A New York City cab is seen in Times Square. Picture: Brendan McDermid

New York -

For many people, a life in New York City is a dream come true, but a recent study found that the so-called glamorous Big Apple is the unhappiest city in the United States.

The study, titled Unhappy Cities and released last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found four other large US cities - Pittsburgh, Louisville, Milwaukee and Detroit - closely follow New York City as nation's least happiest.

The study mainly based its finding on a questionnaire by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention distributed for the last several years.

It simply asks: “In general, how satisfied are you with your life?”

It then adjusted respondents' answers for income, housing prices, age, race, education and marital status to find out how happy a city could be, the report said.

The study, which included data collected in 177 cities, found that people were often willing to trade happiness for better income or lower housing prices.

“One interpretation of these facts is that individuals do not aim to maximise self-reported well-being, or happiness, as measured in surveys, and they willingly endure less happiness in exchange for higher incomes or lower housing costs,” the study said.

Lafayette, Louisiana, was ranked the happiest city in all of the US.

The four cities following it also are in the same southern state. - Sapa-dpa