Life on Tapp: Do we really need a poll to tell us whether we’re happy or not?
Blaise Tapp writes: Consumers of any media can’t escape articles which are either based on some sort of survey or rankings, which is due to the fact that readers, not to mention journalists, love lists, especially when they deem one thing to be much better than another. Once you say that something is superior to the rest of the competition, then you can almost guarantee that consumers will take notice.
One league table which, very sadly, shows no sign of disappearing any time soon is the one which ranks towns and cities as the happiest places to live. The very notion of it makes me want to gently weep because it is so very daft indeed because how does one begin to quantify happiness? Unless you’re someone who spends far too much time in Disney World, it’s almost impossible to tell whether or not somebody is content with their lot or not.
The poll, which has been running for well over a decade, is compiled by a well known property website and judges happy places by, among other things, friendliness, community spirit, access to green spaces and amenities. This year’s winner is Richmond upon Thames, an unquestionably lovely place where the average house price is more than £950,000, but good luck finding a spacious family home there for that price. The second happiest place is Winchester, Hampshire, where the average house price is around £570,000.
Even just a quick look at the top 20 shows that all the places listed are either affluent or somewhere we would be happy to have a holiday. There isn’t a large northern city or a former mill town to be seen anywhere at the top of this list. I imagine that along with the smug folk who are very happy walking through leafy parks to collect a chai latte after yoga, all of these places in this league table have more than their fair share of miserable people, probably worn down by the pressure of paying to live in such well heeled postcodes.
While there is a place in society for surveys and polls, do we really need to be told that people who live in multi-million pound homes are, generally speaking, more happy with their lot than the rest of us?