- Numbers don't lie August 13
New York is the unhappiest city in America, according to a recent study from researchers at Harvard and the University of British Columbia. New York City was joined by Gary, Indiana, and three cities from Pennsylvania — Scranton, Erie, and Pittsburgh — in the Top 5 unhappiest cities. The five happiest? They're all in one state. NBC's Brian Williams does the honors:
The economists who analyzed the CDC data — Harvard's Edward Glaeser and Oren Ziv, and Joshua Gottlieb at the Vancouver School of Economics — weren't trying to bum out New Yorkers or create a buzz-worthy listicle, they were trying to figure out something much more interesting: Why are some cities persistently unhappy, and why do people choose to live there anyway?
Their tentative answer to the second question is that "the desires for happiness and life satisfaction do not uniquely drive human ambitions," and "humans are quite understandably willing to sacrifice both happiness and life satisfaction if the price is right." People in New York and other "unhappy" cities are compensated for their "misery," the authors write, and the residents of Louisiana — plus Charlottesville, North Carolina; Naples, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota — should be glad they stay there:
If we choose only that which maximized our happiness, then individuals would presumably move to happier places until the point where rising rents and congestion eliminated the joys of that locale. ["Unhappy Cities," via Harvard Gazette]
How does your city stack up? Here's their map, from the paper "Unhappy Cities," published by the National Bureau for Economic Research. Blue is happy; red is sad. --Peter Weber
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The simple trick to making better decisions in every aspect of life
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- Why 2014 may be as good as it gets for the Republican Party
- The U.S. government is actually trouncing Ebola. When will it get credit?
- 6 simple steps for making millions on a crappy horror movie
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- For the GOP, gay marriage could be the most important issue in 2016
Subscribe to the Week