Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Are you Happy? Maybe Not as Much as You Think...

In an article entitled "Happiness Index: Nebraska Nabs Top Spot" by Stephen Dalton posted on Mainstreet.com we read that Nebraska is the happiest state in the nation. New Jersey? We come in at 29th. New York, a respectable 14th place.

The Happiness Index, which looks at household income, debt, employment and foreclosures, is a fresh take on the old and tired Misery Index, made popular in the 1970s. The Misery Index takes into account unemployment and inflation rates and seeks to identify the most financially miserable places to live. The Happiness Index, on the other hand, is all about which states are best weathering the current economic storm.

Here are some interesting trends that can be gleaned from the Happiness Index. Not surprisingly, many of the states that experienced a boom during the housing bubble have more recently fallen by the wayside with increased foreclosures and debt. Just as the U.S. economy evolves, so too will the MainStreet.com Happiness Index.

While a fun activity to look up---the use of surveys and rankings are an important component to 21st Century mathematics skills which place an emphasis on statistical number sense as well as interpreting and utilizing charts and graphs. This is an example of the type of "real world" information that will be utilized in the high school mathematics curriculum. 

Picture: Click on graphic to see full state rankings.

So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty...I think of Dean Moriarty -Kerouac (On on Road)

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