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TribBlog: Don't Worry, Be Sixteenth Happiest

Texas is the sixteenth-happiest state in the nation, according to a just-released study. (Good news, Governor: Washington, D.C., is thirty-seventh!)

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According to a study by the U.K.'s University of Warwick and Hamilton College in Clinton, New York — from what I hear, an awesome school that produces incredibly charming magazine editors turned nonprofit news entrepreneurs — Texas is the sixteenth-happiest state in the nation. Louisiana is first; New York is not only last but 51st, since 37th-ranked Washington, D.C. was inexplicably included. (Hold your tongue, Governor.)

Says U. of Warwick's Professor Andrew Oswald:

"The beauty of this statistical method is that we are able to look below the surface of American life — to identify the deep patterns in people's underlying life satisfaction and happiness from Alabama to Wyoming. The type of study is new to the United States. We are the first to be able to do this calculation — partly because we are fortunate enough to have a random anonymized sample of 1.3 million Americans. But we could not have done it without the early painstaking work by Gabriel’s team." 

 “The state-by-state pattern is of interest in itself.  But it also matters scientifically.  We wanted to study whether people's feelings of satisfaction with their own lives are reliable, that is, whether they match up to reality — of sunshine hours, congestion, air quality, etc _ in their own state. And they do match. When human beings give you an answer on a numerical scale about how satisfied they are with their lives, you should pay attention."

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