February 4, 2011

Forbes' 2011 List of "Most Miserable Cities"

A countdown from Forbes of the bottom 20:

20. Bakersfield, CA
19. Jacksonville, FL
18. Salinas, CA
17. Fresno, CA
16. Washington, DC
15. Detroit, MI
14. Youngstown, OH
13. Fort Lauderdale, FL
12. Toledo, OH
11. Flint, MI
10. Cleveland, OH
9. Vallejo, CA
8. West Palm Beach, FL
7. Chicago, IL
6. Memphis, TN
5. Sacramento CA
4. Modesto, CA
3. Merced, CA
2. Miami, FL
1. Stockton, CA

Keep in mind, these kind of magazine lists have to have joker methodological elements or they just wind up being pretty much the same every year (Detroit has more greenspace!)

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chicago does not belong on that list. It's one of the best big cities in America these days.

Connor said...

How about a spreadsheet of the list and the percentage of "vibrant people" vs the list of best cities and their vibrancy?

Anonymous said...

Why so many California cities? Is it because of the high taxes and subprime collapse? By the way, Texas, despite its diversity, seems to not have any cities on the list.

I think the list is tilted against high-tax cities. Otherwise, how can you put Sacramento on the list, but then exclude Baton Rouge or New Orleans or any of the the poor/dangerous southern cities?

Anonymous said...

How about a spreadsheet of the list and the percentage of "vibrant people" vs the list of best cities and their vibrancy?

Uhh, I think that iSteve is at the point now where you only need to tell the first half-sentence of the joke, and then everyone can fill in the punchline for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Being as their list is so ridiculous, I really don't give a damn as to what their determining methodology was for the list. any city that doesn't include New York City for example (ever try to drive there? or park? IN THE SNOW?) but has comfortable, spacious, and relatively safe Modesto clocking in at number 4 is ridiculous.

Also, how is Chicago on this list but suicide capital Las Vegas off it?

Mark Caplan said...

In the three years I lived in D.C. ending in 2008, a few blocks from the Politics and Prose bookshop, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Based on the Forbes list of Most Miserable Cities, I guess I was suffering under a false consciousness.

Christopher Paul said...

No Texas cities on the list because Texans are happy and aren't held up at gunpoint by government at every turn.

Californians are, well, miserable. Or does the idea of a state owned by the public-sector unions sound good to you?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it must be absolutely miserable living in Ft Lauderdale and Miami right now...

Anonymous said...

as steve and anyone who's lived there knows, chicago is far more segregated then, say, New York City. Thus it can seem like paradise on the North side, (uptown excepted) and hell on earth in the predominately negro neigborhoods.

Anonymous said...

Sacramento is the Paris of the Central Valley. Its inclusion is an outrage.

Bakersfield is truly a pit.

That list does capture the hometowns of virually all my ancestors!

Anonymous said...

west palm beach michigan?

Eric said...

CA seems to be a bit too well represented in that list. Admittedly, most of those places kinda suck but I know of far worse places elsewhere in the nation that aren't on the list. (And I may be biased against Merced because I wrongfully spent a night in jail there.)

It can also be noted that some of those CA locations have extremely high portions of their populace made up of illegal aliens. A pretty reliable formula for crapification of a region.

Steve Sailer said...

Sacramento is pretty nice. There are a lot of states where being the state capital doesn't bring in much money, but California isn't one of them. Also the weather is milder than in much of the Central Valley because the Sacramento River drains to the cool Bay Area.

Perspective said...

Why are there so many cities in north-central California on the list?

Christopher Paul said...

Steve, your money-generating capital is the reason Californians are miserable! You're a great thinker, but your blind spot is the California fetish for big, expensive government and politics as logical career choice. Unless that is reversed (and it's irreversible) then California sunk, and deep down you know it.

FuturePundit said...

