A key to happiness is... where you live?

GreatLakes

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 6, 2015
All I can say is that I was happy when I lived in Chicago (River Forest to be exact) then Fort Collins, CO and where I live now. :)
These lists are good and all but in the end happiness isn't going to come from anything external. Not a job or where you live. Both may help a bit but happiness comes from within IMO. The reverse is also true. If you are a grumpy person for whatever reason you have to change your mindset more than your zip code.

Do I want to move to Fargo, ND? God no. If I do will I still be a happy person? Of course. Charleston, WV is pretty low on the list but if I were to move there for a job being that close to mountains to run would contribute positively to my happiness.
 
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  • Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
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    Feb 28, 2016
    I lived in one, and have visited quite a few and would probably not put the majority of them on the list at all.
     

    LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
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    Sep 8, 2014
    These lists are good and all but in the end happiness isn't going to come from anything external. Not a job or where you live. Both may help a bit but happiness comes from within IMO. The reverse is also true. If you are a grumpy person for whatever reason you have to change your mindset more than your zip code.

    Do I want to move to Fargo, ND? God no. If I do will I still be a happy person? Of course.
    Yes & no. Extreme poverty,
    lack of opportunity, environmental violence etc in many of the areas can be hard to overcome. You can only look on the bright side so much.
     

    GreatLakes

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2015
    Yes & no. Extreme poverty,
    lack of opportunity, environmental violence etc in many of the areas can be hard to overcome. You can only look on the bright side so much.
    I don't know if that is a reflection of the city as much as your circumstances. Someone with no marketable job skills living in the worst area of Toledo isn't going to be more happy, at least I wouldn't think, living in Plano, Tx if they are still in a terrible area and still can't get a job. San Francisco is high on that list and they have a terrible problem with poverty and homelessness.

    I also think these lists need to take into account the entire Metro, not just the city proper. I don't live inside the city limits of anywhere on that list and the one I am near is pretty low but when you look at the Metro we actually have a great quality of life, you just don't want to be inside the city limits.
     
  • Colleen27

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2007
    Could it possibly be compared to a life in the golden cage?? Comfy, yet boring and predictable?
    I don't think there's anything cage-like about living in a place with decent schools and community services. My husband works in Detroit, which is a bit of a commute from where we live, and I adore the city. I aspire to move back when the kids are grown. But the fact is that even people who love the city leave when they are in the marriage-and-kids stage of life if they're able. Those who stay are those who can't afford to move to a place with adequate public schools and safe neighborhoods/parks for kids to play, and despite a lot of improvement in the city's downtown and business districts, that rising tide hasn't done much to help the neighborhoods yet. Hours on buses to get kids to charter schools or to get to where the jobs are aren't uncommon stories, and the city has seen a massive flight of the middle/working class to the suburbs. There is a growing professional class in midtown, but they're still hugely outnumbered by residents in underserved, underpopulated neighborhoods.

    These lists are good and all but in the end happiness isn't going to come from anything external. Not a job or where you live. Both may help a bit but happiness comes from within IMO. The reverse is also true. If you are a grumpy person for whatever reason you have to change your mindset more than your zip code.
    I think that assumes a certain level of basic needs are met no matter where you live. But for those for whom those needs aren't met - which is largely what is reflected in this list - some places are harder to get a basic foothold than others and more likely to leave people mired in bad circumstances from generation to generation.

    I agree with you that including the metro area would give a more complete picture, though. I don't think the Detroit area is a particularly unhappy place - probably somewhere in the middle of the pack - but when you exclude all of the suburbs, where most of the people who work and play in Detroit live, you are skewing the dataset toward the poorest and least happy in the region.
     

    Colleen27

    DIS Veteran
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    Mar 31, 2007
    I don't know if that is a reflection of the city as much as your circumstances. Someone with no marketable job skills living in the worst area of Toledo isn't going to be more happy, at least I wouldn't think, living in Plano, Tx if they are still in a terrible area and still can't get a job. San Francisco is high on that list and they have a terrible problem with poverty and homelessness
    A lot of the places near the top of the list line up closely with the places that have stronger-than-average job markets, though. Someone with no skills is more likely to find a job in Plano or Fargo than in Toledo or Detroit, and more likely to make a wage they can live on when they do find one. Fargo (and ND on whole) is one of those places where worker shortages are making news and wages are rising without government intervention.

