Study Finds Grand Rapids is Bummed Out, Another Michigan City is the Saddest in U.S.
Wow. I know it's been a rough few years, with the pandemic and everything else going on in the world... but is Michigan this down in the dumps?
A new study sought to find the happiest city in America... and well, it's definitely not Grand Rapids.
WalletHub Ranks 2022's Happiest Cities in America
The personal finance WalletHub consulted various findings of positive-psychology research in order to determine which among 182 of the largest U.S. cities is home to the happiest people in America. WalletHub examined each city across three key dimensions:
- Emotional and Physical Well-Being
- Income and Employment
- Community and Environment
They evaluated those categories using 30 relevant metrics like each city's depression rate, adequate sleep rate, sports participation rate, income growth rate, job satisfaction, number of work hours per week, separation and divorce rate, average leisure time spent per day, hate crime incidents per capita, and weather.
Where Does Grand Rapids, Mich. Rank in Terms of Happiness?
Grand Rapids did not make the top ten... or the top 20... or even the top 50.
According to WalletHub, Grand Rapids comes in at No. 92.
With an overall score of 54, GR's scores broken down are:
- Emotional and Physical Well-Being: 104
- Income and Employment: 53
- Community and Environment: 66
Initially I thought maybe it was crappy weather brining us down? Michigan weathers can be brutal, after all... That still could be a factor, however, WalletHub places weather in "Community and Environment", and that wasn't Grand Rapids worst category. No, it seems what's really got us down are things in the "Emotional and Physical Well-Being" category like depression rate, life satisfaction index, life expectancy rate, food insecurity rate, and drug usage.
What are the Happiest Cities in the U.S.?
According to WalletHub, these are the top ten happiest cities in America in 2022:
1. Fremont, CA
2. Columbia, MD
3. San Francisco, CA
4. San Jose, CA
5. Irvine, CA
6. Madison, WI
7. Seattle, WA
8. Overland Park, KS
9. Huntington Beach, CA
10. San Diego, CA
What are the Saddest Cities in the U.S.?
And then there's Detroit, which WalletHub ranked dead last in terms of happiness, at No. 182.
Motor City's overall score is 32.1, and in each category:
- Emotional and Physical Well-Being: 179
- Income and Employment: 179
- Community and Environment: 177
In particular, Detroit came in first for lowest adequate sleep rate, and second in highest separation and divorce rate.
Here are WalletHub's 10 Least Happy Cities:
- Detroit, MI
- Gulfport, MS
- Memphis, TN
- Huntington, WV
- Montgomery, AL
- Cleveland, OH
- Augusta, GA
- Fort Smith, AR
- Mobile, AL
- Shreveport, LA
So What Do We Do About Being Bummed Out?
WalletHub consulted a panel of experts on issues surrounding unhappiness like career dissatisfaction, how age affects our happiness, and advice for people dealing with "pandemic blues".
In the latter category, Kristie Campana an Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in I/O Psychology at Minnesota State University, Mankato, said the following,
Getting some time outside, socializing with friends, and getting some new experiences can help alleviate the 'Groundhog Day' feeling many of us have when every day looks basically the same. Finding a skill that you admire in someone else, and then building that skill yourself can give you a new goal that can help you feel like you are growing and progressing. It is also very important to decompress, especially if you are experiencing Zoom fatigue. Eating food that nourishes our bodies and souls (yes, this might include chocolate ice cream sometimes) can also help us feel better about pandemic difficulties.
See more from WalletHub's panel of experts here.