Is Beaumont the Saddest City in America?

Or are their tweets just too profane?

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Is Beaumont, Texas the saddest city in America? Yes, if we’re to judge by Twitter prose, which is exactly what a team from the University of Vermont did. Their study found that tweets from Beaumont contained a whole lot of curse words and not enough “happy” words, such as rainbow, love, beauty, hope, wonderful, and wine.

In this new creative pursuit to quanitfy happiness, which The Atlantic broke down in layman’s terms, researchers analyzed 10 million geotagged tweets, creating a chart called a “hedonometer.” Each tweet was then coded for its level of happiness based on the frequency of words deemed “happy” or “sad” by Amazon Mechanical Turk (an internet marketplace wherein users post jobs that can only be completed by humans). Awesome, sleep, deal, Christmas, and lol all signified happiness in this study, while gone, no, boo, hurt, smokeugly, and a smattering of swear words were measured as indicators of sadness. Each city’s use of such words  was compared against the U.S. average:

The "hedonometer"

Of the 373 urban areas studied, Beaumont had the most negative words and least positive, making it the unhappiest city in the nation. Two other Texas spots, Texas City and Port Arthur, also landed on the top 15 Saddest Cities chart, in spots three and 13, respectively.

Though Beaumont’s “lol” usage was especially high, it apparently didn’t add enough joy to counteract the city’s ubiquitous cursing. The researchers took note of the large amount of swearing in certain cities, The Atlantic said, and are eager to dig deeper into the phenomenon, which they have labeled “geoprofanity.”

Where were the happiest spots in the country? Napa, California was the top city (presumably due to the frequency of the word “wine” in their tweets) and Hawaii was ranked the happiest state (no explanation needed).

Cities with more tweets overall were sadder, reported CNN. The Vermont study interpreted this to mean that higher levels of technology and connectedness may be correlated with unhappiness.

The researchers acknowledge that their study ignored context when ranking these keywords, but claim that with a sufficiently large dataset, it still offers “reliable results.” The Atlantic also noted that the study didn’t consider the unique ways that different communities and cultures might express happiness.

Despite scientific flaws, the research team says their results matched up with other measures of happiness. Gallup surveys, income, and obesity levels correlated with the Twitter assessment.

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  • tonya wells

    well in napa, ca. everyones drunk soooo, I bet they are happy happy happy, but im from bmt,tx. , an they don’t call us the dirty south for no reason,lol

  • tonya wells

    these things happen all over America, why is bmt being singled out!…cause of a poll where lol, etc..ect.., words are used, this is ridiculous, so what we curse, so does a lot of ppl………..

    • $20197477

      Beaumont may not be the worst city in the US, but it’s in the top five by any measure. The air stinks pretty much all the time. Anyone with any talent or ambition leaves as soon as they can, leaving nothing but incompetent, corrupt yahoos behind.

  • JK

    Agreed wholeheartedly. It is very racist in Beaumont. Zero areas to mingle and it’s the “SOS” day to day. Most are closed-minded.

  • Jim

    Get out asap.

  • Mike S.

    That can’t be your only problem with it. Besides, Beaumont’s school district isn’t the only one in that area with corruption/other issues. It’s just the one that gets the coverage.

  • Mike S.

    Lived there five years and consider it the worst place I’ve ever lived, mostly for the reasons you cited. The ironic thing was the only time there was togetherness was in the immediate aftermath of hurricanes Rita and Ike. As soon as the lights came on both times, it was back to “you go over there, we’ll go over here.” And the leadership plays on this to stay in power. Just look at the results of any municipal or Jefferson County elections.

  • Mike S.

    Also, I’ll add that due to my work, I had to have a firsthand look at the politics of the place. Just a mess. I found it so strange that there is SO much wealth in Beaumont, but the masses are poor and never involve themselves in local government.

  • Terry Mitchel

    I lived in Beaumont for 35 yrs until in turned in to a slum. It is the nastiest place I’ve ever seen now!

  • Terry Mitchel

    You should be happy cuz all of schools are black now! I took my kids out of beaumont ! Straight to vidor.