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America’s Top 10 “Happiest” Cities

author: brionnamuyco 7:00 am EST September 12, 2013
By USDR recent Harris Poll showed that 33% of Americans are very happy, and explored the many factors which may play into Americans' happiness, including age, gender and race/ethnicity. Now, findings using Harris Interactive's new Harris Poll® Major Market Query (MMQ) survey confirm that location (…, location, location, as real estate agents have been saying for years) can also have a strong relationship with overall happiness. According to the Harris Poll Happiness Index, which uses a series of questions to calculate Americans' overall happiness, Americans in the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX region more likely than those in any of America's other top markets to qualify as "very happy" (with 38% qualifying as such, vs. a 10-market average of 33%); Americans in the San Francisco, CA market are least happy of the 10 areas measured, with only 28% of its residents qualifying as "very happy." These are among the findings of Harris Poll of 2,101 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older and living in the top 10 American markets by population (roughly 200 per market), surveyed online between July 24 and 30, 2013 by Harris Interactive. The study utilized the MMQ platform, an omnibus survey offering a sample of the 10 top major metropolitan areas of the United States. (Full results, including data tables, can be found here) Regional highs and lows Aggregate scores aside, in reality most areas display strengths and weaknesses when looking at individual aspects of how its residents reflect on their lives.  Looking at cities individually, from most to least "happy": Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (38% "very happy")
  • On the positive side, they are among the Americans most likely to say their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to them (75%) and that they rarely worry about their health (59%), as well as being among the least likely to feel their voices are not heard in national decisions that affect them (67%).
  • But even America's happiest city shows room for improvement. Dallas/Fort Worth residents are among the Americans least likely to agree that they have positive relationships with their family members (though it's worth noting that 83% do agree with this sentiment) and among the most likely to agree that they rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes they enjoy (34%).
Houston, TX (36% "very happy")
  • Like their Dallas/Fort Worth neighbors, Houston residents are also among those most likely to say their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to them (79%) and among the least likely to feel their voices are not heard in national decisions that affect them (67%).
  • However, Houston residents stand out from those of most other markets in that, well, they don't stand out in any negative way, attitudinally speaking.
Philadelphia, PA (34% "very happy")
  • Those in the city of brotherly love are among the most likely to say their relationships with friends bring them happiness (92%) and they're generally happy with their lives at this time (86%), while being the least likely by far to agree that they won't get much benefit from the things they do anytime soon (24%).
  • Like Houston residents, Philadelphians don't appear to have any especially negative sentiments.
Atlanta, GA (34% "very happy")
  • Atlanta residents are among those most likely to agree that they are optimistic about the future (81%) and that their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to them (77%), as well as being among the least likely to feel their voices are not heard in national decisions that affect them (67%).
  • On the down side, those in Atlanta are among the least likely to agree that their relationships with friends bring them happiness (though at 84%, a vast majority still agree with this) and the most likely by far to agree that they frequently worry about their financial situation (71%).
Los Angeles, CA (33% "very happy")
  • Angelenos are the group least likely to agree that their work is frustrating (32%) and are among those least likely to agree that they rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes they enjoy (28%).
  • Los Angeles sentiments do not show any especially negative tendencies.
NYC Metro, NY (33% "very happy")
  • The good: New Yorkers are among those most likely to say they rarely worry about their health (57%).
  • The bad: They are also among those most likely to feel their voices are not heard in national decisions which affect them (73%), to frequently worry about their financial situations (67%) and to find their work frustrating (41%).
Washington, D.C. (33% "very happy")
  • The District of Columbia is home to many highs and lows, with its residents being among those most likely to say their relationships with friends bring them happiness (94%), they have positive relationships with their family members (91%) and that they're generally happy with their lives at this time (85%), while being among the least likely to frequently worry about their financial situations (56%).
  • However, district residents are also less likely than those in other major markets to feel optimistic about the future (70%) and among those most likely to find their work frustrating (40%) and to say they won't get much benefit from the things they do anytime soon (39%).
Chicago, IL (32% "very happy")
  • Chicagoans are among those least likely to agree that their voices are not heard in national decisions that affect them (67%) and that they rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes they enjoy (27%).
  • They are also, however, among those least likely to agree that their relationships with friends bring them happiness (84%), that they're generally happy with their lives at this time (72%) and that they rarely worry about their health (47%).
Boston, MA (31% "very happy")
  • Bostonians are among those least likely to frequently worry about their financial situations (56%).
  • They are also among those least likely to feel their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to them (60%) and to agree that they rarely worry about their health (46%).
San Francisco, CA (28% "very happy")
  • Bay area residents are among those most optimistic about the future (79%).
  • Looking at negative attitudes, San Franciscans are among the least likely to feel their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to them (60%) and that they rarely worry about their health (46%), and among those most likely to feel their voices are not heard in national decisions which affect them (73%).


The opinions expressed in the columns written by US Daily Review's writers only reflect the opinion
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