currently in decline were also unhappy in their more prosperous past.

Top 10 happiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million (as of 2010):

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

Top 10 unhappiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million (as of 2010):

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

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

The least happy American regions are:

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


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Edward L. Glaeser, Joshua D. Gottlieb, Oren Ziv. Unhappy Cities. NBER Working Paper, 2014 DOI: 10.3386/w20291

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Study reveals 'unhappiest' cities in the U.S.." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722103917.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2014, July 22). Study reveals 'unhappiest' cities in the U.S.. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722103917.htm
University of British Columbia. "Study reveals 'unhappiest' cities in the U.S.." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722103917.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins