Does Twitter make them happy, or is it where they live?
Mission Viejo residents are among a small group of South County twitterers who were collectively ranked 4th-happiest in a study of 373 U.S. urban areas in 2011.
As a group, Mission Viejo, Lake Forest and San Clemente are among the top 10 happiest cities in the United States, according to the University of Vermont study.
University researchers analyzed more than 10 million "geo-tagged" Twitter messages from 373 urban areas in 2011. The researchers scored more than 80 million words in the tweets for levels of happiness.
They considered some words to be happy, such as "beach," "wine," and "cheers" and other words were considered unhappy such as "boo," "hate," and "ugh," as well as profanity.
The researchers said the results "show how social media may potentially be used to estimate real-time levels and changes in population-level measures such as obesity rates."
Critics say the study doesn't take context into account, such as the way profanity is used.
Napa was ranked the happiest city in the country, followed by Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Longmont, Colo.
Mission Viejo, Lake Forest and San Clemente were ranked fourth on the list, and Simi Valley was ranked fifth happiest. Thousand Oaks came in at 19th on the list, San Diego was ranked 40th happiest and Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim—home to the so-called "happiest place on earth," aka Disneyland—came in at 79th on the list.
Santa Clarita was ranked 96th.
Beaumont, Texas, was rated the least happy place in the U.S.
The full list of cities can be found here.
—City News Service contributed to this report
Do you buy this study? Are South County residents really that happy? Why or why not?