LIVING in big cities makes you miserable and people are actually more happy away from urban areas, claims research. Researchers looking at happiness levels found that the popularity of big cities such as London, New York and Los Angeles undermined their attractions by increasing congestion, house prices and air pollution. Only the high wages and exciting jobs offset this lower quality of life. The study, by the University of Warwick and Hamilton College in NewYork and published in Science, looked at two happiness surveys in America. They found that California and New York came bottom of the list. We have been asked a lot whether we expected that states like New York and California would do so badly in the happiness ranking, said Professor Andrew Oswald, lead author. Many people think these states would be marvellous places to live in. The problem is that if too many individuals think that way, they move into those states, and the resulting congestion and house prices make it a non-fulfilling prophecy. In a way, it is like the stock market. Telegraph If everyone thinks it would be great to buy stock X, that stock is generally already overvalued. Bargains in life are usually found outside the spotlight. It may be that exactly the same is true of the best places to live. Telegraph