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Louisiana: The Happiest State

They must be putting happiness in the water in Louisiana.

Harvard Professor Edward Glaeser, Vancouver School of Economics professor Joshua Gottlieb, and Harvard doctoral student Oren Ziv used data collected in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Survey called the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and then adjusted it for age, sex, race, income, and other factors. The outcome….Louisiana is the nation’s happiest state!

The top five happiest cities in the United States are all in Louisiana, with Lafayette ranking number one. Just behind Lafayette are Houma, Shreveport-Bossier City, Baton Rouge, and Alexandria.

To come up with its rankings, 1.3 million Americans were polled on six categories:

  1. Life Evaluation: Rate your current life on a scale of 0-10 (10 being the best) and then imagine your life a couple of years from now and give another rating.
  2. Physical Health: The question asked about any health risks the individual has and whether or not that has kept them from doing age-related activities over the past month. This question went into more depth on the individual’s physical ailments.
  3. Healthy Behavior: Are you a smoker? How often do you work out? How many days a week do you eat five or more serving of fruits and vegetables?
  4. Emotional: Were you treated with respect all day yesterday? Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday? Did you learn or do something interesting yesterday?
  5. Work: Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your job? Do you get to use your strengths so you can do what you do best? Does your supervisor behave like a boss or partner? Does you supervisor create a trusting and open work environment?
  6. Basic Access: This section included medical related questions like whether or not the individual had been to the dentist or doctor this past year, do they have a doctor, do they have insurance, etc. It then included questions on general access to fresh fruits and vegetables, how safe it is to walk around at night where they live, and how satisfied or dissatisfied they are with the city.
Joy Cobert, a real estate agent in Lafayette, said she agrees with Lafayette’s ranking as the happiest city in the nation.

“Lafayette has a small, close-knit feel, and everybody is super friendly and they love this community,” Cobert said. “Everyone is very supportive of this community, but it has all the resources of a big city.”

The happiest cities are a little less metropolitan, located in the south, and are typically more sunny, outdoorsy states like Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona. Results show that the most urbanized, populated cities have the unhappy people, but those people live there due to business advantage. This leads to the conclusion that if people actually chose to live a happy lifestyle then they would move to happier places; however, humans sacrifice both happiness and life satisfaction if the price is right. And these unhappy cities continue to grow for this exact reason, spreading their misery.

People who live in unhappy cities DO make more money….so does money buy happiness? Those who work on Wall Street are scientifically miserable so move to Baton Rouge and BE HAPPY!