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Nowadays, more and more people are opting to live in cities. There are many reasons for this, often stemming from the desire to seek out more varied opportunities for work, social time and personal development. City dwellers in general believe that living in a city provides them with opportunities that they would not have elsewhere, particularly when it comes to careers, self-fulfillment, entertainment and social interaction. A lot of research exists on why people choose to move to the city, but far less is known about how people feel once they live there. Ericsson’s Consumer Lab recently published a report to provide some insight into what makes a city a desirable place to live, how contented people are when living there, and what factors are primarily responsible for causing stress and unhappiness.

Here are some of the findings:

  • 50 percent of city denizens use smartphones to connect to the Internet every day - an activity that helps them deal with unpredictable aspects of city life (like traffic).
  • Women are generally happier than men, and students and white-collar workers are unsurprisingly happier than the unemployed.
  • People living in big city centers spend much more time socializing around town than people who live elsewhere. They also have many more online friends than the suburbanites.
  • City dwellers access online social networks as much as 3-5 times a day on average.
  • Commuting is the biggest source of stress and frustration. City dwellers spend an average of 2 hours and 20 minutes each day traveling the city. In Moscow it is even 3 hours and 30 minutes.
  • City dwellers are prone to feeling claustrophobic, especially when they do not have enough time to relax and enjoy themselves.
  • Access to clean, green public spaces is an important driver of happiness for city dwellers. It is the key differentiator when comparing satisfaction levels between cities.
  • 48 percent of people from 13 big cities around the world feel satisfied with their lives in the city. In Stockholm and Mumbai, approximately 70 percent claim to be satisfied.

Picture: Happy Stockholm via Flickr © aten