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Bay Area City Named “America’s Happiest City” for 2022

New study using creepy AI that looks for smiles in your Instagram selfies names Concord as happiest city in U.S.
By - posted 8/20/2022 No Comment

Forget about leaving your heart in San Francisco. It turns out that Concord is America’s happiest city.

An analysis released Thursday by HouseFresh.com, a site focused on improving residential air quality, placed Concord in the Number One slot.

“The hometown of Tom Hanks is said to be a quiet and pleasant place to live: moderately wealthy, moderately liberal, and more affordable than similar cities nearby,” according to the HouseFresh.com website, and who are we to quarrel with this flattering assessment?

The rating method was, er, interesting. It was based on how many people in each city or state in America were smiling in their Instagram selfies. Yes, really.

How Did They Determine “Happiness?” It’s Kind of Creepy
We compared both “happiness” and “smiliness” because not every smile indicates happiness, and not every happy person smiles. After all, plenty of perfectly happy men choose not to smile in selfies because they suffer from man selfie face (lips in, eyebrows up, earnest). And some of the world’s most successful people ration their smiles in favor of pouting like an actual sparrow (parting your lips slightly, like a baby bird waiting to be fed).

To calculate the happiest cities and states in the U.S., we used Microsoft Azure’s Face API. This facial recognition tool places numerical estimates on emotions based on characteristics and expressions.

We analyzed images from each state’s Instagram page, as well as from the top 100 U.S. cities by population.

To work out the happiest cities and states, we used the FaceAPI happiness score, averaging all the scores for the faces detected by FaceAPI in each location.

For the smiliest cities and states, we considered that a face has a smile if its smile score was greater than 0.75. The locations were ranked by the percentage of people smiling.

HouseFresh.com used a face recognition API known as Azure to analyze a database of Instagram selfies from each state, as well as the 100 biggest U.S. cities.

The locations were ranked by the percentage of people smiling. Apparently, 74.4 percent of the Concord residents had a grin above their chin.

Regardless of the relative efficacy of this approach, one result is not unlikely: Residents of the East Bay might well be smiling at the ratings two of their towns recently received.

Not only is Concord now Number One in the eyes of HouseFresh, personal finance website WalletHub in March awarded the same honor to the City of Fremont.

Returning to the HouseFresh rankings, the top five below Concord were Provo, Utah; Knoxville, Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina; and Mesa, Arizona.

Yet another victory for the East Bay: San Francisco came in 15th, quite a snub.

California was determined to be the least happy and have the fewest smiles of all 50 states.

See the full study at housefresh.com

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