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City “Happiness” Data Reinforces Pew Research: Suburbia Rules (For Many)

March 15th, 2009 · No Comments · Uncategorized

My buddy Steve has responded to my post about how in (significantly miserable) Seattle, trains for a select set of the young and well-off trump crime prevention and schools. In his piece he largely reinforces my main points. One particularly telling passage:

Looks like they’re pretty miserable in Portland, too. Must be the mass transit, bike lanes, zoning policies, crap like that.

I think if he took the time to read the Business Week article he’d have learned that the number ONE most miserable city is indeed (drum roll…) Portland!

The map he provides of Washington state cries out for me to take my analysis to the next politically incorrect step, and the Oregon map only reinforces it.
582,174 people live in Seattle. The green shaded “happy” area captures a space that contains Seattle and about 2 million other people. The majority of those overwhelmingly happy people live in… (gasp!) soulless/low crime/good schools/no trains suburbia.

On the statewide map, the “happy” green zones are surrounded by large areas of those who are less-satisfied. It’s obvious using ones eyes and little common sense (no regression analysis needed) that the more rural areas are less happy. This is 100% reinforced by a recent Pew study,

Suburban residents express the highest levels of satisfaction and the lowest levels of dissatisfaction with the communities in which they lived.

This also aligns with Steve’s odd commentary about Appalachia. And (again) common sense.

So, perhaps my first post should have been titled, would King County be the happiest county in the country if it was zoned exclusively single-family?

Even I don’t believe that. As a former single 20-something Seattle resident, I can’t imagine living in suburbia during that part of my life. Nor would I want to force others to. That being said, I don’t get why the 20-somethings and their older, authoritarian/hyper-judgmental ilk wish to force me and my family into an ant-farm.

Steve then inexplicably takes an entirely unrelated jab from what must be a place of warmth and comfort: A map showing how Obama kicked McCain’s ass. Or maybe it’s that the few Republican voters are uneducated oakies. Fine. All I can say is I haven’t heard anything from Obama on how he’s going to take the Seattle approach and cut back on Police or defund education.

I do think this NY Times map would align very closely to the Carter election of 1976 though. We all know how that turned out…


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