Louisiana's ranking on the "Misery Report" — Bloomberg's take on the "misery index" — is, well, pretty miserable.
Similar to the standard misery index, which is determined by unemployment and inflation rates, Bloomberg's version also considers 13 misery-inducing factors in its calculation of a state's misery level, like health care access, poverty rates, air pollution levels and even the number of on-the-job fatalities.
The expression "misery loves company" rings true according to Bloomberg's index, which considers the Deep South the nation's most miserable region.
Though Bloomberg doesn't consider Louisiana to be the most miserable of the 50 states — that honor goes to Mississippi — it is the second most miserable, followed in rank by Alabama, South Carolina and Arkansas.
According to a blog by Stanford Daily's Adam Johnson, the online reaction to Bloomberg's index was a mixed-bag. He writes:
[S]ome journalists and bloggers were unsurprised, while others — especially residents of those five states — claimed that Bloomberg (based in New York City) was missing what makes the South special. One blogger wrote that "in South Carolina we are all neighbors. The atmosphere is laid back, relaxed and not in a hurry." In a comment to this post, someone wrote that “I lived in the south and loved the people, their love and personalities in life, there is nothing like it.” Another wrote that “‘happiness’ may be a difficult outcome to determine based on those metrics.” Are these criticisms of the Bloomberg ranking fair?
For southerners getting their feathers ruffled over their state's Bloomberg misery ranking — calling it biased and ignorant of life in the South — Johnson recommends Gallup-Healthways "Well-Being Index."
The difference between the Gallup-Healthways and Bloomberg indices is that the Gallup-Healthways analysis takes a more internal approach, and evaluates the "internal well-being" of a state's residents, considering such factors as emotional health and work environments.
Under those criterion, Louisiana goes from being the second-most miserable state, per Bloomberg, to being the 36th best state, or 14th worst — depending on how you look at it — on the Gallup-Healthways version.
To read Stanford Daily's blog on the pros and cons of Bloomberg's analysis, click here.
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