Unless my understanding of the system is incorrect, you seem to be making the error in logic that the tooltip suggests. Take the example he posted: Pop 4 city 3 distress (max 3) 1 poverty (max 4) 0 science (max 6) Total: 4 You're suggesting the correct strategy is to focus on reducing distress, but what happens in that case? Let's reduce it be one. 2 distress (max 2) 2 poverty (max 4) 0 science (max 6) Total: 4 How did that improve things? There's still 4 unhappiness. Let's get rid of all the distress. 4 poverty (max 4) 0 science (max 6) Total: 4 Hm, okay. So we'll fix poverty then! 4 science (max 6) Total: 4 Am I totally wrong here, or did focusing on distress not help any more than focusing on anything else? The truth is, you will never reduce unhappiness unless you reduce the total potential unhappiness below the population, and it doesn't matter how you do it.