According to a recent study of the overall health of every county in the United States, people who live in Manhattan are in the 90th percentile when it comes to the lowest amount of premature deaths. Which is good news! For whatever reason (we walk a lot; we have access to a variety of health foods; rage at one’s fellow man is life-sustaining), those of us who reside in New York County will live longer than people in most other parts of the country. But, as you might have guessed, there’s a downside: Manhattanites also rank in the 90th percentile nationally when it comes to people who report being in “poor” or just “fair” health, and additionally we’re in the 90th percentile when it comes to the amount of crappy mental health days we’ve had in the past month. The average resident of Depression Island reports 3.4 days of poor feelings, as opposed to the national average of just 2.3 days per month.
The Post says this means “life sucks” in Manhattan, but let’s think about the math for a second: The difference between the amount of time people here feel like they are in poor mental health than the national average works out to be about 26 hours per month. That’s probably the exact amount of time you spend on the subway during rush hour if you have even a short commute. So, duh! Of course we’re going to be emotionally unhealthy that much more. How come this study didn’t figure in all the corresponding hours during which we feel warmly superior to “real America,” and how positively that affects our mental health? That’s clearly what’s giving us our particular je ne sais quoi to lead such long and productive lives.