Californians Are Kinda Miserable People, Poll Shows

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Ocean Beach above.jpg
Get happy
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.




My Voice Nation Help
22 comments
red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

Yes, the train to nowhere that will add to our bankruptcy. High taxes, heavy regulations, zoning, planning & environmental controls that are killing growth, a tendency to want a Nanny State, lousy schools, gridlocked government roads, grossly overpriced housing in both sales & rental markets.......gee, what's not to dislike about California ? Plus a now majority population of stupids who make this a Democratic socialist state. 4-5 million whites have fled California since 1990 and well over a million Blacks have joined them. The bad economy has slowed down illegals but they are still here by the millions as any clinic or ER visit will confirm. We elect a clownish failed former youngest Governor as our oldest Governor after he failed as Mayor of Oakland and Attorney General. The two left lib Senators are totally unresponsive to the many millions of Californians whose savings are being robbed by almost nonexistent interest payments. Gas is higher here than elsewhere and my native SF now equals Manhattan and Honululu in the cost of housing plus 24/7 parking in much of the City. No, not a 'Golden' state !

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

Must be a slow news day if we're taking Gallup "polls" seriously.  Why don't you guys report on Bat-Boy next?

trublu
trublu

There might be some people that won't like hearing that our unhappiness is due to the abandonment  our spiritual side.  This is definitely not about religion or church, it is our denial that we have a soul.  When we were children, we all knew that there was to more to life then what we could see or feel.  Unless we believe in something other than ourselves, we will never find true happiness.

SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Jeremy A. Valencia that was SF, this study is talking about the entire state.

Jeremy A. Valencia
Jeremy A. Valencia

werent we just ranked, like in the last couple months, the most happiest city? maybe we're the most bipolar city.

Tara Cook
Tara Cook

Yes. There are a lot of factors in those statistics to consider. Population being one. I just don't like how Kansas was represented by the WBC and 'a buffer from Canada' LOL Kansas is a great place and so is California.

Adelaida Caballero
Adelaida Caballero

Tara, the article said that Kansas high school graduation rate is higher than us :)

Tara Cook
Tara Cook

Kansans hate that crazy Westboro Baptist "Church," Evolution is believed in, we're not all a bunch of bible bangers. The economy is shitty everywhere. It doesn't matter where you are, if you aren't happy with yourself you won't be very happy with any other aspect of your life. Weak article there SF Weekly.

Jorge MackIntire
Jorge MackIntire

Don't look at the average, the misery-happiness index in california is very un. There's a massive gulf between (for example) beverly hills, santa barbara, pac heights socialites and central valley farmers. Even between cities the mis-hap canyon is ginormous, look at the difference berkeley and stockon, santa monica and san bernadino

Wendy Price
Wendy Price

I see my old apartment in this photo - and I was blissfully happy there.

John Wareham
John Wareham

Yes, we are. At least the ones where I live

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

@red.marcy.rand Gallup would never publish a poll that didn't fit its partisan views.  Remember, this is the same "poll" company that predicted a Romney win.

mrericsir
mrericsir topcommenter

@red.marcy.rand Not sure what you're smoking, but I bet you think Fox News is liberal too.

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

@mrericsir @red.marcy.rand Are you kidding ? They have been notorious for their left lib views for decades. Several polls prematurely predicted a Romney win.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...