I Search, Therefore I Am?

I get that it's become sport to rank Philadelphia tops on lists of overweight, obnoxious and romantically-challenged. I know the city is home to lousy drivers and people who think it's acceptable to wear sweats as an outfit. (File me in the former category, not the latter.)

But I draw the line at accepting a Google search as evidence that Philadelphia is the most depressed city in America.

I do not frequent the website psychcentral.com, but I see it turned to Google Trends to evaluate how many people from different parts of the country searched a variety of depression-related terms.

Sadly, if you’re a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, more people from your city type in these terms more often than in any other city in America, a blog on the website concluded. This suggests that Philadelphia residents take the honor for the Most Depressing Place to Live in the U.S. in 2011. And Pennsylvania tops the state list as well for the most depressing state to live in. Sorry Pennsylvanians.

Therapist friends immediately raised educated eyebrows after I pointed out the unusual methodology. Any social scientists out there who can concur that relying on Google is not the most academic means to determine mental health?

-- Monica Yant Kinney

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