Does City Size Affect Happiness?

  • Yoshio Itaba
Part of the Creative Economy book series (CRE)


Several geographical factors influence the extent to which people appear to feel happy. This study examines city size in particular. In large cities, agglomeration economies occur, bringing benefits that can be characterized as one of three types, according to Glaeser and Gottlieb (2009). The first type emphasizes the gains from the reduced cost of moving goods across space, the second emphasizes labor-market pooling and the benefits of moving people across firms, and the third argues that cities speed up the flow of ideas, creating human capital at the individual level and facilitating innovation. However, there are also costs in large cities, such as commuting expenses and increasing land prices. Wirth (1938) has mentioned aspects of cost, such as size, density, and heterogeneity in big cities, or the consequences for social life, such as impersonality, isolation, and the decline of primary group membership.


Social Capital Structural Equation Modeling Risk Aversion Standardize Root Mean Square Residual Religious Involvement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Albouy, D. (2008). Are big cities really bad places to live? Improving quality-of-life estimates across cities (NBER Working Paper 14472).Google Scholar
  2. Ballas, D., & Tranmer, M. (2012). Happy people or happy places? A multilevel modelling approach to the analysis of happiness and well-being. International Regional Science Review, 35, 70–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benet-Martinez, V., & John, O. P. (1998). Los Cinco Grandes across cultures and ethnic groups: Multitrait multimethod analyses of the Big Five in Spanish and English. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(3), 729–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berry, B. J. L., & Okulicz-Kozaryn, A. (2009). Dissatisfaction with city life: A new look at some old questions. Cities, 26, 117–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berry, B. J. L. & Okulicz-Kozaryn, A. (2011). An urban-rural happiness gradient. Urban Geography, 32(6), 871–883.Google Scholar
  6. DeNeve, K. M., & Cooper, H. (1998). The happy personality: A meta-analysis of 137 personality traits and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 197–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being, three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Easterlin, R. A., Angelescu, L., & Zweig, J. S. (2011). The impact of modern economic growth on urban–rural differences in subjective well-being. World Development, 39(12), 2187–2198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Florida, R. (2008). Who’s your city? New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  10. Frey, B. S., Benesch, C., & Stutzer, A. (2007). Does watching TV make us happy? Journal of Economic Psychology, 28(3), 283–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Glaeser, E. L., & Gottlieb, J. D. (2009). The wealth of cities: Agglomeration economies and spatial equilibrium in the United States. Journal of Economic Literature, 47(4), 983–1028.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gutierrez, J. L. G., Jimenez, B. M., Hernandez, E. G., & Puente, C. P. (2005). Personality and subjective well-being: Big Five correlates and demographic variables. Personality and Individual Differences, 38, 1561–1569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hills, P., & Argyle, M. (2002). The Oxford happiness questionnaire: A compact scale for the measurement of psychological well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 33, 1073–1082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lelkes, O. (2006). Tasting freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 59(2), 173–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Luttmer, E. F. P. (2005). Neighbors as negatives: Relative earnings and well-being. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120(3), 963–1002.Google Scholar
  16. McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (1991). Adding Liebe und Arbeit: The full five-factor model and well-being. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17, 227–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Morrison, P. (2007). Subjective well-being and the city. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 31, 74–103.Google Scholar
  18. Putnam, R. D. (1993). Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Schmacker, R. E., & Lomax, R. G. (2010). A beginner’s guide to structural equation modeling. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Tiefenbach, T., & Kohlbache F. (2013). Happiness from the viewpoint of economics. (German Institute for Japanese Studies Working Papers 13/1).Google Scholar
  21. Weiss, A., Bates, T. C., & Luciano, M. L. (2008). Happiness is a personal(ity) thing: The genetics of personality and well-being in a representative sample. Psychological Science, 19, 205–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Wirth, L. (1938). Urbanism as a way of life. American Journal of Sociology, 44, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EconomicsDoshisha UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations