What are people in New York doing better than their fellow counterparts in Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago? Surprisingly enough, they're working less--and vacationing more.

Although we are very familiar with the image of New Yorkers as insane workaholics, especially due to their stereotypes in mainstream media, it turns out our perceptions may have been incorrect all along. New studies by Expert Market have shown that, contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers actually work less-strenuous hours than do their colleagues in Los Angeles and many other large cosmopolitan cities.

On average, Angelenos actually work 81 hours per year more than their New York counterparts--the equivalent of two extra workweeks! In addition to the increased labor hours, workers in L.A. also take, on average, 89% less paid vacation, taking an average of 13.6 fewer days off each year than do New Yorkers, who normally take an average of 26.7 days.

Or consider Chicago--where workers put in a daunting 183 hours more than New Yorkers each year, with an average of only 14 days off each year for vacation. In general, however, workers in the U.S. have trouble keeping up with their counterparts in countries worldwide, due largely in part to a workaholic culture that promotes busyness, burning out, and a constant pressure to ramp up economic activity.

What Americans should keep in mind is that a positive economic growth can always be achieved, even with a good work-life balance.

Maintaining a beneficial work-life balance has been proven to reduce stress levels, increase health, and boost overall emotional stability. Take, for instance, Paris, a city known for its contentedness. Parisians, in comparison with the global average, actually work 20% less, and enjoy, on average, a 29-day holiday every year.

Ultimately, workers in any major metropolis can--and should--seriously consider the preferred work-life balance of those in Paris and New York. Working ourselves to the bone is never the best approach. Instead, we should always aim to have a healthy work-life balance, and come to understand that neither our economic prosperity nor our immediate happiness is directly correlated with how many hours we work.