Why are so many people in this fabulous corner of the country feeling so blue? Is Seattle really such a gloomy place?
A recent U.S. Census Bureau survey found that, of the 15 largest American metro areas, Seattle and its neighboring communities had the highest number of citizens who reported being sad, depressed or hopeless for at least several days during the first two weeks in February — a startling 45.4% of us.
What is up with that? Sure, we get more than our share of clouds, rain and darkness in winter, but is it merely a matter of weather? I have some doubts about that being the primary depressant, considering that the second, third and fourth most morose metros on the list are all in the Sun Belt: Riverside-San Bernardino, Phoenix and Miami.
Another shocking finding in the survey is that the happiest of the 15 big towns is Dallas. Really? I’ve been to Dallas and, thanks to the absence of any zoning laws, the city feels like one big, sprawling, highway-and-strip-mall-choked suburb on steroids. Worse than that, it is located deep in the heart of Texas, where vigilantes are empowered to chase down women with unwanted or life-threatening pregnancies and a Trump-appointed federal judge is on the verge of banning abortion pills in all 50 states. Oh, and their electrical power grid is held together with extension cords.
The Seattle metro area is not without flaws. Housing is too expensive and, yeah, there’s a little precipitation now and then, but the general urban problems we have are matched or exceeded in many other places. Sure, Miami has sun, but it also has hurricanes, alligators and Ron DeSantis. Phoenix has homicidal heat in the summer and a water supply that is evaporating before our eyes. Riverside-San Bernardino? There’s no “there” there.
There is a lot of “there” here — spectacular mountains, gorgeous bodies of water, world-class urban amenities, and, yet, nearly half of us are often down in the dumps. One demographic factor that might contribute to Seattle’s exceptional moodiness is the higher proportion of young people in this area compared to other cities. Younger folks tend to be more angst ridden than their elders, which probably explains why Grunge Rock was invented here and not in a snowbird-infested place like Sun City or Sarasota.
So, kids, it’s time to buck up and put on a smile. Whenever you are feeling glum, just look on the bright side: You don’t live in Texas.
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