Californians Are Kinda Miserable People, Poll Shows
A recent Gallup poll ranked states based on their overall level of happiness, and California landed in an unexpected spot -- in between the anti-evolution state of Kansas and North Dakota, that one state whose only real purpose is to buffer Canada from Americans.
In any event, the pollsters took into consideration many factors when determining how happy (or unhappy in our case) people are, including life expectancy, health, and unemployment rate (okay maybe that explains our depression).
We're all for being happy -- in fact, we figured with our legalized pot dispensaries, back-to-back beaches, and kick-ass California wines, we'd be a hell of a lot more pleased with life.
So where did California go wrong? That's what we want to know.
For starters our lack of jobs and lack of safety hasn't done us any favors. According to the poll, barely 66 percent of Californians feel safe walking home at night (not sure how many of those live in Oakland?). California also ranked poorly in housing and unemployment, which makes sense considering rents are depressing and the unemployment line doesn't exactly count as socializing.
Only 87 percent of the state's population had enough money for housing in the last year, and, as many of you already know, California has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country. It doesn't help that too many Californians don't make it out of high school compared to kids in other states. We have the third-lowest graduation rate -- and that's sad.
Don't start crying in your oatmeal just yet; we're not totally in the dumps. California still managed to rank 18th on the list of 50 states, thanks to our extremely high life expectancy (80.4 years old, the third-highest in the nation) and our ability to stay trim (only 23.1 percent of Californians are obese, the fifth-lowest rate in the nation).
Believe it or not, the state of Kansas, home to the Westboro Baptist Church, bested us with its significantly higher high school graduation rate. It also had a comparable obesity rate, and people in general had more cheerful attitudes in that "we've been to Oz and done that" sort of way.
North Dakota, while ranked just behind us, had a chance of being happier if only the folks there indulged themselves in something other than meat and potatoes. Then again, we're guessing North Dakota sushi isn't anything to smile about.
So why does any of this matter? Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport told 24/7 Wall St. why states should try to foster more joy: "Well-being is important because of the hypothesis that it leads to good outcomes," he said. "If your citizens have high well-being, they're more likely to be better citizens and engage in better behaviors and make things better all the way around. It's a positive goal for those that look at what we ought to emphasize in society."
Chin up, California, you'll always have that bullet train to look forward to.