It seems people in some geographical regions of the United States are more likely to walk on the sunny side of the street.
Recent research from the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics analyzed survey respondents’ life satisfaction. That research, pulled together in “Unhappy Cities,” a U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, found that happiness isn’t the only measure by which people decide where to live.
“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 Joshua Gottlieb, co-author of the research. Those other factors include higher incomes and lower housing costs.
Gottlieb and his co-authors also found that residents of declining cities appear less happy, and long-term residents of these cities appear equally as unhappy as newer residents.
Though the research focused on the negative, it did identify parts of the U.S. where the residents have a sunnier outlook. The top 10 happiest metropolitan areas of the country:
- Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia
- Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, Virginia
- Washington, D.C.
- Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Nashville, Tennessee
- West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Florida
- Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, New Jersey