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Does Education Make You Happy?

February 22, 2010

Catherine Rampell in The New York Times:

Ignorance isn’t bliss. Rather, education is.

At least, that’s what trends in education and  well-being levels across American cities seem to show. On Tuesday, we wrote about the happiest states and cities in America (Hawaii and Boulder, Colo.,  took top honors). In response, lots of readers havespeculated about what made some states report higher levels of well-being than others.

Now  Richard Florida, director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and his colleague Charlotta Mellander have taken a closer look at the metropolitan well-being numbers. They found moderate correlations between happiness and other factors, like   wages,  unemployment and  output per capita.

But the variable they looked at that showed the strongest relationship with happiness was “human capital,” measured as the share of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher. See how close those dots are to the line of best fit? That means that educational attainment can help explain a lot of the variation in well-being levels across American cities. [More]

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