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The List: The Happiest US Cities Based on Tweets

The happiest city is Napa, Calif., at least according to an analysis of tweets on Twitter.

In a new study, University of Vermont mathematician Lewis Mitchell and his colleagues created a tool called the "hedonmeter," which collected 10 million tweets that had location data attached from 373 urban areas in the United States — nearly 10 percent of all of Twitter's 2011 posts with location data. They then broke them into individual words.

To figure out which words were happy, sad or neutral, the team used ratings that came from 10,000 users of a website called Mechanical Turk, who assessed 5,000 common words. Curse words and words like "hate" or "wrong" tended to be rated as sad words, while words such as "lol," "sleep" and "funny" were rated as happy. Here's what they found ...

The 15 Happiest Cities in the United States:

Napa, Calif.

Longmont, Colo.

San Clemente, Calif.

Santa Fe, N.M.

Santa Cruz, Calif.

Green Bay, Wis.

Santa Rosa, Calif.

Simi Valley, Calif.

Lafayette, Colo.

Asheville, N.C.

Spokane, Wash.

Boulder, Colo.

Fort Collins, Colo.

Santa Barbara, Calif.

San Jose, Calif.


The 15 Saddest Cities in the United States:


Beaumont, Texas

Albany, Ga.

Texas City, Texas

Shreveport, La.

Monroe, La.

Memphis, Tenn.

Battle Creek, Mich.

Flint, Mich.

Lima, Ohio

Houma, La.

Waterbury, Conn.

Alexandria, La.

Port Arthur, Texas

Montgomery, Ala.

Dothan, Ala.


The Happiest States:

1. Hawaii

2. Maine

3. Nevada

4. Utah 

5. Vermont

6. Colorado

7. Idaho

8. New Hampshire

9. Washington

10. Wyoming

11. Minnesota

12. Arizona

13. California

14. Florida

15. New York 

16. New Mexico 

17. Iowa

18. Oregon

19. North Dakota

20. Nebraska

21. Wisconsin

22. Kansas

23. Alaska

24. Oklahoma

25. Massachusetts 

26. Montana 

27. Missouri 

28. Kentucky 

29. New Jersey

30. West Virginia

31. Illinois 

32. Rhode Island 

33. Indiana 

34. Texas

35. South Dakota 

36. Virginia

37. Tennessee

38. Connecticut

39. Pennsylvania

40. South Carolina

41. North Carolina

42. Ohio

43. Arkansas

44. District of Columbia

45. Michigan 

46. Alabama

47. Georgia 

48. Delaware

49. Maryland

50. Mississippi

51 Louisiana


For the full story, read Tweets Reveal Happiest US Cities.


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Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News,, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.