Oh Joy for Santa Barbara!

Study Based on Twitter Usage Declares City 38th Happiest Spot in Country

Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Share Article

A unique study by researchers at the University of Vermont that analyzed Twitter usage by geography confirms why Santa Barbarans are so willing to pay the high price it takes to live here: The city comes in near the top as the 38th happiest “urban” area in the United States, with the nearly 7,000 regional tweets analyzed in 2011 trending much more positive than negative, thanks to the preponderence of “beach,” “lol,” and “hahahas.”

The study's analysis of Santa Barbara Twitter users in 2011, with red involving positive words and blue reflecting negative ones.
Click to enlarge photo

The study’s analysis of Santa Barbara Twitter users in 2011, with red involving positive words and blue reflecting negative ones.

Coming in first out of the 373 cities included was Napa, with Beaumont, Texas in dead last. Statewise, California clocks in at 13th, sandwiched between a happier Arizona and less stoked Florida, with Hawaii declared happiest and Louisiana the least.

The study’s results coincided with a number of other social surveys, with sadness stretching across poor parts of the South, where tweets contained lots of profanity.

Read the study here and the specific analysis of cities here.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

A very precise analysis of very ambiguous and arbitrary data.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
August 6, 2013 at 3:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Geez, lighten up people. If you're not happy, only you can do something about it, after you remove your cranium from your posterior.

restrada_2001 (anonymous profile)
August 6, 2013 at 4:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I see the Indy staff reads Santa Barbara View quite closely! I do too!!

sallyc (anonymous profile)
August 6, 2013 at 4:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 6, 2013 at 5:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I love Santa Barbara, but how is it urban? I guess that's why written in quotes.

jcsalas08 (anonymous profile)
August 6, 2013 at 5:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Pretty interesting from a science and demographics viewpoint.

If you read the study, the researchers wanted to use "standard" geographic locations ... so they choose urban areas as defined by the US Census Bureau. A sensible approach considering other happiness studies did the same thing (allows you to compare results of one study to another). It's also a huge advantage because the researchers can then tap into demographic Census info which is tagged by those urban areas.

Speaking of the other happiness studies, what's interesting is there was some decent correlation between this study and other happiness studies that used different methods.

And from a practical viewpoint, these kinds of studies shouldn't be interpreted in absolute terms. The value is more in the relative differences that steer social scientists in directions for further study.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
August 6, 2013 at 8:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: