MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We all know the Twin Cities are a clean, friendly place to live, but now the whole country knows just how happy everyone is, too.
Minneapolis and St. Paul received some of the highest happiness grades from “Men’s Health” magazine. Rankings are based on rates of unemployment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics from June 2011, along with suicide rates and antidepressant usage. The magazine also looked at the number of people who report feeling the blues all, or most of the time.
St. Paul got a grade of A- by “Men’s Health” and ranked as America’s 8th happiest city. Minneapolis wasn’t too far behind with a B+ grade. It ranked as America’s 14th happiest city.
“I’m the chief instigator of kindness,” said Lisa Metwaly, who owns Q Kindness Café in downtown St. Paul. “I want people to feel welcome here. And I want people to feel they each have a unique gift, and the world needs more kindness.”
Kindness, she believes, goes right in line with happiness. She believes St. Paul has a lot to offer and isn’t necessarily surprised it’s ranked so high.
“It’s very inviting. Obviously the people in St. Paul are inviting. They want you to come and want you to feel safe,” she said.
Honolulu is the happiest place in the country with an A+ ranking, followed by Manchester, New Hampshire and Fargo. In fact, eight of the top 20 happiest cities are in the Midwest, including Des Moines, Omaha, Madison, Lincoln and Sioux Falls.
“Men’s Health” says it found Florida to be a depressing place to live, even with abundant sunshine and warmth. St. Petersburg was the saddest, dead last at No. 100 on the list. Tampa ranked at 97 and Miami at 93.
Researchers also discovered that bike paths and parks play a role in how happy residents are. They’re able to recover from stress and fatigue with green space, which is abundant in the Twin Cities.
“I’m more surprised we’re not No. 1, to tell you the truth,” said Andy Sposeto, who lives and works in Minneapolis.
He is in charge of perennials at Sunnyside Gardens in Southwest Minneapolis near 44th and France Avenue.
“It’s pretty hard to be in a bad mood when you’re around flowers all day,” he said.
Sposeto said his customers give the term, “Minnesota Nice,” meaning.
“There’s so much going on, and people really have a connection to the communities here, and I think it’s a really fulfilling life here,” he said.