Study finds Hampton Roads 2nd happiest region in the U.S.

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A study released last week by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research has two Virginia areas claiming the top two spots on a list of happiest metropolitan areas with populations greater than 1 million.

According to the study, the Richmond area topped the list with the Hampton Roads area coming up second.

Read the full study here

The research was authored by Joshua Gottlieb of the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics, and Harvard University’s Edward Glaeser and Oren Ziv.

“Our research indicates that people care about more than happiness alone, so other factors may encourage them to stay in a city despite their unhappiness,” says Gottlieb. “This means that researchers and policy-makers should not consider an increase in reported happiness as an overriding objective.”

Top 10 happiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million (as of 2010):

1. Richmond-Petersburg, VA
2. Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA
3. Washington, DC
4. Raleigh-Durham, NC
5. Atlanta, GA
6. Houston, TX
7. Jacksonville, FL
8. Nashville, TN
9. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL
10. Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ

Top 10 unhappiest metropolitan areas with a population greater than 1 million (as of 2010):

1. New York, NY
2. Pittsburgh, PA
3. Louisville, KY
4. Milwaukee, WI
5. Detroit, MI
6. Indianapolis, IN
7. St. Louis, MO
8. Las Vegas, NV
9. Buffalo, NY
10. Philadelphia, PA

  1. S. metropolitan areas with the highest reported happiness:

1. Charlottesville, VA
2. Rochester, MN
3. Lafayette, LA
4. Naples, FL
5. Baton Rouge, LA
6. Flagstaff, AZ
7. Shreveport, LA
8. Houma, LA
9. Corpus Christi, TX
10. Provo, UT

The least happy American regions are:

1. Scranton, PA
2. St. Joseph, MO
3. Erie, PA
4. South Bend, IN
5. Jersey City, NJ
6. Johnstown, PA
7. Non-metropolitan West Virginia
8. Springfield, MA
9. New York, NY
10. Evansville-Henderson, IN-KY

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