AbstractUrban malaise or unhappiness with city life is common in developed countries. City dwellers, particularly those in the largest metropolitan areas, are reported to be the least satisfied with their lives. Using the U.S. General Social Survey (1972-2016) we explore the latest happiness trends. Our results confirm earlier findings of urban malaise: Americans in general are happiest in smaller cities and rural areas. However, the advantage of rural living is declining—rural Americans are becoming less happy relative to urbanites. Most interesting, our results show that the latest generation, Millennials (1982-2004), as opposed to earlier generations are the happiest in large cities (an estimated magnitude larger than earning an additional $100k in family income annually). We explore possible reasons for this trend and discuss directions for future research.
SubjectsSubjective well-being (SWB), Happiness, Life satisfaction, Cities, Urbanicity, Millennials, Gen Y, Generation Y, General Social Survey (GSS)
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