Get Outta Here! New Yorkers Are Mostly Happy, Survey Finds

By DNAinfo Staff on October 21, 2010 1:42pm  | Updated on October 21, 2010 3:26pm

Isaias Sostre, 24, who works in Midtown West as financial consultant,
Isaias Sostre, 24, who works in Midtown West as financial consultant, "can't complain" about life in the city.
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DNAinfo/Della Hasselle

By Jill Colvin and Della Hasselle

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — Despite their reputation for being abrupt and cranky, New Yorkers are overwhelmingly happy, a new survey says.

Nine out of 10 New Yorkers polled described themselves as "happy" or "very happy," according to the “Survey on Livability,” which was released officially Thursday by the Municipal Arts Society of New York.

Overall, 95 percent of Manhattanites polled said they were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with life in the city, with 84 percent of residents polled citywide in agreement.

"We’re pretty happy!" said Vin Cipolla, President of MAS, at the opening day of the society’s Summit for New York City. "There’s no questing that, overall, New Yorkers are satisfied living in this city and their neighborhoods."

Lauren Holzer, 31, lawyer and Eric Helenek, 34, banker, both residents in West Village.
Lauren Holzer, 31, lawyer and Eric Helenek, 34, banker, both residents in West Village.
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DNAinfo/Della Hasselle

Manhattan residents also have something to smile about. More than 30 percent of New Yorkers consider the borough the best place to live. It was also ranked as safest, friendliest — and least affordable.

"Most people who live in the city have money. Money helps with happiness...You can go on vacations, eat nice dinners, go out to exciting places," Eric Helenek, 34, banker who lives in the West Village, told DNAinfo. "I like all the options, the restaurants, the ability to fly places direct. Direct flights are a very underrated benefit of living here."

Isais Sostre, 24, said who works in financial management in Midtown West said he "can't complain" for the most part about life in the city.

"Everyone's pursuing their own ideas, their own dreams," he said. "There's definitely a lot of life, a lot of action. New York definitely never sleeps, it only rests."

Only 11 percent of Manhattanites would want to leave New York if they could – compared with about a quarter of residents overall.

But while Manhattan-pride was sky-high, when asked which borough is the most family-friendly, more Manhattan residents voted for stroller-heavy Brooklyn.

The poll found that nine in 10 Manhattan residents like living in their neighborhoods. Nearly 80 percent said that, if given the choice, they would stay exactly where they are or move to a different part of their neighborhood.

More than half said their neighborhood has gotten better over time.

And despite the city's reputation for transience, Manhattan residents polled said they  have lived in the city an average of nearly 29 years and in their neighborhoods for nearly 18.

Asked what they like least about their neighborhoods, crowding and high cost-of-living topped the list.

But the results are not all rosy.

Twice as many Latino and African American New Yorkers than whites said they were unhappy in the city. Those who earned less than $75,000 weren't smiling either.

“If you’re white, you’re male, and you’re under 45, and you’re making more than $45,000, you’re good. The city’s working for you,” Mary Rowe, an urban fellow at MAS said at a panel addressing the findings.

Half of Manhattanites also complained that their neighborhoods are noisy.

The poll is based on a survey of than 1,000 residents across the boroughs by the Marist Polling Institute, conducted Sept 29. to Oct 6.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.