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Map of happiness

Gross National Happiness map from New Scientist

Map showing the quality of Life Index Scores from Wikipedia

Quality of Life Index Scores from Wikipedia

Map of larcenies in the USA 1995

Percent of US population affected by larcenies 1995

Crime rate in California

Crime in California 2010 from Neighborhood Scout. Dark blue is safest.

In my continuing effort to find a new home I am searching for parameters which are likely to contribute to my future happiness. I am depending on other people’s research findings to help narrow the search. It has been observed that the residents of countries where there are poor laws which are arbitrarily enforced are very unhappy because bad things can happen to them and there is no recourse to justice. The two happiness maps at the top show the USA to be good and by checking the larcenies per county in the USA in 1995 one can get a general idea of places to avoid. That would need to be checked on a more local environment which can be done the Neighborhood Scout ratings.

This finding about crime being related to happiness was research done on the Gross National Happiness (GNH) project trying to measure the quality of life and social progress. That was an attempt to define and measure human success based on something more meaningful than money, which is measured with Gross National Product (GNP).

GDP per capita income world map in 2006

It has been observed that within a country money is not a good indicator of an individuals happiness after the basics for a descent livelihood have been met in their local environment and that other factors become more important. This research requires some subjective choice of what is valuable and a measurement of those feelings was developed in the country of Bhutan which can be viewed at gross national happiness. Later a more generalized questionnaire was developed in Canada by Michael Pennock. GNH are the promotion of sustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and establishment of good governance. From wikipedia article on Gross_national_happiness

GNH value is proposed to be an index function of the total average per capita of the following indicated via direct survey and statistical measurement of metrics such as:

  • Economic Wellness:  consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and income distribution
  • Environmental Wellness: pollution, noise and traffic
  • Physical Wellness: severe illnesses
  • Mental Wellness: usage of antidepressants and rise or decline of psychotherapy patients
  • Workplace Wellness: jobless claims, job change, workplace complaints and lawsuits
  • Social Wellness: discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of domestic conflicts and family lawsuits, public lawsuits, crime rates
  • Political Wellness: quality of local democracy, individual freedom, and foreign conflicts.

The above metrics were used in the first GNH survey and would make a good check list of problems watch for when moving into a new neighborhood or buying a new house. I found maps for crime, as shown above, but not for the other qualities. However, there is probably a correlation of those things with crime so finding a place to life that has a low crime rate, even if it costs a little more, is probably a good investment.

Live long and prosper and be happy.