The formula for happiness in your city should be pretty simple: good people, tolerable weather, a comfortable job, and some things to do in town. But Forbes has complied the list of America’s Most Miserable Cities and based its methodology on an extensive list of factors that contribute to the level of “miserable-ness” at the city level.
We looked at 10 factors for the 200 largest metro areas and divisions in the U.S. to determine America’s Most Miserable Cities. Some are serious, like violent crime, unemployment rates, foreclosures, taxes (income and property), home prices and political corruption. Other metrics we included are less weighty, like commute times, weather and how the area’s pro sports teams did. While sports, commuting and weather can be considered trivial by many, they can be the determining factor in the level of misery for a significant number of people.
The winner (or perhaps loser) and most surprising entry on this list? Sunny Miami, a city whose high foreclosure rate contributed heavily to its status as The Most Miserable City in America. Everytime I’ve ever been to Miami I’ve had a blast on the beach and at the clubs, but had no idea that a whopping 47% of homeowners in the city are trapped in underwater mortgages. The full list:
1. Miami, Florida
2. Detroit, Michigan
3. Flint, Michigan
4. West Palm Beach, Florida
5. Sacramento, California
6. Chicago, Illinois
7. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
8. Toledo, Ohio
9. Rockford, Illinois
10. Warren, Michigan
Hmm…I’m surprised to see Chicago on this list, but not so much at the beleaguered Michigan cities. I’m most surprised that there aren’t more cities on this list that struggle with high murder rates — like New Orleans, Baltimore, or my hometown Philadelphia. Because I will tell you, in spite of sport’s team losses and bad weather, worrying about dodging bullets can be pretty darn miserable.
You can view the rest of the list at Forbes.com.