America’s 10 Saddest Cities

Earlier this year theGallup-Healthways Well-Being Index published their findings on whichcities 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 witha random sample of352,840adults, compilers of theindex 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 whenMen’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 inNevada,Las Vegas is known as a major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself asThe Entertainment Capital of the World, and is renowned for itscasino resorts and associated entertainment. A growing retirement and family city makes Las Vegas the28th-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 asThe Biggest Little City in the World, is famous for itscasinos. 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 2009UBS 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 ofpurchasing 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 theSouth. The pace of Birmingham’s growth during the period from 1881 through 1920 earned its nicknamesThe 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 theGateway Arch and theDelmar Loop. The city is also known for its music and the performing arts, especially in reference to blues,jazz, andragtime.Classical musicin St. Louis is also important, as St. Louis is home to the second-oldestsymphony 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 byMorgan 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 byForbesyet now it ranks at the bottom by Men’s Health. What gives?

98. Memphis, TN
Many notable musicians grew up in and around Memphis, includingsuch musical greats asElvis 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, onlyNew 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…


Sally S.
Sally S6 years ago

You would think the freezer cities would be on the list..... living in Utah we want to go to the warmer ones in the winter.....

Tam L.
T. L6 years ago

maybe its because we need all the seasons (changes in general) to be happy? …It takes some cold to appreciate the sun and vice versa…

Eve K.
Eve Klien6 years ago

I grew up in Tampa and hated every minute of it. Always envied the kids who could play in snow, go skiing and iceskating, and who could see the beautiful change of seasons. Fortunately I escaped the horrible state of Florida for 17 years and got to live in Atlanta. The Tampa Bay area is disgusting - it's always hot, always has high humidity and always has tons of biting bugs. I can easily understand why 3 places in Florida made the list!

Caron Allen Taira

I just moved to St Louis and cannot understand why this city is ranked as sad. Overall people here are kind and positive, and I see a lot of smiles. I love it. I think it is a great place. I think it is ridiculous to label a whole city as being happy or sad, etc.. There's a lot to do, great music, and good food, fun shopping, beautiful architecture, and nice midwestern folks. I'll take it any day. And by the way, Pennsylvania was the most miserable, negative place I have ever been too...

mari s.
Mari S6 years ago


Laura S.
Past Member 6 years ago

This article doesn't make sense. Title said 10 saddest cities. Going in article, it said from #90 to #100. I don't get it??? Where's top 10??

Riki Rezinunts
Riki Rezinunts6 years ago

I find it interesting that this articles findings are waaaaay different that this articles: ... Something does not compute...

Maria T.
Maria T6 years ago

Interesting. Heh, even more so since I lived in Vegas once.

Sonya Armenia Redfield


rosemary weston
rosemary weston6 years ago

what is the criteria??? and again as many people keep commenting...why do we have to go to a separate page for each one...list them all on one page and tell us what the common statistics are that make them sad and tell us who thinks they are sad. there is npthing of substance to comment on beyond that...