That’s Kansas City in a nutshell. At least, it is to Messrs Glaeser, Gottlieb and Ziv. In their July 2014 paper, Unhappy Cities, they noticed that humans are apt to cut off their noses to spite their faces 1:
There are persistent differences in self-reported subjective well-being across U.S. metropolitan areas, and residents of declining cities appear less happy than other Americans. Newer residents of these cities appear to be as unhappy as longer term residents, and yet some people continue to move to these areas.
As one might have expected New York is the least happy city in America, followed extremely closely by St. Joseph, Missouri. 2 The happiest city in America? Lafayette, Louisiana, with the runner-up being Houma, LA. In fact the next three happiest cities are all in Louisiana: Shreveport-Bossier, Baton Rouge and Alexandria. Must be something in the gumbo…
Kansas City finished a little worse than middle-of-the-road, 162nd out of 318 metro areas.
Though…wait a minute…hey! They lumped us in with Kansas City, Kansas. Surely the real Kansas City would be much happier if we weren’t conflated with those losers across the river, right? Recount!