Angelenos lag behind nation in happiness and satisfaction

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Thanks largely to high cost of living and gas prices, Los Angeles County residents are generally less satisfied with their lives than people across the nation, according to a USC study released earlier this week.

According to the LABarometer survey conducted by the USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research, Angelenos are also less optimistic about the economy.

“Our first survey results show a resounding theme, which is that the high cost of living in Los Angeles largely dampens residents’ views on a range of measures, from life satisfaction to their economic outlook,” Kyla Thomas, the director of LABarometer and a USC Dornsife CESR sociologist, said.

The study found that Los Angeles residents are overall slightly more satisfied than dissatisfied with their lives. Survey respondents reported having an average life satisfaction score of 4.4 on a scale of one to seven, with one being the least satisfied.

The average national score is 4.6.

According to the report, respondents said personal finances are the most important factors for life satisfaction in Los Angeles County. Angelenos also reported being less satisfied with their personal finances compared to family life, their job, social lives, health, free time and self-esteem, the study found. Combined, the results suggest that dissatisfaction with personal finances may be a key reason that Angelenos report lower life satisfaction than other Americans, USC stated.

Los Angeles has some of the highest rent and property values in the country, and as of recently, it has the highest gas prices in the nation, according to GasBuddy.

The first survey was conducted from July 19 through Sept. 30 and asked 1,700 Los Angeles County residents a series of questions about life satisfaction, housing circumstances and plans, neighborhood satisfaction, crime and social connectedness.

According to USC, the survey has an average response rate of between 70 and 80 percent.

LABarometer is funded in part by Union Bank. The survey is funded for ten years, with plans to expand survey participation over the next few years to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the region.

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