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Living in NYC makes you more empathetic and optimistic, a new study says

Are you surprised?

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

New Yorkers get a bad rap. People think we’re ornery and pessimistic, but just in case we care enough to defend ourselves, a new study has actually found the opposite!

According to Citizens NYC, which is behind the new “Living Portrait of NYC”, a 10,000-square-foot immersive installation that celebrates the resilience and diversity of NYC through multimedia content and surprise live performances, nearly three-quarters of New Yorkers say living here makes them more empathetic, and six in 10 say it also makes them more optimistic.

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Citizens surveyed 5,000 New Yorkers to find out their preferences and behavior across six main categories: Dreams, Space, Money, Love, Transit, Food, and Downtime.

Out of the 5,000 citizens they interviewed, they found that one in five New Yorkers moved here for their dream job, and similarly, 18% moved to define or redefine themselves. And with so many transplants looking for a new life, it makes sense that 72% of them say living here makes them more empathetic, and 62% say it makes them more optimistic—showing that NYC can change your outlook. We already know it can change your behavior!

Of all the five boroughs, residents of the Bronx had “the sunniest outlook” and is “the most optimistic borough.”

As optimistic as you are, you probably agree that dating someone in another borough is a bad idea. Can you imagine traveling to the Upper West Side from Bushwick? Well, according to the study, 45% of New Yorkers would consider a couple who live in different boroughs to be in a long-distance relationship. In fact, one in five wouldn’t bother dating someone from another borough.

When we hang out with our friends, three-quarters of us do something food-related and 68% dine out at a restaurant. If not, we’re ordering in—over half of all New Yorkers and six in 10 NYC millennials order food delivery weekly. Who can blame us? NYC has the best food scene!

And when it comes to work, 56% of New Yorkers say they would rather take a job they’re passionate about than a job with a high salary (many of us can confirm) and 64% hope to make an impact on their local community through their work. That’s New Yorkers for you!

Where do you fall in these categories?

You can find these facts about New Yorkers and more at “The Living Portrait of NYC,” which will has surprise live performances by artists from all boroughs, including subway artists, Moth storytellers, dancers, puppeteers, balloon artists, and jazz musicians. The event, presented by Citizens, is free, and it’s open now through September 27 in the Flatiron District. Learn how to get a free ticket here!

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