Happy Living In Alabama

FootballAlabama is a happy state.

I say that with assurance and evidence provided by a scientific study. And this writer is happy that he lives in a state that ranks high on the “happy” list. If you will recall, I was rather “bummed” a few months ago, when another study ranked my current home city of Mobile, Alabama as a home for ugly men.

But revenge is sweet; and thanks to Rob Zeiger,who alerted me to the story; I happy to say that the “Happy study” beats the “ugly study”, hands down.

The study was conducted by Professor Andrew Oswald of the UK’s University of Warwick and Stephen Wu of Hamilton College in the USA.

The two professors first relied on research from a 2005-2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System random sample of 1.3 million United States citizens in which life-satisfaction in each U.S. state was measured. People were asked about their health and just how satisfied they were with their life. This provided a table of happiness by US State. But the survey is/was subjective. How do you rely on someone’s self declared level of happiness? How do you know they are telling the truth?

Wu and Oswald state, “Researchers have, for decades, longed for a more clearly external scientific check on, and corroboration of, well-being survey answers.”

kidbeach-790882The researchers discovered data conducted in 2003 by Stuart Gabriel and colleagues from UCLA which considered objective indicators for each individual State of the USA such as: precipitation; temperature; sunshine; coastal land; inland water; public land; National Parks; hazardous waste sites; environmental “greenness”; commuting time; violent crime; air quality; local taxes; cost of living and other factors. This allowed the creation of a rank order of US states showing which should provide the happiest living experience. This was truly external data that could be used to check Wu and Oswald’s survey study.

BamaWhit-788101When the data was combined, Oswald and Wu discovered that people were telling the truth. The “happiness” answers matched the data that would logically define a happy place to live. Citizens who described themselves as happy and satisfied tended to live in areas where it was warm, safe, secure and the cost of living wasn’t a stone around their necks.

And yeah those big states, like California (46) have sunshine and New York (Dead Last) have opportunity but the researchers also say they have a self-non fulfilling prophecy of dissatisfaction and unhappiness, because people rushed to them to “be happy” and wind up in crowded cities with a high cost of living, crime, and resulting unhappiness from those factors and others.

I kinda felt sorry for New York Times writer, Clyde Haberman as he tried to justify his city’s ranking as Number 51 out of 51 on the list. New York is a unhappy place to live, but Haberman states unhappiness could be a good thing, “More important, might contentment be overrated? Seriously, isn’t restlessness, even outright discontent, often a catalyst for creativity?”

Sounds to me like New Yorkers are getting a small taste of being on an “Ugly List”.

So, where are the happiest places to live in the United States?

1. Louisiana
2. Hawaii
3. Florida
4. Tennessee
5. Arizona
6. Mississippi
7. Montana
8. South Carolina
9. Alabama
10. Maine

daveparade-709335That’s right, Alabama is in the Top 10. My home state of Mississippi is Number 6 and one of my favorite cities, New Orleans; is in the #1 Happiest State in America. And this study was conducted before the Saints won the Super Bowl. In fact, six of the top ten states were in The South. It’s about time, Southern states land on a list that’s good and doesn’t rank them last. New York will have to “get over it”; this time.

I knew it all along, but now, Science proves I’m happy living in Alabama.

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About Dave Robison

Now Appearing in an Extended Engagement! Join Dave Robison as he takes you into his world and his daily life of reviving a stand-up comedy career. Prepare for side trips exploring Public Relations, marketing and business ethics. Enjoy some frequent detours describing his observations on life. Read the exploits of this self-proclaimed Renaissance-man and blooming blogger as you go On The Road With Dave. From Mobile, Alabama comes Dave Robison, a confessed Internet-aholic, middle-aged-married-man, who's generally a nice guy--he just has one or two issues. Stand-Up Comedy by Dave Robison is available for corporate events, college campuses, and nightclubs.
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2 Responses to Happy Living In Alabama

  1. Hurray! If you’re happy and you know and the stats confirm it, blog about it! Nice post.

  2. Rachel says:

    Love it! It’s so nice to not be next to last on a list…finally.

    BTW – I find it interesting that Louisiana is #1 – everyone that I know that used to live in Louisiana remembers it as the Dark Days of their Lives.

    I find Alabama very happy, and I’m glad that science backs me up!

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