The Saddest City in America according to Twitter

If you're sad and you know it, don't cry a tear. Tweet instead!

A new study by researchers at the Vermont Complex Systems Center analyzed 80 million words from more than 10 million geotagged tweets in 2011 to find America's saddest city: Beaumont, Texas.

Using that list, researchers then collected tweets from more than 300 separate cities and towns across the United States and created an algorithm to assess how frequently "happy" words occurred vs. how frequently "sad" words occurred in different places. For example, people in Napa were much more likely to tweet the word "hope" than were their counterparts living along the Gulf Coast.

"The differences in the words people used told us a lot about the cities themselves," saysLewis Mitchell, a mathematician and the study's lead author. "Essentially we were able to create a geography of happiness." [...]

"The people at the bottom of our list live in states that are more socioeconomically depressed and where more natural disasters occur," he says. "There are higher rates of poverty, and the median incomes are lower."

This might explain why places like Beaumont and Shreveport, Louisiana, have sadder tweets.

Melody Kramer of National Geographic has the post: Link

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I live two towns over from Beaumont. I have lived, worked, and went to school in that terrible city, and it definitely takes the cake for the saddest. The town turned down a Disney Land/World park back in the 90's and instead built a park that literally cost more money to the tax payers that what it makes. The school district is always in the news for scandals (drunk driving maintence man; and tons more). There is nothing to do on the weekends in bore-mont as most call it. I completely agree with that study!
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I think that I could handle Austin. Not the Valley, though. I was offered a job there years ago, but realized that living there would be like living as an expat.

I'm actually surprised that Beaumont is so unhappy. I would have expected a bit of joy with the oil boom.
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I remember driving by a public housing complex once in Northern California and marveling at the large number of satellite TV dishes outside the building. They may be poor, but dammit, they've got hundreds of TV channels.

I suppose poverty is relative. Even the poor have smart phones nowadays.
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If poverty and low income are related to the unhappiness, the people tweeting are poor. If they are tweeting, they have cell phones or computers and internet connections. That means they have some things which I think most of the world doesn't associate with poverty.

I do agree that the study must be flawed. "I hope I get invited to that party." How would that indicate unhappiness?

I live in Texas. It is a wonderful place to live. All except Austin.
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Well, Mary, just because there are high *rates* of poverty doesn't mean *everyone* in those areas is poor. (And twitter accounts are free.) But yes, poverty in the US is defined differently...

I'm suspicious of the study...the selection of the 300 separate cities and towns could bias things, as could his interpretation of the connotations of some words. ("Hope" could be an indicator of many negative things. "My only hope is..." or "I have lost all hope..." or even "I hope I win the lottery" which is a pretty desparate statement... Plus, sarcasm and cultural differences around the country would mess with his algorithms.) Still, I'm sure *I* would be less happy in Texas, than in just about any other state....
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