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Madison is a happy place

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Madison is a happy place

Postby Beaver » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:19 pm

Madison is the 6th happiest city according to this. Most of the happy cities are in cold Northern climates, while most of the sad cities are in warm climates. How can that be?

http://www.menshealth.com/best-life/frown-towns

Saddest Cities
100. St. Petersburg, FL F
99. Detroit, MI F
98. Memphis, TN F
97. Tampa, FL F
96. Louisville, KY F
95. St. Louis, MO F
94. Birmingham, AL F
93. Miami, FL F
92. Reno, NV F
91. Las Vegas, NV F

Blues-proof towns
10. Plano, TX A-
9. Burlington, VT A-
8. St. Paul, MN A-
7. Sioux Falls, SD A-
6. Madison, WI A-
5. Boston, MA A-
4. Omaha, NE A
3. Fargo, ND A
2. Manchester, NH A
1. Honolulu, HI A+
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby snoqueen » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:41 pm

What's weird is Portland OR, the place Madison always looks up to, gets a D same as Milwaukee.
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby fennel » Wed Nov 30, 2011 9:55 pm

Madison is not in the same league as Burlington, VT. No way, no how.
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:03 pm

fennel wrote:Madison is not in the same league as Burlington, VT. No way, no how.

So why do you stay in this hellhole?
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby Average Joe » Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:08 pm

Beaver wrote:Most of the happy cities are in cold Northern climates, while most of the sad cities are in warm climates. How can that be?



The disposition of a truly happy person is not affected by the weather.
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby rabble » Wed Nov 30, 2011 10:31 pm

fennel wrote:Madison is not in the same league as Burlington, VT. No way, no how.

I realize a lot of water has gone under the bridge since I last saw Burlington in the 70's, but I hadn't realized it was THAT much. I remember thinking I'd go crazy if I had to live in that backwater little mudhole. Maybe I missed the good stuff or they waited till I was gone to build it.
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby ilikebeans » Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:47 am

Average Joe wrote:The disposition of a truly happy person is not affected by the weather.

Too simplistic.

Wikipedia suggests that the winter blues in Nordic countries varies substantially (Iceland being unexpectedly positive), and may have something to do with the amount of fish in their diet. At any rate, seasonal affective disorder is an issue throughout many northern countries.

I would say overall happiness is guided more by the economy, which has historically been depressed in the southern U.S.

But WTF? Plano, TX? Sioux Falls, SD? Omaha, NE? Fargo, ND? Blues-proof towns?

Ok, this "analysis" was taken from Men's Health. There we go. I love this line though:

Florida in general seems to be a depressing place to live.
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby kurt_w » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:16 am

I was all set to post a snappy explanation here -- it all has to do with the age structure of different cities. There's a pretty well-known "u-shaped" relationship between age and happiness, with people generally being least happy during middle age, and more happy in their youth and old age. So college towns (like Madison, Burlington, etc.) and graying communities on the Great Plains (Sioux Falls, Omaha, Fargo) might tend to be happier.

Except ... Sioux Falls, Omaha, and Fargo aren't particularly skewed towards older folks. Whereas Florida is older, but it's apparently not happy. And in fact, if you pull out the age data for those ten happiest cities, there's nothing particularly unusual about their age distributions.

Then, I did some further reading, and it turns out that this whole "u-shaped" model for the effect of age on happiness might be, well, more or less crap. Or at least a lot more complicated, and less reliable, than it's portrayed.

OK, on to the next hypothesized explanation.
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby kurt_w » Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:24 am

kurt_w wrote:OK, on to the next hypothesized explanation.


Jesus, how could I overlook the obvious?!

The explanation is ... ME.

I, Kurt W., have lived in (or very near) five of the top ten "happy" cities on that list. And I have never lived in or even remotely close to any of the ten unhappy cities.

So, tell me, forons -- has Madison become a less happy, less wonderful place over the past few years, since my departure?

Maybe I should start a bidding war among cities, the way ballparks and corporations do. Pay me lots of money, and I'll consider moving to your city (well, until some other city offers me a better deal).
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby Beaver » Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:36 am

Where do you live now, Kurt? Madison is #6 on another list:

2011 Best Places for Military Retirement: Second Careers
https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/enterpr ... bestplaces

Overall Top 10 Places

1 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Norfolk, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Austin, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
6 Madison, Wisconsin
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Raleigh, North Carolina
Omaha, Nebraska
Manchester, New Hampshire
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby Vinnie P » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:18 pm

I've been to all 20 of these cities and this list is crazy. Vegas and Reno are two of the best places I've ever been. Miami, Birmingham, St Louis, Memphis, and Detroit were pretty awesome too.
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby Crockett » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:37 pm

I've never lived in a more passive-aggressive, weirdly wound-up place than Denver, CO. The people there claim to be so happy because of the sunshine and mountains but something isn't right.

My theory is that people need rainy days to recharge. Its simplistic but I believe it. I used to get pissed that it was sunny every day. Strange but true.

My 2c...
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby Ducatista » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:49 pm

I love Madison, and find it to be quite a happy place. But this had me scratching my head:

Men's Health wrote:Then we tapped SimplyMap for the percentage of households that use antidepressants...

Some of the happiest people I know—and, without exception, all my favorite people—have taken antidepressants at one time or other, and many are on them for the long term.

So unless MH counted antidepressants as a favorable indicator, that criterion is competely bogus.
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby Crockett » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:53 pm

Ducatista wrote:So unless MH counted antidepressants as a favorable indicator, that criterion is competely bogus.


Whoa. Really? That's some pretty crazy logic.

So if a city sucks by many measures, but everyone takes happy pills from Pfizer, then its a better city than one where people are genuinely happy without pills?
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Re: Madison is a happy place

Postby Ducatista » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:07 pm

Crockett wrote:
Ducatista wrote:So unless MH counted antidepressants as a favorable indicator, that criterion is completely bogus.

So if a city sucks by many measures, but everyone takes happy pills from Pfizer, then its a better city than one where people are genuinely happy without pills?

Er, what now? "Favorable indicator" was me being flip, since they obviously didn't count it that way. Sorry you missed that.

I do think the percentage of people taking antidepressants is an unreliable indicator of a city's overall sadness or happiness.
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