If you watch just a few hours of cable TV, or scroll through the platform once known as Twitter, or maybe even peruse a nationally-focused print publication, you are likely to come away thinking that America is a deeply unhappy and divided country.

But what if that’s not really the case?

A new survey by the American Communities Project finds that Americans are very happy in their lives and satisfied with their local communities. It’s only when thinking about the state of the nation as a whole that Americans become deeply pessimistic and distressed.

Headed by Dante Chinni, one of the smartest data journalists in the business, the American Communities Project is based out of the Michigan State University School of Journalism. Using a “vast array of data — from election results and economic numbers to consumer survey and polling,” the ACP breaks the country into 15 distinct community types. Those community types include: College Towns, African-American South, Evangelical Hubs, and Working Class Country. The primary point of the project is to show that “people in different places experience the

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