February 22, 2013
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Chris Rank/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sentient listicle generator Forbes has birthed-forth from its quivering link-baiting thorax yet another glistening slideshow hatchling purporting to quantify city-wide character traits. Unlike previous, funner efforts, such as America’s Drunkest Cities, this time they’ve cobbled together a list called America’s Most Miserable Cities through sheer internet data-crunching moxie, and juuust a little bit of folksy methodology charm. I’d like to think they probably just called up all of America’s Drunkest Cities the next morning and asked them how they were feeling to find the answers.

The real method was a little more complex:

This year we examined nine factors for the 200 largest metro areas in the U.S. The metrics include the serious: violent crime, unemployment, foreclosures, taxes (income and property) and home prices. We also include less weighty, but still important quality-of-life issues like commute times and weather.

Anyone who doesn’t think commute time is the single more pressing issue regarding anyone’s misery clearly has never had a very bad one. It’s a fairly predictable list of all the usual shithole suspects, with Detroit coming in at #1, although I sort of think Whatever City I Happen to Be In At Any Given Time got short shrift this year. Michigan also nabbed the #2 honor, with Flint, coming in close second. Next up is Rockford, Illinois, which I haven’t even heard of, so there has to be some sort of self-esteem issues going on there contributing to their overall misery. Or maybe it’s the 11.2% unemployment rate?

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America’s second city is up next, which is weird, because you’ll probably be able to find Chicago on someone else’s list of best places to live in about 10 seconds of Googling right now (minus all the gun murders). Plus, the one guy’s face up there had to factor big. Poor bastard.

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Modesto, California rounds out the top 5, with its high rate of foreclosures and unemployment. Not sure that sign necessarily deserves two exclamation points, but I’m not really up on the linguistics of misery graphic design.

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Other notable entries include New York City at #10, for which they write “Taxes are always a hot button issue in New York, whether it revolves around banks paying their share (rally above) or the taxes that residents face, which are the highest in the U.S. New Yorkers also rank first when it comes to the longest commutes.” Also, they should’ve added, “We’ve got way more than our fair share of this type of asshole up here running around all over the place.”

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Atlanta comes in at #16, although I don’t necessarily think it’s fair using footage from season 1 of The Walking Dead to make your case here.

Amy Callahan

Next up is…uh, this lady? I know corporations are people now, but are people also cities? Oh, never mind, seems like I scrolled through the slideshow all the way to the end and it spit me out on the next list of 11 Women Who Started Amazing Companies.

All in all a pretty thorough and reasonable list on the whole, I’d say. Although if I were to make a few changes, my list might look like this:

#1 New York City: The most miserable city in the country is, by definition, going to be the place with the most citizens, because literally everyone is miserable on the inside whether or not they show it. New York wins by default.

#2 Boston: This is where I live, and I hate myself enough for the rest of us.

#3 Rockford, Illinois: Still never heard of it, but man, that place sounds like a dump.

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