Monday, December 21, 2009

The most miserable of all states to be in: New York 

Science proves I really am wretched, that I'm not just imagining it...
A new study declares residents of the Empire State rank dead last in happiness among the 50 states...

The rankings were based on an annual nationwide survey of 1.3 million people by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The participants were asked, among other questions, how satisfied they were with their lives.

A pair of economists then compared the results compiled between 2005 and 2008 with other data covering quality-of-life issues - including taxes, crime, commuting and cost of living.

New York emerged as sadder than the rest, just behind Michigan and its 14.7% unemployment rate. The nation's most populous state, California, rated No. 46...
The full list of states.

The people who put this together had a scientific reason apart from finding out where they didn't want to move to. There's been a whole lot of "happiness research" lately, all dogged by the question of whether or not self-reported happiness scores relate to anything objective, or are just made up ad hoc and meaningless. So the researchers compared self-reported ratings of happiness by state to objective living conditions in the state (weather, tax levels, and so on). Their conclusion:
Across America, people’s answers trace out the same pattern of quality of life as previously estimated, using solely nonsubjective data, in a literature from economics ... There is a state-by-state match (r = 0.6, P < 0.001) between subjective and objective well-being.
Great! As a New Yorker I now know that I am not merely subjectively miserable, but objectively miserable too.