No urban malaise for Millennials

Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, Rubia R. Valente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Urban malaise or unhappiness with city life is common in developed countries. City dwellers, particularly those in the largest metropolitan areas, are reported to be the least satisfied with their lives. Using the US General Social Survey (1972–2016), this paper explores the latest happiness trends. The results confirm earlier findings of urban malaise: Americans in general are happiest in smaller cities and rural areas. However, the advantage of rural living is declining–rural Americans are becoming less happy relative to urbanites. Most interestingly, the results show that the latest generation, termed ‘Millennials’ (1982–2004), as opposed to earlier generations, are the happiest in large cities (an estimated magnitude larger than earning an additional US$100,000 in family income annually). The possible reasons for this trend are explored and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-205
Number of pages11
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


  • Gen Y
  • General Social Survey (GSS)
  • Generation Y
  • Millennials
  • cities
  • happiness
  • life satisfaction
  • subjective well-being (SWB)
  • urbanicity


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