I love list and am pleased to see Nashville at number one on so many list or at least in the top ten. This list of happiest metro areas was published in Science Daily in July 2014, based on data from 2010, so it is five years old now. Traffic is a little worse than it was five years ago and that was before the Music City Center, the new downtown baseball park and a lot of downtown growth. I wonder how we would compare now? I assume we would still be in the top ten.
One thing I notice about this list is that they are all southern cities except for number ten, that is if you consider Washington DC a southern city. Are there other factors these cities have in common? What is the occupations of people in these cities? What is the poverty rate? Do they have great parks? To they have good places to eat, and good night life, professional sports teams, and good museums, and good schools? Do they have mass transit? Washington D. C. has a subway system, but not a great system. I don't think the others do, bit I don't know. Washington D.C also has terrible traffic and this is a list of the metropolitan area, so it includes those people who commute and sit in traffic two hours a day. Maybe bad traffic does not make people unhappy. Washington has great extremes of wealth and poverty, so apparently that does not create a lot of unhappy people. Washington D. C itself has terrible schools but since this is the Metro area, maybe the suburban communities have good schools. I don't know. I wish this report went further and examined the factors that make a happy metropolitan area.
I am surprised to see Atlanta, Georgia on this list. Atlanta is always held up as an example of what we do not want Nashville to become, yet Atlanta ranks higher in happiness than Nashville. I notice that not a single California city is on the list. I know California has its problems with excessive taxation and drought, but I always thought San Fransisco would be a "happy" city. Austin Texas is not on the list. Portland Oregon is not on the list. New Orleans Louisiana is not on the list. Lots of places that seem in someway desirable places to live are not on the list. Almost everyone likes visiting the beach, yet only one of the ten is located on a beach.
What is the number one unhappiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million? New York City. I guess with all New York City has to offer, it still does not produce happy people.
Top 10 happiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million (as of 2010):
1. Richmond-Petersburg, VA
2. Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA
3. Washington, DC
4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
5. Atlanta, GA
6. Houston, TX
7. Jacksonville, FL
8. Nashville, TN
9. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL
10. Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