Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The 20 Most Miserable Cities In America

From Forbes.com, who says, "We consider a total of 10 factors, things that people gripe about around the water cooler every day. Most are serious issues, including unemployment, crime and taxes. A few we factor in are not as critical, but still elevate people's blood pressure, like the weather, commute times and how the local sports team is doing."

Eight of the 20 are in California; other high-ranking states include Florida (four cities) and Ohio (three).


In addition to high crime and foreclosures, Jacksonville's lone pro sports team has caused residents misery. The NFL's Jaguars have just one playoff win the past decade. Fans lashed out at owner Wayne Weaver when he announced that coach Jack Del Rio would be back in 2011 for a ninth season.


The party has slowed down at this popular vacation destination. The area's economy sagged 7% between 2007 and 2009, and it has been one of the hardest-hit areas in the country with foreclosures.


Weather, crime and unemployment are some of the top misery factors in the birthplace of General Motors. Flint's downward spiral is tied to GM's pullout from the city; GM employment in Flint has fallen from 80,000 in the 1970s to less than 8,000 today.


Last year's most miserable city drops back thanks to a housing market that never overheated and therefore hasn't crashed like many other metros'. The weather is lousy, corruption persistent and it's a tortured sports market, with no championships since 1964. LeBron James' departure delivered the latest cruel blow last summer.


Baseball's Cubs used to be lovable losers, but $140 million payrolls and 102 years and counting without a World Series title is miserable. Chicago had the highest sales tax among big cities at 10.25%, but it was rolled back to 9.75% last year and now matches Los Angeles and Oakland for the top rate.


Tennessee is one of nine states without an income tax (it does tax dividends and interest income), yet it hits residents with one of the highest sales tax rates in the U.S. at 9.25%. Violent crime was down 5% in 2009 according to the FBI, but still is tops in the country.


The median home was valued at $275,000 in 2006; today it is $95,000. And don't leave your car on the street in Modesto, where 3,712 vehicles were stolen in 2009, making for the second-highest auto theft rate in the country. It ranked first in four of the previous five years.


The sun and lack of a state income tax are the only things keeping Miami out of the top spot. Foreclosures hit one in 14 homes last year. Corruption is also off the charts, with 404 government officials convicted of crimes this decade in South Florida.

See the rest at Forbes.com


  1. I agree with them on Memphis, for sure. It used to be a much nicer city, now it's pretty rough.

    Forget foreclosures and corruption, the day an alligator comes to my door is the day I leave skid marks on the driveway getting out of Miami! (Even though I know Horatio Caine would rescue me!)

  2. I'm surprised Cleveland is #10. I would have put it higher on the list.

  3. For someone who had a theory while growing up in Kansas that it was the crazy people who kept moving west on the pioneer trail until they couldn't anymore, everyone else found a place to stop -- I have to say, I do love it here in la-la land.

  4. Daisy, the strange thing is that despite all of that, the Clevelanders I talk to resent their presence on the list at all.

  5. WW, I like it there, too. I miss being able to go there for work (on the company dime). I always had fun.

  6. Elliott, I know quite a few people who live in Cleveland, as well, and they seem quite happy to be there, but it wouldn't be my cup of tea. Perhaps if my in-laws didn't live there, it would be more appealing... ;-)

  7. I got to number 19 and was happy that my city was not on the list.
    Then I got to 20...

  8. Ah, glad to see Michigan is represented...Flint and Detroit could not be more deserving! It's what happens when you bank everything on a single industry...

    I don't agree with Chicago; yes, it's hella cold and snowy (especially this year), but I'll gladly pay the sales tax for the entertainment value. I love that city - my husband and I talk about getting a place downtown someday (after our 6 year old grows up and moves out, I suppose).

  9. Chicago is a great place but I couldn't handle that weather.

  10. Of those eight California cities, all but six are in the Central Valley, a meth-infested hell hole. Even in good economic times, I think a lot of those places would make the list.



Related Posts with Thumbnails