    I do wonder about some of the So Cal, Bay Area and Hawaii cities on the list. My guess is that whatever data sources were used don't account for the homeless population in at least some of their survey methods. And I didn't see any control for cost of living, so the weighting assigned to the proportion of residents making more than $75K/year would give expensive places a boost without accounting for the fact that the money doesn't go as far there.
     

    Kathryn Merteuil

    Barden Bella
    Joined
    May 11, 2012
    Granted I haven't been to most of the places on the list, I think there may be a lot of truth to it in regards to atmosphere. I definitely felt a different vibe between #15 vs #151.

    I guess non-Chicago, IL is so miserable it doesn't even make the list. I know there aren't many cities, but I would have thought Peoria would have been mentioned, probably not as a happy place though.
     
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  • DisneyHardin

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    Jan 20, 2010
    Lots of generational poverty, low education, poor health, and rampant drug abuse in most of those states. As a Kentuckian who is soon to be a Floridian again (I have a job lined up, juust waiting for house to sell.), I can say that, at least here, there is not of lot of "fun" to be had, even though I live in the 2nd biggest city in the state. Many, many people here are unfriendly and depressed and take it out on everyone around them. Culturally, the only interests seem to be bourbon, tobacco, horse racing, and college basketball. Obesity is the norm. I meet people daily who tell me "I can only drink pop, water makes me sick". Most people my age are on drugs or in a suboxone treatment program. At least once a year I have to call the police on a random man who is chasing me or beating on my car or harassing me (different ones each time, the most recent one saw me walk out m of work and came at me ). I cannot wait to leave this place, and I can understand why it doesn't rank highly.
    Wow, that is a lot of generalizations about the people in Kentucky. I also live in KY and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Everyone in my life seems generally happy and content. I’ve never heard anyone say water makes them sick. I do t personally know anyone addicted to drugs or in a treatment program. I’ve never once had to call the police because someone was chasing me or beating in my car. Currently I live in Louisville, but spent the first 29 years of my life just outside Lexington.
     

    mom2rtk

    Invented the term "Characterpalooza"
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2008
    Lots of generational poverty, low education, poor health, and rampant drug abuse in most of those states. As a Kentuckian who is soon to be a Floridian again (I have a job lined up, juust waiting for house to sell.), I can say that, at least here, there is not of lot of "fun" to be had, even though I live in the 2nd biggest city in the state. Many, many people here are unfriendly and depressed and take it out on everyone around them. Culturally, the only interests seem to be bourbon, tobacco, horse racing, and college basketball. Obesity is the norm. I meet people daily who tell me "I can only drink pop, water makes me sick". Most people my age are on drugs or in a suboxone treatment program. At least once a year I have to call the police on a random man who is chasing me or beating on my car or harassing me (different ones each time, the most recent one saw me walk out m of work and came at me ). I cannot wait to leave this place, and I can understand why it doesn't rank highly.
    You sound very unhappy there. It's probably good you're leaving.
     

    Colleen27

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2007
    Granted I haven't been to most of the places on the list, I think there may be a lot of truth to it in regards to atmosphere. I definitely felt a different vibe between #15 vs #151.
    I think vibe is more about regional social norms than happiness. Detroit is dead last on this happiness list and yet, it is probably the friendliest northern city I've been in. The people are just nicer and more helpful than Chicagoans or Bostonians in my experience (and against all stereotypes, I'd put NYC above those two as well). There's a lingering southern touch to longtime Detroiters, the legacy, I think, of the great migration years in the early 20th century. Sometimes that friendliness expresses itself in funny ways - I once had a very nice, obviously poor black gentleman on a bicycle give me unsolicited directions to the expressway because he assumed that a minivan driving white girl in his neighborhood couldn't be anything but lost, and when I told him I wasn't, he chatted with me a bit about the restaurant I was heading to and other good places for southern cooking/soul food in the city - but a lot of the people I've encountered in a lifetime of living in and around the city are actually surprisingly friendly, almost small town friendly, even though their lives are hard.

