Archive for the ‘Rankings’ Category

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Jun 15th 2011 at 10:17am UTC

The Geography of Peace

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

The overall level of world peace world fell for the third year in a row, according to the latest version of the Global Peace Index produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Most of this trend was driven by the increased “social and political turmoil in the Middle East and North African Nations during the early part of 2011,” the report notes.

But what are the factors that shape the relative peacefulness of nations?  And, what is the connection between peace – or its opposite – on their economic growth, well-being, and prosperity?

This map charts the Global Peace Index (GPI) scores for 153 countries worldwide. The GPI is based on 25 separate indicators of internal and external conflict, including wars and external conflicts, deaths from external conflicts, militarization, weapons exports, homicides, access to weapons, violent political demonstrations, prison populations, and police presence.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed May 18th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Do State Business Taxes Really Matter?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

These days talk about taxes of any kind, unless cuts are being proposed, is the third rail of American politics.  Many business people and of course doctrinaire conservatives insist that lower tax rates create more incentives for investment, business formation and economic growth. Tax cuts, they continue, are thus a key mechanism for spurring economic growth. Though we haven’t seen much of the Laffer Curve since the heyday of Reaganism, a new generation of supply-siders is arguing for more tax cuts despite our already-staggering deficits.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu May 12th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Geography of Hate

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

With the death of Osama Bin Laden, many believe that Al Quaeda was dealt a mortal blow. Time will tell, but as we learned from the Oklahoma City bombing and Nidal Malik Hasan’s rampage at Fort Hood, we have much to fear from our own home grown extremists. And not just from “lone nuts” acting on their own.

Since 2000, the number of organized hate groups – from white nationalists, neo-Nazis and racist skinheads to border vigilantes and black separatist organizations – has climbed by more than 50 percent, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Their rise has been fuelled by growing anxiety over jobs, immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president, and the lingering economic crisis. Most of them merely espouse violent theories; some of them are stock-piling weapons and actively planning attacks.

But not all people and places hate equally; some regions of the United States—at least within some sectors of their populations—are virtual hate hatcheries. What is the geography of hate groups and organizations? Why are some regions more susceptible to them?


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Apr 29th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Show Me the Money: The Geography of Superstar Sports Millionaires

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Boxer Manny Pacquiao and baseball star Alex Rodriguez top the list of the world’s highest paid athletes, according to new data compiled by ESPN.

ESPN tracked annual salaries—the base pay the players received for their most recent season or calendar year (endorsements and other sources of income were excluded) across 182 nations and 17 sports, from baseball and basketball to badminton and cricket. Salary data was collected from “multiple sources, including leagues, agents, consulates, embassies, sports federations, cultural centers and the U.N.”

Wake up America: It’s not football, baseball, basketball, or even NASCAR that accounts for the lion’s share of sports superstars: 114 of the 184 best-paid athletes in the world play soccer—almost seven times more than the next runner up (basketball, with 18 uber-rich players). For the rest, there are 12 baseball players, six auto-racers, five golfers, five football players, four cricketeers, three boxers, and three track and field contestants. Rugby and tennis each contribute two competitors and there is one representative each from badminton, cycling, motorcycle racing, sumo wrestling, and yachting. (more…)

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Apr 21st 2011 at 10:01am UTC

The Thriving and Happiness of Nations

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Denmark, Sweden and Canada lead the world in high-well being – the percent of people who say they are “thriving” in life, according to a newly released survey by the Gallup Organization. The U.S. ranked 12th, behind Panama and Venezuela. Nineteen countries registered high rates of well-being, with more than half of their populations reporting that they are thriving in their day to day lives.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Mar 23rd 2011 at 7:30am UTC

Why Are Some Cities Happier than Others?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Earlier this week, I wrote about the new rankings of happy cities based on the 2010 edition of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The map below shows how 185 of America’s largest metros stack up on this happiness index.

In his book, Stumbling on Happiness, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert notes that there are three great decisions in life that affect your happiness: “Where to live, what to do, and with whom to do it.”  The second two have been examined in great depth; the third, up until now, not so much.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun Oct 31st 2010 at 12:33pm UTC

NPR Weekend Edition – Best Cities for Trick-or-Treaters

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Click here to listen to the fun segment on today’s show.

As NPR describes it:

Professor Richard Florida, director of the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute, has released his Trick or Treat Index for 2010. It’s a kind of Lonely Planet guide for hobgoblins. He gives us his top-five list of the best U.S. cities for Halloween trick-or-treating.

Here’s the original list, a map, and the list for Canada.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Aug 18th 2009 at 9:30am UTC

Unemployment and Happiness

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

How has the economic crisis affected the happiness and well-being of Americans? Newly released data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index enables us to take a look.

At the national level, not so much: The mid-year 2009 score is 65.1, a moderate decline from 65.5 in 2008. (Catherine Rampell of Economix provides a nice summary of the survey methods, indicators, and key findings.)

