Are We Happier in a Small Town? Knox College Psychologist, Tim Kasser

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We’ve explored a number of topics revolving around social problems we face in rural America, but just because we’re studying problems in rural America doesn’t mean everyone is miserable. In fact, rural places are awesome places to live and there’s endless amounts of great things going on. But here´s our essential question today –  can one make the case that you are happier living in a small town than anywhere else? To find out, we were very fortunate to discuss this topic with author & Knox College psychology professor, Tim Kasser. Dr. Kasser is well-known for his research on happiness which he’s conducted over the past 20 years.  He is the author of several book such as 2002s¨The High Price of Materialism¨ and has been featured in documentary films like 2011s ¨Happy¨ which explored reasons why even though the US has the largest economy, we rank just 23rd in happiest nations throughout the world.

The 2010 census found that almost 60 million Americans are living in what they characterize as rural areas. Although these rural areas cover 97% of the nation´s land areas, they have just 19% of the population. And to put this in perspective, the 1920 census was the 1st time more people lived in urban areas than rural.

And while many of us prefer small town living, can we make the case through research that we are happier? This is essentially what we asked our guest Dr. Tim Kasser; Are we happier in a small town?

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