Dallas/Fort Worth is "Happiest" City Among America's Top 10 Markets San Franciscans are the least happy in Harris Poll "Happiness Index"

NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent Harris Poll showed that 33% of Americans are very happy, and explored the many factors which may play into Americans' happiness, including age, gender and race/ethnicity. Now, findings using Harris Interactive's new Harris Poll® Major Market Query (MMQ) survey confirm that location (…, location, location, as real estate agents have been saying for years) can also have a strong relationship with overall happiness.

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According to the Harris Poll Happiness Index, which uses a series of questions to calculate Americans' overall happiness, Americans in the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX region more likely than those in any of America's other top markets to qualify as "very happy" (with 38% qualifying as such, vs. a 10-market average of 33%); Americans in the San Francisco, CA market are least happy of the 10 areas measured, with only 28% of its residents qualifying as "very happy."

These are among the findings of a Harris Poll of 2,101 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older and living in the top 10 American markets by population (roughly 200 per market), surveyed online between July 24 and 30, 2013 by Harris Interactive. The study utilized the MMQ platform, an omnibus survey offering a sample of the 10 top major metropolitan areas of the United States. (Full results, including data tables, can be found here)

Regional highs and lows

Aggregate scores aside, in reality most areas display strengths and weaknesses when looking at individual aspects of how its residents reflect on their lives.  Looking at cities individually, from most to least "happy":

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (38% "very happy")

  • On the positive side, they are among the Americans most likely to say their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to them (75%) and that they rarely worry about their health (59%), as well as being among the least likely to feel their voices are not heard in national decisions that affect them (67%).
  • But even America's happiest city shows room for improvement. Dallas/Fort Worth residents are among the Americans least likely to agree that they have positive relationships with their family members (though it's worth noting that 83% do agree with this sentiment) and among the most likely to agree that they rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes they enjoy (34%).

Houston, TX (36% "very happy")

  • Like their Dallas/Fort Worth neighbors, Houston residents are also among those most likely to say their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to them (79%) and among the least likely to feel their voices are not heard in national decisions that affect them (67%).
  • However, Houston residents stand out from those of most other markets in that, well, they don't stand out in any negative way, attitudinally speaking.

Philadelphia, PA (34% "very happy")

  • Those in the city of brotherly love are among the most likely to say their relationships with friends bring them happiness (92%) and they're generally happy with their lives at this time (86%), while being the least likely by far to agree that they won't get much benefit from the things they do anytime soon (24%).
  • Like Houston residents, Philadelphians don't appear to have any especially negative sentiments.

Atlanta, GA (34% "very happy")

  • Atlanta residents are among those most likely to agree that they are optimistic about the future (81%) and that their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to them (77%), as well as being among the least likely to feel their voices are not heard in national decisions that affect them (67%).
  • On the down side, those in Atlanta are among the least likely to agree that their relationships with friends bring them happiness (though at 84%, a vast majority still agree with this) and the most likely by far to agree that they frequently worry about their financial situation (71%).

Los Angeles, CA (33% "very happy")

  • Angelenos are the group least likely to agree that their work is frustrating (32%) and are among those least likely to agree that they rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes they enjoy (28%).
  • Los Angeles sentiments do not show any especially negative tendencies.

NYC Metro, NY (33% "very happy")

  • The good: New Yorkers are among those most likely to say they rarely worry about their health (57%).
  • The bad: They are also among those most likely to feel their voices are not heard in national decisions which affect them (73%), to frequently worry about their financial situations (67%) and to find their work frustrating (41%).

Washington, D.C. (33% "very happy")

  • The District of Columbia is home to many highs and lows, with its residents being among those most likely to say their relationships with friends bring them happiness (94%), they have positive relationships with their family members (91%) and that they're generally happy with their lives at this time (85%), while being among the least likely to frequently worry about their financial situations (56%).
  • However, district residents are also less likely than those in other major markets to feel optimistic about the future (70%) and among those most likely to find their work frustrating (40%) and to say they won't get much benefit from the things they do anytime soon (39%).

Chicago, IL (32% "very happy")

  • Chicagoans are among those least likely to agree that their voices are not heard in national decisions that affect them (67%) and that they rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes they enjoy (27%).
  • They are also, however, among those least likely to agree that their relationships with friends bring them happiness (84%), that they're generally happy with their lives at this time (72%) and that they rarely worry about their health (47%).

Boston, MA (31% "very happy")

  • Bostonians are among those least likely to frequently worry about their financial situations (56%).
  • They are also among those least likely to feel their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to them (60%) and to agree that they rarely worry about their health (46%).

San Francisco, CA (28% "very happy")

  • Bay area residents are among those most optimistic about the future (79%).
  • Looking at negative attitudes, San Franciscans are among the least likely to feel their spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to them (60%) and that they rarely worry about their health (46%), and among those most likely to feel their voices are not heard in national decisions which affect them (73%).

For more information regarding Harris Poll MMQ, please contact info@harrisinteractive.com.

To view the full findings, or to see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 24 and 30, 2013 among 2,101 adults (aged 18 and over) in the top 10 U.S. markets (215 in Los Angeles, CA; 213 in San Francisco, CA; 209 in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; 192 in Houston, TX; 214 in Atlanta, GA; 211 in Chicago, IL; 214 in the NYC Metro area, NY; 212 in Boston, MA; 210 in Washington, D.C. and 211 in Philadelphia, PA). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Where appropriate, these data were also weighted to reflect the composition of the adult online population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

The Harris Poll® #58, September 4, 2013

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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SOURCE Harris Interactive



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