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America's Most Miserable Cities


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America's Most Miserable Cities

By Kurt Badenhausen, Forbes.com

Feb 11th, 2008

Imagine living in a city with the country's highest rate for violent crime and the second-highest unemployment rate. As an added kicker you need more Superfund dollars allocated to your city to clean up contaminated toxic waste sites than just about any other metro.

Unfortunately, this nightmare is a reality for the residents of Detroit. The Motor City grabs the top spot on Forbes' inaugural list of America's Most Miserable Cities.

Misery is defined as a state of great unhappiness and emotional distress. The economic indicator most often used to measure misery is the Misery Index. The index, created by economist Arthur Okun, adds the unemployment rate to the inflation rate. It has been in the narrow 7-to-9 range for most of the past decade, but was over 20 during the late 1970s.

There also exists a Misery Score, which is the sum of corporate, personal, employer and sales taxes in different countries. France took the top spot (or perhaps bottom is more appropriate) with a score of 166.8, thanks to a top rate of 51% on personal incomes and 45% for employer Social Security.

But aren't there other things that cause Americans misery? Of course. So we decided to expand on the Misery Index and the Misery Score to create our very own Forbes Misery Measure. We're sticking with unemployment and personal tax rates, but we are adding four more factors that can make people miserable: commute times, weather, crime and that toxic waste dump in your backyard.

We looked at only the 150 largest metropolitan areas, which meant a minimum population of 371,000. We ranked the cities on the six criteria above and added their ranks together to establish what we call the Misery Measure. The data used in the rankings came from Portland, Ore., researcher Bert Sperling, who last year published the second edition of Cities Ranked & Rated along with Peter Sander. Economic research firm Economy.com, which is owned by Moody's, also supplied some data.

Detroit in the top spot, with its sister city Flint ranked third, is probably not a great shock. "If Detroit were a baseball team, we'd say they are mired in a slump," says Sperling. Both Detroit and Flint have suffered tremendously from the auto industry downturn. Flint's plight was immortalized in the Michael Moore movie Roger & Me, which chronicles Moore's attempts to meet with then General Motors Chief Executive Roger Smith.

Crime and unemployment are closely linked, according to Sperling. Our three most miserable places bear that out (Stockton, Calif., ranks second). All three are among the eight worst cities in terms of both unemployment and violent crime.

The United States' two biggest cities both induce a ton of misery. New York was the fourth most miserable city by our count, while Los Angeles clocked in at sixth. The Big Apple has the longest commute times (36.2 minutes) and the highest tax rates (10.5%) in the country. As the financial capital of the world and home to write-down kings Merrill Lynch and Citigroup , New York appears poised for more misery in 2008.

The people of La-La Land have some of the best weather in the U.S. (it's ranked seventh) but scored poorly when it came to commute times, Superfund sites and taxes. And we did not even factor in air quality, where Los Angeles is the worst in the nation by far, according to Sperling.

The biggest surprise on our list is Charlotte, N.C. , which is ranked ninth. Charlotte has undergone tremendous economic growth the past decade, while the population has soared 32%. But the current picture isn't as bright. Employment growth has not kept up with population growth, meaning unemployment rates are up more than 50% compared with 10 years ago. Charlotte scored in the bottom half of all six categories we examined. It scored the worst on violent crime, ranking 140th.

So take heart, Detroit, you are not alone. After all, misery loves company.

http://promo.realestate.yahoo.com/americas-most-miserable-cities.html

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Baltimore needs to be at the top of this list because of their murder rate. There were over 300 murders in Baltimore last year. Boston had around 60 or so.

I've spent a lot of time in Baltimore over the last 3 years and murders are the 3rd or 4th story on the local news.

When there is a murder in Boston it's the lead story on tv and in the papers.

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Baltimore needs to be at the top of this list because of their murder rate. There were over 300 murders in Baltimore last year. Boston had around 60 or so.

I've spent a lot of time in Baltimore over the last 3 years and murders are the 3rd or 4th story on the local news.

When there is a murder in Boston it's the lead story on tv and in the papers.

Yeah, I've heard Baltimore is pretty bad. The few times I've been there stayed in the Inner Harbor and never ventured out into the city.

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Baltimore needs to be at the top of this list because of their murder rate. There were over 300 murders in Baltimore last year. Boston had around 60 or so.

I've spent a lot of time in Baltimore over the last 3 years and murders are the 3rd or 4th story on the local news.

When there is a murder in Boston it's the lead story on tv and in the papers.

and almost all of them are in Dorchester and Roxbury. Kick them out of the city and make them their own towns and there will be almost no murders in Boston.

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Crime and unemployment are closely linked, according to Sperling. Our three most miserable places bear that out (Stockton, Calif., ranks second). All three are among the eight worst cities in terms of both unemployment and violent crime.

so what are they trying to say... that because of unemployment the crime rate is high?

Or is it more of a culture problem where they dont see committing crimes as that big of a deal??

having money sure didnt stop a football player making 400k a year from trying to sell pot on the streets....

Its time people stop sugar coating the problems this country has and starts coming up with real solutions and real punishment for committing crimes. As long as we p*ssyfoot around being pc and nice to everybody we will continue to sink lower and lower as a country.

