Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Jun 27th 2011 at 4:03pm UTC

Bicycling and the Wealth and Happiness of Cities

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Riding a bike through a city, David Byrne wrote in his book Bicycle Diaries, “is like navigating the collective neural pathways of some vast global mind.” Biking, he adds, “facilitates a state of mind that allows some but not too much of the unconscious to bubble up. As someone who believes that much of the source of his work and creativity is to be gleaned from those bubbles, it’s a reliable place to find that connection.”

Cycling is one of my own great passions.  I like nothing more than to get on my road bike and just go. My bike is not just a great way to get around, it’s a great way to get to know cities.

It’s also a good way to stay in shape, as witnessed by this post at the Living Streets Alliance blog, which noted the uncanny overlap between the places listed in my post on America’s Fittest Cities and the cities where the greatest percentages of people who bike to work live. That got me wondering what other characteristics of metropolitan areas might be associated with higher levels of cycling.  With the help of my colleague Charlotta Mellander, I took a quick look at the numbers. We used data from the American Community Survey (ACS) on the share of people by metro area who commute to work by bike.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat May 28th 2011 at 5:30am UTC

America’s Fittest Cities

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Which metro is America’s healthiest? You might guess it’s Los Angeles, what with all those washboard abs you see at Venice Beach, Santa Monica or Malibu. Or, maybe Denver or Boulder, considering all the mountain biking, rock climbing and winter sports they’re famous for.

You’d be surprised.  The fittest metro in America is Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to the annual American Fitness Index™ (AFI) that was just released by the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM).  The Twin Cities finished third last year; this year they edged perennial winner Washington, DC into second place. Their winning rank reflects their relatively low (and rapidly-diminishing) smoking rate, their above-average percentage of regular exercisers, moderate-to-low rates of obesity, asthma, diabetes, and other chronic concerns, and rising share of farmers’ markets (indicative of a trend towards healthier dining). Boston takes the bronze, with Portland, Oregon fourth and Denver in fifth place. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Oklahoma City ranks as America’s least fit metro, followed by Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, and Detroit.

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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.

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Reham Alexander
by Reham Alexander
Wed Apr 6th 2011 at 5:52pm UTC

The creative class, post-industrialism and the happiness of nations

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Richard’s new article, “The creative class, post industrialism and the happiness of nations”  written with Charlotta Mellander and Jason Rentfrow has recently been published by the Cambridge Journal on Regions, Economy and Society.   Below is the abstract.

“Our research examines the role of post-industrial structures and values on happiness across the nations of the world. We argue that these structures and values shape happiness in ways that go beyond the previously examined effects of income. Our analysis explores whether income has different effects on countries at different stages of economic development. Our results indicate that post-industrial structures and values have a stronger effect on happiness in higher income countries, where the standard of living has surpassed a certain level. Income, on the other hand, has a stronger impact on happiness in low-income countries.”

Read the full article here

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.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Mar 18th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Happy Cities, Revisited

Friday, March 18th, 2011

The new Gallup data on America’s happiest metro regions has just been released. Last year’s Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index ranked Silicon Valley as America’s happiest metro-region. This year Boulder, Colorado is the winner.  Boulder recently was named the best city for startups and registers highly on my own creativity rankings. College towns dominate the rankings. DC ranks tenth.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Mar 16th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

America’s Great Passport Divide

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

There are Red States and Blue States, rich states and poor states, and Bible and Rust-belt states. But now we must add Globe-trotting and Stay-at-home states to that list too – that is, according to new data on the percentage of Americans who have a passport. The map below – which has been getting a lot of attention on-line (via Grey’s Blog) – charts the trend for the fifty states.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Jul 30th 2010 at 4:30pm UTC

Internet Connectivity and Economic Development

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Across the world, two in 10 households have access to the Internet at home, according to a just released Gallup survey. Internet access at home was far greater in more economically advanced countries: Nearly eight in 10 people (78 percent) in countries where gross domestic product (GDP) is more than $25,000 have Internet access at home. Home Internet access drops off steeply in less affluent, less developed nations, according to the Gallup survey, especially in countries with less than $10,000 in per capita GDP. The survey is based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older in 116 countries, and was conducted in 2009.

The map above, by Zara Matheson of the Martin Prosperity Institute, shows the percentage of households with Internet connectivity, highlighting the top 10.

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Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Apr 2nd 2010 at 10:55am UTC

Ricky Martin, Tolerance, and the Creative Class

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

“Why Ricky Martin’s Coming Out Wasn’t Big News” -  Julia Baird’s recent  Newsweek article – makes the important point that nations with more progressive attitudes toward homosexuality are also happier and healthier.  She writes:

Still, while it may have been a wrenching decision for Martin personally, there was something refreshing about eye rolling replacing homophobic invective. We should want his coming out to not be a big deal in whichever country we might live in. New research shows that tolerance of homosexuality is likely to mean we live in a democratic, developed, wealthy country. It should also mean we live in a well-educated country. And it may well mean we live in a relatively happy country.

She kindly cites my own recent research with Charlotta Mellander and Peter Rentfrow on happiness, socioeconomic structures, and tolerance. And she quotes Will Wilkinson of the Cato Institute on findings from Ronald Ingelhart’s World Values Survey which looks closely at this issue. (more…)

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Mar 11th 2010 at 5:23pm UTC

Human Capital, the Creative Class, and the Happiness of Nations

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

BuddhaHappy

Here’s one hot off the press.

A new paper with Jason Rentfrow and Charlotta Mellander looks at the role of post-industrial structures – that is, the creative class and human capital as well as values toward openness and tolerance – on the happiness of  nations.  Our main hypothesis is that  these structures and values shape happiness in ways that go beyond the previously examined effects of income. Here’s more from the abstract:

Drawing from previous theory and research, we measured post-industrial structures in terms of higher-level education and the share of the workforce engaged in knowledge-based/creative work. Post-industrial values were measured in terms of acceptance of racial and ethnic minorities and of gays and lesbians. Our measure of happiness is derived from a large-scale global survey of life satisfaction conducted by the Gallup Organization. We controlled for income in our analyses and divided our sample into high- and low-income countries to explore whether income has different effects on countries at different stages of economic development.

Our results indicate that post-industrial structures and values have a stronger effect on happiness in higher-income countries where the standard of living has surpassed a certain level. Income, on the other hand, has a stronger impact on happiness in low-income countries. Thus, we propose that when income rises beyond a certain level, a new system of post-industrial values centered on education, creativity, and openness become better predictors of happiness than income.

The full paper is here.