What makes a city sad? A lack of fluffy frolicking puppies? Burnt-out buildings and vacant lots? Limited access to cupcakes? Measuring which cities in the country are the least content seems an objective pursuit, at best. Yet last month when the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index published their findings about which cities were the happiest, they ended up with the other end of the spectrum as well. The miserable, no-good, down-and-out cities, where, clearly, not a soul can manage a smile. I kid, of course. Undoubtedly there are sad people in the nation’s happiest city (Boulder, Co) as well as happy people in the saddest. But nonetheless, it’s interesting to see what the index came up with.
Based on the results of telephone surveys with a random sample of 352,840 adults, compilers of the index asked numerous questions about six sub-indexes: life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. To determine how to include which cities, they used the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. In many cases, more than one city is included in the same MSA. Areas in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia were included.
The ranking used 188 MSAs altogether, here’s how they scored…number 1 being the most discontent of all.
10. Utica-Rome, NY
For the Life Evaluation index Utica ranked 176th, and came in 185th for Physical Health. Although for Basic Access, the area did fairly well with a ranking of 48th.
Although this metropolitan area ranked 52nd out of the 188 for Emotional Health, the rankings for Life Evaluation and Physical Health were high on the discontent end.
Leave it Californians to be at the bottom of the list in many areas, but still rank in the top 30 percent for Healthy Behavior. As for Life Evaluation and Emotional Health, Redding ranked in the top of the worst.
The best this Texas metro area could pull off was 145th for Work Environment, while ranking pretty miserably for Healthy Behavior, Basic Access, and Life Evaluation.
The Youngstown area ranked among the worst for Physical Health (186th), Emotional Health (185th) , and Life Evaluation (186th).