World Smile Day: Which cities smile the most?

2020 08 26 17 20 2673 Smile3 400

To celebrate World Smile Day on October 7, researchers analyzed the presence of smiling faces in 15,000 Instagram photos in 50 cities across the U.S. Their analysis of the American cities that smile the most was published by Shiny Smile Veneers.

To calculate the cities that smile the most, researchers looked for Instagram photos posted in August 2022 that geotagged the 50 largest U.S. cities. Photos were deemed "smiley" if they contained at least one person who was clearly smiling, either with or without teeth.

"America's most smiley cities are Cincinnati, OH; Birmingham, AL; and Austin, TX," according to the Shiny Smile study.

In Cincinnati geotagged photos, 57.3% of Instagram users were shown smiling. In second and third place, 53.6% of users in Birmingham and 53.2% of users in Austin were seen smiling.

The cities that smile the least were Baltimore; Providence, RI; and Detroit, MI. In Baltimore, only 28.6% of Instagram users smiled in photos. Roughly 31% of Instagram users smiled in Providence, and 32% smiled in Detroit.

"Notably, many of these cities are concentrated in the Midwest as well as the East Coast, while the most smiley cities did not show particular regional trends," wrote the researchers.

The team behind the Shiny Smile Veneers research speculated that perhaps the local cultures of the least smiley cities are more tense, or that the locals are less confident in their smiles. The cities with the least smiles also have fewer tourists, so perhaps there were fewer opportunities for smiling photos, the researchers surmised.

Of the 15,000 Instagram photos analyzed, 57% included people in the shot. Of that 57%, 43% showed people smiling. It was more common for photos to be taken with a straight face or pouty pose.

"A smile is one of the rare forms of universal communication -- which is why it's important to stay smiley, no matter if your city has made the list or not," concluded Shiny Smile researchers.

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