Sunday, December 27, 2009


From WebMD:

Southern States Are the Happiest

There may be something to be said for southern hospitality and sunshine. A new study shows that Southern states are the happiest while coastal rivals New York and California are at the bottom of the list.

Researchers ranked the happiest states (plus the District of Columbia) on self-reported measures of happiness as well as objective measures like sunshine, congestion, and housing affordability and found six out of the top 10 happiest states were in the South.

Louisiana topped the list, followed by Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona rounding out the top five.


Like the excerpt says, the study, published in Science magazine, uses it's own methodology to arrive at it's own conclusions, but being in the thick of it, as it were, here in South Louisiana, I've got my own ideas.

That is, Noam Chomsky has written about poverty in the US versus poverty in the Third World and asserts that, even though by material standards poverty here is not nearly as harsh as it is elsewhere, the poor in developing nations are visibly happier. His take is that poverty stricken communities in the US have lost all social connections: the poor in America are isolated while the poor in the Third World continue to have a strong sense of community, and therefore hope and happiness.

Louisiana is a poor state. One intuitively concludes that being poor ought to make us unhappy here. But Louisiana also has a very strong social fabric, with festivals and a seemingly infinite number of social traditions. And lots of good food, which usually serves as an excuse to party. Actually pretty much anything serves as an excuse to party. And then there's Mardi Gras.

Moral of the story: money doesn't make people happy; people make people happy. After five and a half years living here, that's what I've decided this state is about.

Smiley face