What makes a city sad? A lack of fluffy frolicking puppies? Burnt-out buildings and vacant lots? Limited access to cupcakes? Measuring which cities in the country are the least content seems an objective pursuit, at best. Yet last month when the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index published their findings about which cities were the happiest, they ended up with the other end of the spectrum as well. The miserable, no-good, down-and-out cities, where, clearly, not a soul can manage a smile. I kid, of course. Undoubtedly there are sad people in the nation’s happiest city (Boulder, Co) as well as happy people in the saddest. But nonetheless, it’s interesting to see what the index came up with.
Based on the results of telephone surveys with a random sample of 352,840 adults, compilers of the index asked numerous questions about six sub-indexes: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. To determine how to include which cities, they used the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. In many cases, more than one city is included in the same MSA. Areas in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia were included.
The ranking used 188 MSAs altogether, here’s how they scored…number 1 being the most discontent of all.