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and almost all of them are in Dorchester and Roxbury. Kick them out of the city and make them their own towns and there will be almost no murders in Boston.

Thats true.

In 2006 there were 186 murders in Massachusetts. That includes places like Worcester, New Bedford, Brockton, Lawrence and Springfield.

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Screw Boston and Providence for that matter! Went away for a quick trip to warmer climates - got home this eve and once I got past the automatic doors - BAM! 10 degrees! Frickin' New England! Go to my car - BAM! Won't start! Frickin' New England cold! Find parking attendant guy who has to call parking maintenance guy....20 minutes later.....car jumped. So, get on RT 95 - 15 minutes later - BAM! My Hood starts flapping upward. Bam! I cut off two cars to get to an off-ramp and secure the hood that maintenace man forgot to. But wait! Garb is so dicombobulated from her near death experience she gets back on 95 - south! Bam! Wrong way! Find next exit to go North! Bam! I suck. Anyway, I get home - crank the heat to 70. Bam! Can't wait to get my heating bill this month. LOL! :)

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Screw Boston and Providence for that matter! Went away for a quick trip to warmer climates - got home this eve and once I got past the automatic doors - BAM! 10 degrees! Frickin' New England! Go to my car - BAM! Won't start! Frickin' New England cold! Find parking attendant guy who has to call parking maintenance guy....20 minutes later.....car jumped. So, get on RT 95 - 15 minutes later - BAM! My Hood starts flapping upward. Bam! I cut off two cars to get to an off-ramp and secure the hood that maintenace man forgot to. But wait! Garb is so dicombobulated from her near death experience she gets back on 95 - south! Bam! Wrong way! Find next exit to go North! Bam! I suck. Anyway, I get home - crank the heat to 70. Bam! Can't wait to get my heating bill this month. LOL! :)

I've had days like that!:rl:

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Screw Boston and Providence for that matter! Went away for a quick trip to warmer climates - got home this eve and once I got past the automatic doors - BAM! 10 degrees! Frickin' New England! Go to my car - BAM! Won't start! Frickin' New England cold! Find parking attendant guy who has to call parking maintenance guy....20 minutes later.....car jumped. So, get on RT 95 - 15 minutes later - BAM! My Hood starts flapping upward. Bam! I cut off two cars to get to an off-ramp and secure the hood that maintenace man forgot to. But wait! Garb is so dicombobulated from her near death experience she gets back on 95 - south! Bam! Wrong way! Find next exit to go North! Bam! I suck. Anyway, I get home - crank the heat to 70. Bam! Can't wait to get my heating bill this month. LOL! :)

Wow, that sucks. Sorry to hear about your misadventures.

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Screw Boston and Providence for that matter! Went away for a quick trip to warmer climates - got home this eve and once I got past the automatic doors - BAM! 10 degrees! Frickin' New England! Go to my car - BAM! Won't start! Frickin' New England cold! Find parking attendant guy who has to call parking maintenance guy....20 minutes later.....car jumped. So, get on RT 95 - 15 minutes later - BAM! My Hood starts flapping upward. Bam! I cut off two cars to get to an off-ramp and secure the hood that maintenace man forgot to. But wait! Garb is so dicombobulated from her near death experience she gets back on 95 - south! Bam! Wrong way! Find next exit to go North! Bam! I suck. Anyway, I get home - crank the heat to 70. Bam! Can't wait to get my heating bill this month. LOL! :)

Look at the bright side Garb. At least your hood didn't totally fly up which probably caused an accident and severly damaging the car and maybe you too. Also you saved on the heating bill while you were gone remember? See, coulda been worse. :biggrin:

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The city of Buffalo averages around 60 murders a year. Most of them are inner city youth on inner city youth. Most are , as one might guess, drug related. It does ger MISERABLY cold out here though. +1 last nite with a -24 wind chill. Brrrrrrr

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Screw Boston and Providence for that matter! Went away for a quick trip to warmer climates - got home this eve and once I got past the automatic doors - BAM! 10 degrees! Frickin' New England! Go to my car - BAM! Won't start! Frickin' New England cold! Find parking attendant guy who has to call parking maintenance guy....20 minutes later.....car jumped. So, get on RT 95 - 15 minutes later - BAM! My Hood starts flapping upward. Bam! I cut off two cars to get to an off-ramp and secure the hood that maintenace man forgot to. But wait! Garb is so dicombobulated from her near death experience she gets back on 95 - south! Bam! Wrong way! Find next exit to go North! Bam! I suck. Anyway, I get home - crank the heat to 70. Bam! Can't wait to get my heating bill this month. LOL! :)

I've had days like that!:rl:

What a mistake to let women drive cars. On a highway of all places.

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so what are they trying to say... that because of unemployment the crime rate is high?

Or is it more of a culture problem where they dont see committing crimes as that big of a deal??

They're not saying that violent crime and unemployment rate have anything to do with each other. They're saying that in those 2 aspects (which are obviously 2 of many characteristics that can be associated with being a "bad city"), the city was particularly high in each rate.

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