Choosing Where to Live? Look for Public Parks

Planning to move somewhere new takes a lot of list-making. You have to decide what's important to you, whether it's access to public transportation, an elevator in the building, or whether you can finally afford to set out on your own. If you really want to maximize your happiness, new research has one big suggestion to help narrow down your search.

Political scientists at Baylor University have just released a study on happiness and livability in communities. Maybe the most surefire sign that a neighborhood is right for you? Lots of public goods. That means everything from parks to libraries to highways.

"Public goods are things you can't exclude people from using — and one person using them doesn't stop another from doing so," said author Patrick Flavin in a press release. "They're typically not profitable to produce in the private market, so if the government doesn't provide them, they will either be under-provided or not at all."

It lines up with other research into millennials' real estate preferences. We already want green space in our lives (not to mention infrastructure for supporting pet ownership). We're even developing swiping apps to match with our ideal neighborhoods. One big downside, however, is that lots of public goods may also mean paying more taxes than you're used to. In general, the most livable parts of the world tend to be the most expensive. But it's worth breaking the mold when you're looking for someplace new to settle. And hey, who knows — your employer might even pay you for it.