Grumpy is as grumpy does
Northeast Pennsylvanians are not just unhappy, but more so than just about anyone else in the United States, according to a survey by economists at Harvard University and the University of British Columbia.
Such surveys inherently are dubious because participants are self-selected. Unhappy folks participate and sound off. But even so, our unhappy residents are even more unhappy than kindred spirits from other regions.
Everyone in the area could list reasons for unhappiness. We lead the league in convicted judges, for example, and our unemployment rate has been stubbornly higher than in most other regions. You want unhappy? Take a look at Scranton's financial statement.
But the most remarkable thing about the survey is one of its conclusions - that unhappiness isn't the result of a region's decline but a cause of it. This, apparently, is derived from the finding that unhappiness in regions in decline appears to have existed even when those regions were more prosperous, which means that the unhappiness traveled across generations.
Although such surveys are not definitive, the worst thing that could happen is if its dystopian picture of a never-ending cycle of unhappiness proves true.
Fortunately, abundant history shows that each generation can do much to shape its destiny. Northeast Pennsylvania is no different.