Happy (and Not So Happy) Places

By Richard Florida

There's no shortage of lists of the world's happiest nations or of the happiest of the 50 U.S. states. The folks at the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index have also compiled detailed happiness scores for America's 435 Congressional Districts (see the map below).

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The table below shows the 10 highest-scoring and the 10 lowest-scoring congressional districts on the Well-Being Index. The table speaks for itself. The happiest districts are among the most affluent in the nation. Six of the top 10 are affluent and physically magnificent California communities. The least happy districts are mainly places of extreme disadvantage, inner-city neighborhoods in Detroit, Cleveland, South Philly, the Bronx, or Appalachia. There are a couple of slight anomalies - wealthy Grosse Point, Michigan, is lumped together with poor inner-city Detroit neighborhoods (wonder why that would be?), and given the devastation of greater Detroit it's not surprising that even the rich would be less happy then elsewhere. And hipster Williamsburg is lumped together with Bed-Stuy: But, then again, whoever said hipsters were happy...

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2009/11/happy-and-not-so-happy-places/29685/