But, rising unemployment appears to have a significant relationship to the happiness of states, according to our analysis of the Gallup-Healthways data.

Not surprisingly, the biggest declines in overall happiness occurred in work-related well-being. The Gallup-Heathways Well-Being Index is made up of six separate sub-indexes – life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behavior, and access to basic necessities. Five of these indexes fell between 2008 and 2009, with the biggest decline occurring in the work environment index: More than three-quarters of states saw their work environment score fall in 2009.

This is broadly in line with happiness research. It had been long thought that happiness essentially levels off after a moderate income level is crossed. But an influential study by Betsy Stevenson and Justin Wolfers found a strong association between happiness and economic conditions. A 2005 study found that a significant increase in Finland’s unemployment rate (from three to 17 percent) did not produce a significant drop in overall well-being.

The new Gallup-Healthways Index also covers the 50 states. Interestingly enough, the “happiest states” in 2009 – Hawaii, Utah, and Montana – were more or less the same as in 2008; the same is true of the “unhappiest states” – West Virginia, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Drilling down a little further, Utah topped the list in life evaluation, Hawaii in emotional health, Idaho in work environment, North Dakota in physical health, Vermont in healthy behavior, and Iowa in basic access.

Still, it’s clear that the economic crisis has been harder on some states that others. Older industrial states of Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio have seen their unemployment rates soar in the double digits, while the housing crisis has wreaked havoc on once fast-growing states like Florida and Arizona.

The availability of state-level data for before (2008) and after (2009) the crisis provides a useful lens for examining the effects of worsening economic conditions on state happiness.

So my collaborator, regional economist Charlotta Mellander, looked at the relationships between happiness and economic factors like output, income, and unemployment. Let me emphasize that what I am reporting here are correlations or associations. While these findings do not imply causation, they remain interesting nonetheless.

First off, the relationship between happiness and economic output has apparently become weaker. The relationship between the two which was correlated (.33) and statistically significant in 2008, is no longer so (.27 and not statistically significant in 2009).

Second, the relationship between income on happiness also seems to have weakened (falling from a correlation of .43 in 2008 to .30 in 2009 – both significant at the .01 level).

Third, unemployment appears to be the biggest short-run factor affecting state happiness. Two measures of unemployment – a higher state unemployment rate and a bigger increase in that rate between 2008 and 2009 – were associated with both lower levels of state well-being and a bigger drop in state well-being between 2008 and 2009.

The first chart graphs the relationship between 2009 state unemployment rate and state well-being. Hawaii and Utah, above the line; and West Virginia, Kentucky, and Arkansas below it, are clearly outliers. Still, the fitted line shows a reasonably close association between unemployment and happiness among states. The correlation coefficient of -.44 between the two (statistically significant at the .01 level) lends additional support to this.

The second chart graphs the relationship between state happiness and the change in the unemployment rate between 2008 and 2009. Hawaii and Utah, and West Virginia, Kentucky, and Arkansas are again outliers. But the fitted line shows a clear association between the two. And while the correlation coefficient between the two is weaker than above (-.34 and statistically significant at the 0.05 level) it nonetheless supports the association.

The connection between state happiness and unemployment also came through when we looked at the relationships between the change in state well-being between 2008 and 2009 and the two measures of unemployment – the 2009 unemployment rate and change in unemployment between 2008 and 2009. The correlations for each are statistically significant (-.30 for the 2009 unemployment rate and -.34 for change in the unemployment rate between 2008 and 2009, both significant at the .05 level).

Given all of this, it’s safe to say that unemployment plays a reasonably big role in the happiness – or should I say, unhappiness – of states.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Aug 4th 2009 at 10:04am UTC

The Singles’ Ratio

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

I continue to be astounded by the unrelenting interest in “singles maps” and singles ratios. A bluntly titled blog devoted to San Francisco’s lop-sided gender ratio cites this 2007 study (and an earlier 1991 one) which identified a singles’ tipping point of sorts. The study found that:

[A]s the sex ratio augmented in favor of women, at first, as you would expect, the women simply turned fussy and went for richer and more powerful men. But at a certain point a curious thing happened: the amount of socioeconomic status a guy needed to get girl increased way more than the math would predict. Specifically when the ratio was tilted in favor of women by 10%, low status men became not 10% less likely to get a girl but 200-300% less likely and high status men 30% less likely.

In other words, increase the number of males in a system too much and the number of females interested in pairing up GOES DOWN, due to some mysterious psychological trigger. Women won’t pick and choose, they won’t choose at all. They abandon the enterprise. Romance dies. Society crumbles. Imagine a bar with 100 girls and 100 guys. The bouncer admits 10 more guys and competitively speaking it’s as if, for the low status guys, 130 guys walked into the room (and for the high status guys, 30 guys). The bar might as well close for the night.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Aug 3rd 2009 at 10:32am UTC

Life Expectancy Map

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

The original paper is here. Map at Gene Expression via Marginal Revolution.