Earlier this year the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index published their findings on which cities were the happiest, they ended up with the other end of the spectrum as well: The miserable places. 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
Fast forward to this month when Men’s Health complied a happy cities list of their own. Their diagnosis was calculated on suicide rates (CDC) and unemployment rates (Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of June 2011), combined with the percentage of households that use antidepressants as well as the number of people who report feeling the blues all or most of the time.
The results vary from other lists; the happiness of a city really is a difficult statistic to qualify. But here is what they came up with for the least happiest cities of the 100 they considered; 100 being the saddest city of the bunch.
91. Las Vegas, NV
The most populous city in Nevada, Las Vegas is known as a major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is renowned for its casino resorts and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city makes Las Vegas the 28th-most populated city in the United States–but according to Men’s Health, the 91st state in ringing in the happy factor.
92. Reno, NV
Reno, known as The Biggest Little City in the World, is famous for its casinos. And…being the 9th saddest city in the country?
93. Miami, FL
Wikipedia notes that in 2010, Miami ranked seventh in the United States in terms of finance, commerce, culture, entertainment, fashion, education, and other sectors. It ranked thirty-third among global cities. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Miami “America’s Cleanest City”, for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets and city-wide recycling programs. According to a 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the richest city in the United States, and the world’s fifth-richest city in terms of purchasing power. So what gives with being 93rd in terms of happiness?
94. Birmingham, AL
From its founding, through the end of the 1960s, Birmingham was a primary industrial center of the South. The pace of Birmingham’s growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknames The Magic City. But is the magic still there? This ranking in happiness suggests otherwise.
95. St. Louis, MO
Many cultural attractions are located in the Greater St. Louis area, such as the Gateway Arch and the Delmar Loop. The city is also known for its music and the performing arts, especially in reference to blues, jazz, and ragtime. Classical music in St. Louis is also important, as St. Louis is home to the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, as well as one of the oldest classical music FM radio stations west of the Mississippi River (until it was sold in 2010).
96. Louisville, KY
Louisville has been ranked among the top 10 safest large cities by Morgan Quitno in the past four years–so, better safe that sad?
97. Tampa, FL
Something’s fishy here: In 2008, Tampa was ranked as the 5th best outdoor city by Forbes–yet now it ranks at the bottom by Men’s Health. What gives?
98. Memphis, TN
Many notable musicians grew up in and around Memphis, including such musical greats as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Robert Johnson, W. C. Handy, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Isaac Hayes, Booker T. Jones, Al Green, Justin Timberlake, Three 6 Mafia, The Sylvers, and many others–so why so blue?
99. Detroit, MI
Between 2000 and 2010, the city’s population fell by 25 percent. Among major American cities during the decade, only New Orleans experienced a greater decrease by percentage.
100. St. Petersburg, FL
Known as a vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists, the most despondent city in America also boasts 360 days of perpetual sunshine a year. How did “The Sunshine City” also become the saddest?!
What do you think of these ratings? Do you live in one of these cities and find it sad? Leave a comment…