Are we happy or sad? New study has opposite results for Louisiana’s ranking

Are we happy or sad? New study has opposite results for Louisiana’s ranking

POSTED: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 4:00pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 7:17pm

Depending on the data source, the results for a particular research topic can prove vastly different. For instance, a new study has ranked Louisiana as the saddest state, whereas a past study had the opposite result.

Profanity. That’s one of the reason Louisiana is ranked as the saddest state in America, according to new research released by the University of Vermont.

The study utilized more than 10 million geotagged tweets from 2011 to map the moods of Americans. Researchers rated 10,000 words on a scale of 1 to 10. Negative words such as mad, hate, no, boo, smoke and jail were on the low end. Among those words were expletives.

Louisiana was ranked as the saddest state, which was largely due to the use of profanities. They then broke down the data to establish the top five saddest cities and Louisiana took home top bill not once, but twice.

The five most bummed-out cities were Beaumont, Texas; Albany, Georgia;Texas City, Texas; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Monroe, Louisiana.

Having a potty mouth isn’t the only reason for ranking high on the low list. Researchers also compared the results against census data and found that areas with high-obesity were also those that ranked low in happiness. Terms such as McDonalds, wings, ham and heartburn were popular in high-obesity areas, whereas words such as café, sushi, brewery and banana were common in low-obesity areas.

Although the study does show promise as being a new way of conducting surveys, researchers admitted that the numbers are not completely accurate. They say that only 15 percent of online adults are using Twitter and those users don’t fully represent the U.S. demographics. In fact, similar studies conducted in recent years have nearly the opposite results.

In 2009 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a more traditional survey of 1.3 million people across the country. The study collected data over four years and included a question asking people how satisfied they are with their lives.

The results of that study were vastly different from the Twitter-based research. That study listed Louisiana as the number one state for happiness. The saddest state in that study was New York.

So which study has it right? We want to know what you think. Tell us your thoughts on the NBC33 Facebook page.

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