Thursday, May 17, 2012
Irving residents are reportedly the happiest citizens of North Texas
It ain't all roses, if you ask us.
Posted by Flickr user hammer_4_u_68
A hardworking Pennsylvania writer named Sara Vigneri was tasked with answering the seemingly impossible question: Which cities in the U.S. are the happiest? She gathered data, inputted it, checked it, ranked it, and then, God love her, made a pretty simple list published in SUCCESS magazine of the nation's happiest (and also, saddest) cities.
In Texas, we're somewhat happy. Middle-of-the-pack. "Not miserable." But far from feeling like the depressed people in Detroit. Here's the magazine's list of happy Texas cities. The snarky comments are our own:
- No. 9: Austin, Texas. Figures. Austinites are apparently hipper, too. They've got more food trucks, more "offbeat types" riding bikes. Maybe that leads to happiness in Austin. In Dallas, we call that chafing.
- No. 25: Irving, Texas. We're surprised by this one. We thought Irving residents would still be mourning the fall of Texas Stadium.
- No. 31: San Antonio, Texas. It seems like a pretty OK place. Everyone in the city is bilingual and lives along the Riverwalk anyway, so that sounds nice.
- No. 49: Fort Worth, Texas. OK, SUCCESS magazine, have you ever been to Fort Worth? It's a really happy place. There are cows. And country music. People are becoming millionaires from the Barnett Shale. And guzzling margaritas at Joe T.'s. Those people are happy, dangit.
- No. 52: Dallas, Texas. Seems about right. Dallas residents, you'd probably say you're slightly less happy than your Fort Worth neighbors, no? At least we're realistic.
- No. 78: Houston, Texas. St. Louis and New York City are ranked more unhappy than Houston, but we'd like to argue that point. Living in Houston seems really bad -- maybe worse than No. 78 of 100. How does anyone ever have good hair with all that humidity?
In all, North Texas cities fall right in the middle of the survey, we say glumly. The folks at Lake Dallas-based SUCCESS agree. "We’re a little miffed that Irving ranked higher than Dallas," said Shelby Skrhak, managing web editor for the magazine. "And the fact that Fort Worth ranked higher than Dallas. But at least we’re still better than Houston. We can thank our lone stars for that."
The data was compiled from already-existing surveys from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Bureau of Labor Statistics, FBI Uniform Crime Report, and others. It includes data for 105 cities in 15 categories. Percentage of married couples was one of those categories, for example, because the magazine writers found stats that married people are happier than singles, and that married people are also more likely to be content with the city they live in. Numbers of graduate degrees and high school dropouts were also factored in, because those who never got a high school degree are said to be more dissatisfied with their communities. Crime rates, employment, and travel accessibility were a few more factors the writers looked into.
The story is part of a 20-page special section in the June 2012 edition of SUCCESS, which, appropriately, is called the happiness issue.
Their happiest city is Arlington -- in Virginia, not Texas. High up on the happy list, too, were Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Madison, Wisconsin. (Brr!) The most depressed city was Detroit. Only slightly less distressed were Miami and then Las Vegas. For obvious reasons.
So next time someone asks you how happy you are with your neighborhood, or city representatives, or school district, if you live in Dallas or Fort Worth, you can say something like, "Well, at least I'm happier than my relatives in Houston."
Disclaimer: I used to write for SUCCESS magazine several years ago, though I was never part of an awesome survey.