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Leyden, K. M., Goldberg, A., Michelbach, P. (2011). Understanding the Pursuit of Happiness in Ten Major Cities. Urban Affairs Review, in press.

The pursuit of happiness has a long history as a primary political end in Western political thought. Along with traditional economic indicators, policy makers are increasingly concerned with the subjective well-being of a society as a measure for its success. It is important to understand the nature of happiness and ask what can be done to improve it. This article builds upon existing literature that consistently identifies health, wealth, and social connectedness as key predictors of happiness. We find that the design and conditions of cities are associated with the happiness of residents in 10 urban areas. Cities that provide easy access to convenient public transportation and to cultural and leisure amenities promote happiness. Cities that are affordable and serve as good places to raise children also have happier residents. We suggest that such places foster the types of social connections that can improve happiness and ultimately enhance the attractiveness of living in the city.

Authors

Leyden, Kevin

Kevin M. Leyden (Ph.D., Iowa 1992), is a Professor of Political Science and Director of West Virginia University’s Institute for Public Affairs and currently an invited Honorary Research Professor of Social Science & Public Policy at the Centre for Innovation and Structural Change (CISC...

Goldberg, Abraham

Michelbach, Philip A.

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