December 9, 2014

WHICH IS WHY CITIES ARE DOOMED:

The Geography Of Happiness: Where Americans Are Happiest And Why (Ben Schiller, 12/09/14, Co.Exist)

[Stephan Goetz, a professor at Penn State,]  says suburban counties tend to be happier than urban or rural ones, and that non-white counties tend to be happier than whiter ones. People were also happier when they commuted less, moved homes less often, and lived in places deemed to have more closely-knit communities (higher levels of "social capital").

For example, a 1% increase in the share of non-whites in a county reduced the average number of poor mental health days by 0.08%--which is actually a larger number than it might seem, when you consider the whole country. "After controlling for other factors including income, educational attainment, place of residence, commuting time, social capital, there is still a residual, unexplained factor that leaves whites a little bit less happy than non-whites," Goetz says via email. "One possible factor that may explain this difference could be religious adherence, to the extent that it varies between whites and non-whites."

Goetz says suburbanites can have the best of both worlds. They can be close to their jobs but also near enough to activities downtown. They can avoid being around a lot of other people, but then they're not too far away either. However, the effect is dulled by commute times: The research found the longer people spend traveling, the less happy they feel.

Posted by at December 9, 2014 5:28 PM
  

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