Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What Makes States Happy

When the happiness rankings by state came out last week, I said you should expect to see lots of correlations in the future. Richard Florida jumps right in and finds the following:

State happiness is associated with income (a correlation of .33 with our measure of average income), as well as housing prices (.49). Makes sense: People are willing to pay to live in happy places, and people with more income have more choices. And it’s even more closely associated with levels of human capital (that is, share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or above - it’s . 77)

Happy states appear to be creative states - at least as measured by the share of people employed in creative class jobs (with a correlation of .48). The correlations are even higher for the the super-creative core and the the overall creativity index (.53).

On that score, yes, happy states are also apparently those greater concentrations bohemians (.43), immigrants (.36 ), and gays (.32), as well as states with higher levels of high-tech industry (.22) or those with more innovative potential.

One worrying finding: States with a large concentration of the working class are far less happy - with a negative correlation of (-.51).
Click the link for graphs.

via Creative Class


Audacious Epigone said...

Should I correlate this with the percentage of the population that is black? I don't really want to, but...

Audacious Epigone said...

Nevermind, I doubt that correlation would be too high.

Fat Knowledge said...

Well, at the very minimum I would expect you to correlate this data with something. :)

And I am interested to see what you come up with. Richard Florida sees creative jobs and cultures that promote this creativity (diverse ethnic groups, with lots of immigrants and gays) as the way to happiness. I would expect you to come to a very different conclusion, and maybe discredit his analysis along the way.

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