San Luis Obispo may be “the happiest city in America,” but for whom? Half the population seems to have been left out of that equation (“SLO County women face serious challenges, study finds,” Nov. 19). The Women’s Legacy Fund’s recently released report indicates that chronic sadness is a growing problem among teenage girls. More than 40 percent of girls from ninth through 12th grades say they felt so sad and/or hopeless almost every day for at least two weeks last year that they stopped doing some of their usual activities. That alarming percentage grew by more than 5 percentage points between 2009 and 2014.
In counterpoint, “The incidence of chronic sadness among boys is half what it is among girls, and decreased over the same time period.”
Adult women surveyed reported facing increased poverty, especially those in households without a male, and 50 percent higher rates of binge-drinking than statewide. In 2013, the rate of forcible rape in San Luis Obispo County (39 per 100,000 population) was almost double that of the state as a whole.
And these are just the highlights. None of it sounds very happy to me. Will the county make a greater effort to include women and girls in its “happiest place”? I hope so.
Angie King, San Luis Obispo