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Worcester is Not Too Happy

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


The City of Worcester is not a happy place. 

According to a recent study completed by WalletHub, Worcester ranks 121st out of 150 happy cities. 

“The pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right of all people. The U.S. Declaration of Independence makes that very clear. But as everyone discovers at some point, happiness is not so easy to achieve — unless, perhaps, you’re in a place where it is not only a state of being but also a way of life,” said WalletHub. 

Worcester ranks 120th for emotional and physical well being, 84th for income and employment and 137th for community and environment. 

The Rankings 

Worcester ranks behind Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Tampa, Florida who rank 119th and 120th respectively. Worcester ranks ahead of St. Petersburg, Florida and Milwaukee, Wisconsin who rank 122nd and 123rd respectively. 

Fremont, California is ranked as the happiest city in the U.S. while Detroit, Michigan is ranked last. 

See the full rankings in the map below 

Source: WalletHub

The Method 

In order to determine the happiest cities in America, WalletHub’s analysts compared 150 of the largest cities across three key dimensions: 1) Emotional & Physical Well-Being, 2) Income & Employment and 3) Community & Environment.

They evaluated these categories using 30 relevant metrics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing maximum happiness.

WalletHub then calculated overall scores for each city based on its weighted average across all metrics and used the resulting scores to construct our final ranking.

  • Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity (Chan and Diener, 2010)
  • Happiness from Ordinary and Extraordinary Experiences (Bhattacharjee and Mogilner, 2014)
  • Sports Participation and Happiness: Evidence from U.S. Micro Data (Huang and Humphreys, 2010)
  • Unhappy Cities (Glaeser, et al., 2014)


Emotional & Physical Well-Being - Total Points: 50

  • Emotional-Health Index: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Life-Satisfaction Index: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Expressions of Happiness: Half Weight (~1.92 Points)
  • Depression Rate: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Suicide Rate: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Adequate-Sleep Rate: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Physical-Health Index: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Sports-Participation Rate: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Obesity Rate: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Binge-Drinking Rate: Half Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Heart-Disease Rate: Half Weight (~1.92 Points)
  • Illness & Disability Index: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Life Expectancy: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)
  • Food-Insecurity Rate: Full Weight (~3.85 Points)


Income & Employment - Total Points: 25

  • Income-Growth Rate: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Share of Households Earning Annual Incomes Above $75,000: Half Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Poverty Rate: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Job Satisfaction: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Job Security: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Number of Weekly Work Hours: Full Weight (~3.33 Points)
  • Commute Time: Half Weight (~1.67 Points)


Community & Environment - Total Points: 25

  • Strength of Social Ties: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Population-Growth Rate: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Volunteer Rate: Half Weight (~2.08 Points)
  • Separation & Divorce Rate: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)
  • Ideal Weather: Half Weight (~2.08 Points)
  • Acres of Parkland per 1,000 Residents: Half Weight (~2.08 Points)
  • Number of Attractions: Half Weight (~2.08 Points)
  • Average Leisure Time Spent per Day: Full Weight (~4.17 Points)

Related Slideshow: Great Inventions That Come from Worcester

Prev Next

The Rickshaw

The first Rickshaw was created in Worcester not Asia.

Despite their immense popularity in Asia, the first Rickshaw was a Worcester invention. In 1846, Albert Tolman built what was described as a “man-drawn lorry” for a missionary on his way to South America. From there, the Rickshaw made its way to Asia.

Prev Next

The Typewriter

The first practical typewriter was invented by Charles Thurber of Worcester.

Patented in 1843, this bulky version had all the essential characteristics of today’s modern machine. Thurber was the first to place the paper on a roller and give it the ability to do accurate letter and word spacing. Thurber created the machine so that people with visual impairments could feel the raised keys and it could help the “nervous” with poor handwriting skills.

Prev Next

Pizza Pie Mix

The first Pizza Pie Mix was marketed in Worcester.

In 1947, Frank A. Firoillo had the first pizza stand in Worcester. In 1952, he became the first person to market a pizza pie mix.

Prev Next

Pressurized Space Suits

The first Pressurized Space Suits and Anti-G Suits were developed in Worcester.

As if that wasn’t enough firsts, the David Clark Company also created the space suit worn by astronaut Ed White in the first U.S. space walk in June of 1965. The company manufactured all of NASA’s Gemini space suits. Another company invention was the famous “Anti-G” suit that prevents pilots from blacking out when pulling out of high-speed dives . Pilots who wore the suits included Chuck Yeager and Neil Armstrong.

Prev Next

The Bicycle

The first bicycle made in America was built in Worcester.

The idea for the first bicycle originated in England so it was appropriate that it was  made by an Englishman, W.H. Pierce. It was constructed in 1878 at Stowe’s shop on Cypress Street in Worcester. In April 9th of the following year, the Worcester Bicycle Club was formed. Bicycles continued to gain in popularity with 175 sold in Worcester during 1888.

Prev Next

Valentine's Day Card

Esther Howland was the first person to mass-produce valentines in the U.S.

Esther Howland, a graduate of Mount Holyoke, was an artist and businesswoman who generated the Valentine’s Day greeting cards mass appeal in this country. In 1847, elaborate Valentine’s were only imported from Europe and were not available to the average American. Howland was a Worcester native, whose father owned the largest book and stationary store in Worcester so armed with supplies, she made up a dozen samples at home. Her brother took them out on his next sales trip and returned with $5,000 in orders. By 1874 she was using the name “The New England Valentine Company.” Her business eventually grossed $100,000 per year and she became known as ‘the Mother of the American Valentine”.

Prev Next

Monkey Wrench

The first monkey wrench was invented in Worcester.

In 1840, Worcester knife manufacturer Loring Coes, of the Coes Knife Company, invented the first monkey wrench which was patented in 1841. For the next eighty-seven years, the Coes family filed numerous patents and manufactured extensive  wrenches at their Worcester plant.

Prev Next

Insane Asylum

And last but not least...Worcester State Hospital was the first publicly financed Insane Asylum in the state.

Worcester Insane Hospital opened on January 12, 1833. During the first year, 164 patients were received. It continued to operate until on July 22, 1991 Worcester State Hospital, as it was known then, was mostly destroyed by fire and ending up closing later that year.


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