    Wow, that is a lot of generalizations about the people in Kentucky. I also live in KY and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Everyone in my life seems generally happy and content. I’ve never heard anyone say water makes them sick. I do t personally know anyone addicted to drugs or in a treatment program. I’ve never once had to call the police because someone was chasing me or beating in my car. Currently I live in Louisville, but spent the first 29 years of my life just outside Lexington.
    No kidding! It must be hard/unhappy to live in a place where you have such disgust for the people and the local culture. I love Kentucky; we spent a few days in Louisville on our way to the eclipse a couple summers ago and it wasn't nearly long enough. Berea is a long-time favorite weekend destination of ours, and the physical landscape of the state is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. I know there are problems, in Appalachia as well as in the urban centers, but there also seems to be a lot of good.
     

    DLgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    WooHoo! Number 2!

    We ARE very happy here. I tell everyone who will listen how amazing my city is. I have spent 10 years living here so far and can vouch 100% that it is a really, really REALLY great place to live. I very firmly believe that where you live is directly correlated to happiness and life satisfaction. When we lived in northern VA, for 4 years recently, we were miserable the whole time. Our life circumstances were the same. We came back and have been happier ever since.

    I can't put my finger on what, exactly, it is that makes us so happy here. A lot of it has to do with having a well funded city government that spends wisely and has residents at the forefront of its spending priorities. Our city has been named ths most fiscally responsible in the nation. We are also the safest large city in the nation, several years running. We have more than 280 public parks and green spaces. There is a focus on quality healthcare (also #2 in the nation on that). It's multicultural and people are generally respectful of everyone. There are hundreds and hundreds of restaurants, of any cuisine you could ask for. The school district is phenomenal. Jobs are plentiful, with over 30,000 companies headquartered here. The location between the sea and mountains is beautiful and provides numerous recreational opportunities. I can look out my window and see mountains, and then be at the beach in 15 minutes. Disneyland is 15 minutes away (talk about happiness!). We are halfway between L.A. and San Diego, so we can easily travel to either. There is a major airport right at the edge of our city. Everything you need is right here.

    We have a motto here. "Far from nothing. Close to perfect." Pretty much sums it up.

    ETA: It IS expensive to live here. Not gonna sugar coat that. Our take home pay is around $130K per year, and we feel very middle class because we can't ever even dream of being able to buy a home at the prices here. But, we are happy renters! We can afford to stay here and we will, because we love living here so much.
     
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    Keli

    <font color=darkcoral>We're smarter than the avera
    Joined
    Oct 27, 1999
    Wow, that is a lot of generalizations about the people in Kentucky. I also live in KY and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Everyone in my life seems generally happy and content. I’ve never heard anyone say water makes them sick. I do t personally know anyone addicted to drugs or in a treatment program. I’ve never once had to call the police because someone was chasing me or beating in my car. Currently I live in Louisville, but spent the first 29 years of my life just outside Lexington.
    I'm also from KY and my response to Happyinwonerland's post is similar to yours in many ways. I am very happy where I live and I wouldn't want to move elsewhere. Actually we did move for 4yrs to a lovely small town in MI due to a job change but when we had the opportunity to return to KY we took it and have never looked back. I don't see the widespread attitudes that HIWL mentioned, nor have I ever heard anyone complain about the water. Substance abuse is an issue for sure, not really among my family or friends but due to our jobs both DH and I are aware of the scope of opiate abuse in KY and the surrounding states. The job market is fairly strong at the moment. Although the salaries are lower than in many areas of the country, the cost of living is lower as well. Crime is very low in my area of KY and the natural beauty of this part of the world is wonderful. Rolling hills, lakes, ponds, lots of trees, wildlife, and not much light pollution which thrills my astronomy minded hubby, lol.
     

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