Laughing out loud: The Wall St. Journal’s ‘Misery Index’

We don’t normally make fun of statisticians or psychologists because they can turn around and prove we’re unlovable jerks in 11 different ways. Today it’s time for an exception.

The Journal’s “Misery Index“, with an apparently straight face, uses a smattering of economic data to portray the state of the human spirit in cities across the US. To check in on what condition our condition was in, the Journal focused on gasoline prices, of course. Real estate prices, of course. And, of course, no laughing matter at all, the unemployment rate.

According to this Index of Misery, Portland is the second most despondent place in the nation, whereas Detroit and Cleveland rank among the five least despondent.

Now, it could be that riding a bike just floods our brains and muscles with dopamine, serotonin, opiates, and THC equivalents (all true), blinding us to the true condition of Portlanders as a whole or even to the true crappiness of our own lives in the matrix formed between the white blinky light and the red blinky light. And surely unemployment is usually depressing, though this is relative to what your last job was like. In any case, maybe it’s time the Journal considered that if gasoline prices are really a measure of happiness, something is terribly wrong with the way Americans live.  Or with the way their statisticians think about living.

Now then. About this rain….