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Study: Idaho Falls is 2nd-happiest city

By By Jamie Ostroff, Reporter
Published On: Feb 25 2013 06:07:06 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 26 2013 12:15:30 PM CST

Study: Idaho Falls is 2nd-happiest city

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Researchers on the East Coast are giving the people of Idaho Falls something to smile about.

A new study from the University of Vermont says Idaho Falls is the second happiest city in the country.

Researchers took to Twitter, analyzing 10 million tweets from nearly 400 U.S. cities.

The study assigned higher numerical value to "positive" words, including "cafe," "pub," "art" and "library."  Negative words like "bored," "hate," "tired" and "stupid" were given low value.

The analysis aligns with a surge of new coffee shops and bars in Idaho Falls, plus the city's proximity to world-class skiing and national parks.

"We've got a good clean city, we've got home prices that are fairly low if you look at home prices compared to other areas of the country.  I think it's a great place to raise children and I think people are generally nice to one another," said Dr. John Landers, a psychologist at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. "If you're in a higher-cost area, where people are struggling with unemployment and meeting their basic needs, then they're not going to be able to focus on those happier things."

"I can't imagine what city would be happier than the overall here," said Idaho Falls resident Walter Roth.

The only city that did rank higher was Napa, Calif., otherwise known as "wine country."

"They have a chemical inducement, so it's not fair!" Landers joked.

Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman thinks the key to happiness is simple.

"We're very blessed to have the people that we do, who go out of the way and serve other people.  Of course we're going to be happy," Fuhriman said.

See the study at http://arxiv.org/pdf/1302.3299.pdf and http://www.uvm.edu/storylab/share/papers/mitchell2013a/index.html.

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