Just returned from a decent business trip to London.
I am there more or less frequently, and it is an amazing and fascinating city.
However, this time it struck me that, although being in one of the most famous cities of the world, people on the streets look above average unhappy.
Everybody seems to be in an extreme rush, many people show unhappy or outright sad faces (although weather was ok) and very few people seem to laugh on the street (or on their cell-phones) or have a chat with a stranger. Even more so than in other big cities I know of.
How is that?
It might be a purely subjective observation and obviously winter time all cities look a bit more depressed, but I doubted this is the only reason, thus I did a bit of research and found a study about London happiness that confirmed my observation:
Londoners are on average significantly less happy than other inhabitants of the UK.
And this is despite of the fact that London offers the highest earnings, an extremely wide offer of leisure and cultural activities, a huge party life, very modern atmosphere and generally is said to be a great place.
Observe that the overall happiness difference is significant, about the same distance as it is from the moderate/hard-pressed earnings group to the comfortably off group.
It is also interesting that a happiness gap even exist for the wealthy achievers and urban prosperities, two groups that should particularly flourish in a city like London and are likely to be able to afford the very costly life there.
I leave speculations about the reasons of London relative unhappiness to you readers, but maybe this findings are another sign that progress, money, career opportunities and a busy life are not automatically a happiness provider – in contrary to whan many seem to believe…
ps. In any case London still is worth a trip I’d say – but be prepared that it will not be a frugal one.