Don’t worry. Move to Charlottesville and be happy.
A study by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research on America’s unhappy cities noted that the happiest place to seek bliss is right in the heart of Central Virginia.
The survey questioned people across the country about how happy and content they were and inquired into how satisfied they were with their lives.
Of course, it’s easy to be happy living in a town that has been named the best town for food lovers by Wine Magazine; best college town in the country by Traveler’s Today; most exciting place in Virginia by Movoto; one of the top five destinations in the country by Luxury Travel; one of the country’s favorite mountain towns by Travel & Leisure; one of the happiest and healthiest by Business Insider; and the second most friendly small city, again by Movoto.
The most recent study, while rating Charlottesville tops in happiness, noted that individuals seemed more than willing to trade that happiness for a better income and lower cost of living.
“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,” said Joshua Gottlieb, the study’s co-author and a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics.
“Differences in happiness and subjective well-being across space weakly support the view that the desires for happiness and life satisfaction do not uniquely drive human ambitions,” the study states. “If we choose only that which maximized our happiness, then individuals would presumably move to happier places until the point where rising rents and congestion eliminated the joys of that locale.”
The study offered an alternative view that “humans are quite understandably willing to sacrifice both happiness and life satisfaction if the price is right.”
“Indeed, the residents of unhappier metropolitan areas today do receive higher real wages — presumably as compensation for their misery,” the study states.
Charlottesville topped such happy places as Rochester, Minnesota; Lafayette, Indiana; Naples, Florida; Flagstaff, Arizona; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Provo, Utah.
Louisiana topped the states with the happiest cities, including Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Shreveport and Houma.
Richmond-Petersburg and Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News placed first and second for happiness in metropolitan areas with more than 1 million population.