ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Reasons for Community Attachment & Happiness: Thoughts from Richard Florida & Forbes.

Updated on November 16, 2015

In “Soul of the City,” Dr. Richard Florida examined the reasons people have for attachment to their communities, and the top three are openness, social offerings, and aesthetics. This article was a result of a giant survey called “Soul of the Community” through a partnership between the Gallup Organization and Knight Foundation.

The other seven domains are infrastructure, the economy, safety, leadership, education, civic involvement, and social capital. While the economic crisis is the number one concern of Americans, it does not have as major an effect on community attachment as openness, social offerings, and aesthetics.

Now let’s look at the main reasons for happiness: free of pain, rested, respected, and intellectually engaged. These four categories came from “The World’s Happiest Countries,” by Francesca Levy. Between 2005 and 2009, the Gallup World Poll surveyed thousands of respondents in 155 countries, in order to measure two types of well-being: overall life evaluation and how you felt the previous day, according to those four categories. Then the researchers classified people as either thriving or struggling. Importantly, the researchers point out that how we evaluate our happiness--overall and recently—affects our decision-making.

Let's look at the term "intellectually engaged." What if you can't read? Researchers need to integrate findings from throughout social science and education. The Texas A&M Department of Education and Human Development report that 19% of adult Texans can't read a newspaper. The statistics get far worse near the Rio Grande Valley. Smith County, where Tyler is the county seat, beats the state average with only 13% illiteracy. What if you don't want to be intellectually engaged? In "How to Understand 'Acting White,'" Richard Thompson Ford reports many feel that desegregation inadvertently led to African American underachievement in the schools, particularly among those who stayed in Black communities. Suddenly, doing well in school meant one was "acting White," and the crafty street toughs became the new role models. On the other hand, the previously all-White suburbs experienced an influx of Black professionals while the Black communities lost many of their middle-class role models and plenty of neighborhood businesses too.

The Scandinavian Countries are the happiest: Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden take the top four places. The Netherlands is number five. Making a good salary accounts for a good deal of these countries’ happiness but not all of it. Denmark had a per-capita GDP of $36,000 in 2009, according to the Central Intelligence Agency. That's higher than 196 of the 227 countries for which the CIA collects statistics.” Still that means Denmark is only #31 in average yearly income. Costa Rica is the happiest country in the Americas at number six world wide, because of tight social networks that provide social and psychological prosperity, according to the Gallup World Poll. That Central American country finished ahead of the wealthier United States on the happiness measures.

However, a survey reported by the British news website, The Guardian, rated Costa Rica as #1 by “combining measures of their ecological footprint with the happiness of their citizens.” The New Economics Foundation (NEF) developed the Happy Planet Index (HPI) In "Costa Rica is the world's greenest, happiest country,", The Netherlands was the highest rated Western country by NEF. The Dutch levels of life satisfaction are about the same as the US, and the Dutch live one year longer than Americans. Yet the Dutch “per capita ecological footprint is less than half the size” of Americans. “The Netherlands is therefore over twice as environmentally efficient at achieving good lives as the US,” according to NEF. Meanwhile, "Costa Ricans top the list because they report the highest life satisfaction in the world, they live slightly longer than Americans, yet have an ecological footprint that is less than a quarter the size."

Let’s look at a study of the most relaxed cities in the US since two of the four happiness measures are “rested” and “free of pain.” In "America's Most Relaxed Cities," “high unemployment, heavy traffic and long working hours” are the factors that lead to stress. On the other hand, access to health care and self-ratings of health lead to a relaxed state of mind. Minneapolis-St. Paul and Milwaukee are the top two relaxed American cities. A city with a culture of exercise has less stress and more relaxation. “Four cities that make the list are known for residents who love the outdoors” and have higher than average exercise rates: 4. Portland, OR, 6. Denver, CO, 7.Seattle, WA, and 10. San Jose, CA.

Gallup developed another measure of well-being, and it has now has five domains, instead of six.

  • Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

We may need more research in this area after the debt ceiling crisis in the US and the tragic massacre in Paris. I'd like to suggest additional questions: (1) Do you have confidence in your country's government? (2) Do you feel that religious extremists present a danger to your country? This is just the beginning.


To conclude, researchers today have developed excellent categories for analyzing happiness and relaxation, as well as their opposites. These four categories: free of pain, rested, respected, and intellectually engaged came from “The World’s Happiest Countries,” by Francesca Levy. Importantly, these studies have been conducted in countries throughout the world and in cities throughout the US. Forbes magazine has been a major source. One can see how the categories can interlock also. Are you happy? If you're unhappy, you should be able to identify the reasons more easily than before this research was conducted.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • bohemiotx profile imageAUTHOR

      Joffre Meyer 

      4 years ago from Tyler, TX

      New edit in 2015. Fixed broken links and edited.

    • bohemiotx profile imageAUTHOR

      Joffre Meyer 

      7 years ago from Tyler, TX

      New title with this edit--better hook with other hub and being cool with the downtown homies.

    • bohemiotx profile imageAUTHOR

      Joffre Meyer 

      9 years ago from Tyler, TX

      An edit with a summary and more hyperlinks in place of mere underlining--new subtitle.

    • bohemiotx profile imageAUTHOR

      Joffre Meyer 

      9 years ago from Tyler, TX

      My latest edit has the well-being index, also from Gallup, and I found it at Richard Florida's Creative Class website.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)