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Scoot: Are people happier living in a smaller city?

The top 5 happiest cities in America are in Louisiana, according to data from a paper by a Harvard professor, a Harvard student and a professor at the Vancouver School of Economics.  Seven Louisiana cites are in the top 20 – New Orleans ranks 59 out of 60.
Here are the top 5 happiest cities in America:
1.     Lafayette, LA
2.     Houma, LA
3.     Shreveport-Bossier City, LA
4.     Baton Rouge, LA
5.     Alexandria, LA
With the exception of Shreveprot-Bossier City, all of the other cities have been influenced by Cajun culture.  And we all know that Cajuns know how to enjoy daily life in its most simple form.
Lake Charles ranked 8th, Monroe 17th and New Orleans was 59th.  Does this mean that people living in smaller cities are happier than people living in larger cities? The 5 unhappiest cities include Erie, PA, St. Joseph, MO and South Bend, IN, and none them would be considered big cities.
When I have traveled and driven through smaller towns, I have often thought that people in those towns were happier than people in big cities. I thought that people in smaller cities were somehow protected from the hassles and problems of city life – but I’m sure there’s more to it than that.
I do love living in downtown New Orleans, but when I lived on the North Shore a few times – I worked in New Orleans and still felt part of a big city. The closest I have come to living in a small town was when I lived in North Bend, WA – a small town about 35 miles east of Seattle. It was a quaint town, but since much of the population commuted to Seattle, North Bend was no different than the North Shore.  The experience of living in a smaller city can only be truly realized if you actually live and work in that city.  Commuting makes you part of the city you commute too.
I have always enjoyed when a trip takes me off the Interstate and directly through small town America. As I drive through a small town I think about how life is more simple and less stressful. Smaller towns offer a refuge from the concentration of a big city’s population and all of the problems that go along with that – traffic, parking or just running errands.
Part of the benefit of living in a smaller city is physical – less people – but the other part is psychological – it’s attitude. In a smaller city, people are more familiar with each other and therefore, would probably be friendlier. While there is violence everywhere, there is less tension between people in a smaller city and it is tension and competition that often leads to violence. These are the things that create the mentality and attitude of living in a small city.
When a faithful listener of the show, Ms. Donna, got very sick and I drove to Houma frequently over a 2-week period, I fantasized about living in a smaller town. I thought about the living in a close-knit community.   And that made me think about how I could apply the attitude of living in a small town to my life living in busy downtown New Orleans.
Since part of the benefit of living in a small city is attitude – it would be ideal if those of us who live in a highly populated urban area would try to adopt the mentality of those who live in a small town.
Well I was born in a small town
And I can breathe in a small town
Gonna die in this small town
And that’s prob’ly where they’ll bury me.

“Small Town” by John Mellencamp
The problem is that too many of us have been driven to opportunities in a big town and could not survive in a small town.  But that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate what life is like living in a small town!

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Topics : Human Interest
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Locations : AlexandriaBossier CityCityErieHoumaLafayetteLouisianaNew OrleansPennsylvaniaSeattleShreveportSmall Town
People : DonnaJohn Mellencamp

07/21/2014 7:27PM
Scoot: Are people happier living in a smaller city?
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