City Hall’s credibility took another shot in the foot last week in a news release about a “happiness” report from a University of Vermont study.
The Vermont study purports to identify the “happiest” places in America based on geographically tagged words in Twitter messages (Tweets). Ten thousand words were assigned happy points. “Rainbow” had a higher happy score than “earthquake.” Validity questions aside, the University found its home state, Vermont, was the 5th happiest behind Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and Utah. California was 13th. The saddest state was Louisiana.
The University also surveyed urban populations, finding South Orange County to be the 4th happiest urban area nationwide. The local region was officially titled “Mission Viejo-Lake Forest-San Clemente,” but the scatter map of tweets below shows the ranked area also included Rancho Santa Margarita, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Aliso Viejo, Ladera Ranch, Dana Point, and San Juan Capistrano. To enlarge map, click here.
MV’s City Hall falsely seized the dubious glory for itself, however, stating, “Mission Viejo has been ranked as the fourth “happiest city” in the United States, according to a study by the University of Vermont.” The article made no mention or reference to any of the other South County cities in the population sample. The PR piece went farther, implying significant credit could be attributed to “municipal services” provided by, yep, MV City Hall.
Never mind there are a dozen different cities in the ranked area. The biggest cluster of happy Tweets (red) appears to be from along the Coast, primarily in Laguna Beach.