It appears money can't buy happiness after all...
While happiness is relatively subjective (ask President Obama this week), the map below - using data from a recent working paper on happy (and unhappy) cities which mines responses from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national survey run by the CDC that has fueled most of what we know about the economics of happiness - quantifies just how ebulient or dysphoric each city is in America.
Unhappiness looks like it's concentrated in some wealthier, urban areas (New York ranks 318th out of 318), and also throughout the Rust Belt (Detroit, Akron and Pittsburgh).
Meanwhile, happier cities are newer Sun Belt cities, but their allure isn't just about the weather. One of the first patterns that may have jumped out at you on the above map is the role of climate: Sun-drenched cities seem happier; snow-covered places less so.
* * *
And The Happiest City In America Is...
* * *