Business
9:10 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Are you happy? Apparently, most Seattleites are darn happy

The Occupy movement is in full force in Seattle with protesters taking to the streets showing their discontent with the way things are. And yet, when asked in a recent survey, are you happy? Most Seattleites said … yes, pretty much.

In fact, when it comes to happiness, Seattle is above average!

So, just how happy are we?

John de Graaf  is the man to ask. He's the outreach director for the Happiness Initiative which released Seattle’s first Happiness Report Card. It measures our feelings about our place in the world and our community, more so than material success.

It turns out Seattle residents are a fairly happy bunch.

"We’re a city that’s doing very well when it comes to interpersonal trust. People in Seattle feel very safe. They trust that if they lose a wallet for example that it’ll be returned,"  said De Graaf.

And most people, or at least the ones who took the 15 minute online survey, which you can still take, reported they feel good about their material wellbeing.

The kids aren't alright

So how do you explain the 99% who say they don’t have equal access to the nation’s wealth, jobs or healthcare?  De Graaf said, this group is largely made up of young adults. And for the first time ever "young people, in Seattle, 19 to 24 year olds, are the least happy group."

"The low scores for ages 19-24 may reflect the situation for young people who must deal with fewer job opportunities; greater debt; more competitive stress; and other factors. This trend could adversely affect the health of these young people, and it is possible that the stresses they face will further erode their sense of well-being and connection with others. We believe this data (if confirmed by further study) should be taken seriously by policy makers and the entire community," the group said in it's report on the survey.

That wasn’t the case in other North American cities that have taken the Happiness Survey including Victoria, B.C. and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

"Generally speaking, young people and old people, older people are the happiest and middle aged people are the least happy."

Seattle's City Council is the first local government to agree to use the survey’s findings as it looks at future policy options.

Getting involved

Council president, Richard Conlin, said he hopes to encourage greater community participation. For instance, building better neighborhood networks by making community centers more available for people to come together to talk about their hopes for the city.

If you want to boost your own personal happiness, survey says: volunteer somewhere.  

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