Ranked: 10 Most Emotionally Stable U.S. Cities

New study looks at role of personality in a city’s ability to bounce back from economic crisis.

In a new study that looks at city personalities and economic recovery, Jackson, Tennessee, topped a ranking of “emotionally stable” cities in the U.S. (Photo by Thomas R. Machnitzki)

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

From considering how urban design may encourage addiction, to measuring a city’s happiness, psychologists, sociologists and number-crunching big data specialists continue to study what makes cities tick — and how that ticking affects those who live there. Now, researchers have examined urban U.S. and Great Britain to determine how residents’ attitudes and entrepreneurial spirit may help cities with economic recovery.

Their study, published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, looked at personalities of more than one million residents in 700 cities and analyzed whether certain traits correlated to faster recovery from the recent recession. They say they were on to something. From the press release:

Cities fared better, with more businesses starting despite the recession, in places where residents displayed a more resilient personality, characterized by stronger emotional stability and entrepreneurial personality profile. This entrepreneurial profile is defined as persons scoring at the same time higher on extraversion, openness to new experiences, emotional stability, and conscientiousness, and lower on agreeableness.

“Cities seem to respond quite differently to major economic shocks in terms of their economic behavior, and the personality of a region may play a critical role,” said lead researcher Martin Obschonka, assistant professor of psychology at Saarland University in Germany. “Much research on economic resilience has focused on regional economic infrastructure, but the entrepreneurial personality and emotional stability of a city’s residents may be just as important in determining whether cities suffer or thrive during a recession.”

It wasn’t true across the board: New York and Boston, for instance, managed to bounce back despite an infamous neuroticism, according to the researchers. Here’s how they ranked U.S. cities (10 worst, 10 best) in terms of entrepreneurial spirit and emotional stability.

(Credit: Society for Personality and Social Psychology)

(Credit: Society for Personality and Social Psychology)

(Credit: Society for Personality and Social Psychology)

(Credit: Society for Personality and Social Psychology)

Rather than aiming to change a city’s personality profile, which has many contributing factors and develops over generations, Obschonka suggests that economic programs could be tailored to each city’s “traits”: “We may need to re-think the concept of regional economic resilience by considering the personality differences of cities instead of just focusing on infrastructure.”

Like what you’re reading? Get a browser notification whenever we post a new story. You’re signed-up for browser notifications of new stories. No longer want to be notified? Unsubscribe.

Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

Follow Jenn .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Tags: jobsurban planningsmall business

×
Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×
×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities
  • Gavri in Plantation, FL at $10/Year
  • TL in Victoria, BC at $5/Month
  • Anonymous at $60/Year

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    20th Anniversary Solutions of the Year magazine

has donated ! Thank you 🎉
Donate
×