10 Saddest Cities in America

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.

9. Prescott, AZ
People in Prescott predominantly ranked low in their feelings about Life Evaluation and Physical Health
8. Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ
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.
7. Spartanburg, SC
Spartanburg ranked poorly for Emotional Health and Work Environment, and didn’t really rank very well on anything across the board.
6. Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC
This North Caroline area ranked poorly in the Life Evaluation and Basic Access questions, but came in right about the middle for Emotional Health.
5. Fort Smith, AR-OK
Fort Smith was basically highly unhappy in all areas, ranking between 152nd to 179th in the six categories.
4. Redding, CA
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.
3.Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX
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.
2. Youngstown-Warren- Boardman, OH-PA
The Youngstown area ranked among the worst for Physical Health (186th),  Emotional Health (185th) , and Life Evaluation (186th).
1. Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH
Huntington-Ashland residents reported the worst Emotional Health and Physical Health of all 188 cities. The best ranking they eked out was 161th for Healthy Behavior.


10 Happiest Cities in America
Top 10 Dirtiest U.S. Cities
America’s 10 Least Toxic Cities



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Janine H.
Janine H.3 years ago

There are sod places in other countries, too. Maybe we are not born to live in so big crowds as in towns - as ants...

Always when i hear about terrible things it makes me sad, and i cannot understand how someone could do something terrible - hurt, rape or kill a person or animal. When i was a child this also happened to me... and surviving this is more terrible than not (parents and other may think different, but a victim?), living with all this pain... living with guilty feelings... full with hate for the own self... having one wish, not to wake up at the following day anymore...
No one can understand, because most people cannot imagine this, cannot imagine how much it change. Some of them think, that this would not be so terrible, because all would make some sexual experiences, and so it would not matter if there were some without own interest or wish. This cruel and superficial society makes me sick.

I know that it is not good to wish someone who does terrible things something as a punishment. But when i hear about violent people then i think why are they so "afraid" to go to someone equal and get some hits for their selves. This is a perversion, to think being more a man when beating a woman or a girl. This men are a shame for all normal men.

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Janis Jones
Janis Keller3 years ago

I used to live in Miami. I had to move. Unfriendly people, raging drivers, nobody speak English there. Crime is bad. Traffic is horrible. Very negative there.

Janis Jones
Janis Keller3 years ago

I used to live in Miami. I had to move. Unfriendly people, raging drivers, nobody speak English there. Crime is bad. Traffic is horrible. Very negative there.

Elize Labuschagne

It is so sad to have a sad city !!

Abbe A.
Azaima A.4 years ago

I wonder why.

Ida J.
Ida J.4 years ago


Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons4 years ago

if you click on the report I see state ratings as well. I was surprised to find some states I thought would rank good ranked really low and some I thought would rank bad ranked really high.

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago


Liv Finch
Liv Finch4 years ago

It would be nice to see one about Canadian cities!

Gregg Haley
Gregg Haley4 years ago

where's Monroe, LA on this list??!