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Health, happiness, and higher levels of social organisation
  1. Nancy Ross
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr N Ross
 Department of Geography, McGill University, Montral, Quebec, Canada;

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Healthy communities tend to be happy communities

In their paper Subramanian and colleagues show us that both individual and community level health and happiness tend to covary but that the community level health-happiness covariation is quite a bit stronger than that for individuals.1 Their approach is novel in that they examine the covariation in these two outcomes nested within individuals who are in turn nested within USA communities.

The study design of the Subramanian paper forces the questions: Are people naturally endowed with a degree of happiness that life events, whether positive or negative, are unlikely to influence? Or are there life circumstances, set in motion by social contexts, which have enduring effects on our levels of happiness? If we assume that people have a set point of happiness homoeostasis that only wavers slightly in response to either positive and negative life conditions and events we might expect that …

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