It makes no sense to put Fort Lauderdale on the same list as Detroit. Weather, crime, poverty, by so many measures the equivalency is ridiculous. What a stupid list.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, it must be absolutely miserable living in Ft Lauderdale and Miami right now..."

It is. Have you lived in Miami? I have. It's a dump. The weather's awful. The people are grotesque. The cost of living is absurd. Miami sucks, dude.

Anonymous said...

New Jersey didn't make the top 20. Camden to Modesto: suck it!

Anonymous said...

A lot of the Calf cities are actually pretty nice, IF YOU LIVE IN THE RIGHT PART OF TOWN. IOW, don't have illegal aliens as neighbors. But I guess that's true of a lot of American Cities.

And you need to remember that places Stockton, Modesto, Bakersfield, etc. may be hell holes but drive 100-200 miles and you're in SF or Yosemite.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, it must be absolutely miserable living in Ft Lauderdale and Miami right now..."

It is. Have you lived in Miami? I have. It's a dump. The weather's awful. The people are grotesque. The cost of living is absurd. Miami sucks, dude."


I felt like I was in a third world country while in Miami.Most American cities are pretty terrible for being such a rich country.

70% of Chicago is a dump.

Anonymous said...

If Texas is a nice place to live, despite a majority of the population being NAM, does that means that diversity works okay in some situations?

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time believing Richmond CA is not on this list.

Anonymous said...

"In the three years I lived in D.C. ending in 2008, a few blocks from the Politics and Prose bookshop, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Based on the Forbes list of Most Miserable Cities, I guess I was suffering under a false consciousness."

You can't really be this stupid. Can you?

You weren't living in the miserable 50% of DC. Try Wards 7 and 8 where, until recently, there were zero grocery stores for 100,000+ people.

Luke Lea said...

Chattanooga should have been on the list. Stay away.

ATBOTL said...

"There are a lot of states where being the state capital doesn't bring in much money, but California isn't one of them."

Ever been to Trenton? It's like a miniature Detroit. Is there any state capitol worse than Trenton?

Anonymous said...

I can attest to Florida being a terrible place to live - I've grown up in south Florida and I'm moving out to go to college soon. I am sure there are worse places in the country, but the people here are more contemptible and needlessly aggressive than any other state that I've been to.

Weather sucks too.

Another Anon said...

"New Jersey didn't make the top 20. Camden to Modesto: suck it!"

Maybe Camden is so far gone that it doesn't show up on the radar for surveys like this.

"Ever been to Trenton? It's like a miniature Detroit. Is there any state capitol worse than Trenton?"

It's like Detroit only in that it attracted a lot of poor blacks when it had a thriving manufacturing sector, and after the factories left the government paid lots of poor blacks to stay there. It's not as bad as Detroit though. Can't say parts of Trenton are reverting to nature, as in Detroit.

By the way, the official residence of the NJ governor, Drumthwacket isn't even in Trenton. It's in Princeton (one of only three governor's mansions not in a state capitol, according to Wikipedia).

Truth said...

"Weather sucks too."

Humpff, the weather sucks in Florida. I'd never given much thought to that. I guess we have now unlocked the secret as to why so many retirees move there.

Anonymous said...

We've lived in a suburb of Miami/Fort Lauderdale for the past decade, and yes if your home is underwater or if you're in foreclosure, it sucks. Otherwise, life here is great. And yes, there are areas where one wouldn't want to live, but there are other fantastic areas. We live in a fantastic area in a gated community and can't imagine moving back up North.

Anonymous said...

It really, really depends on where in DC. (I know this is true of many cities, but seems especially true of DC). Anacostia is a screeching ghetto from hell, but upper NW as well as other areas are very nice.

Anonymous said...

Troofie, as my sainted mother tells native Floridians asking how anyone could live "up North", in Boston there are 3 months when you don't go out much. In Florida, there are also 3 months you don't go out much, they're just different months. Thin-blooded elders are one thing, but wear a tuxedo for a Labor Day wedding in Tampa and then talk to me about the excellent Florida weather.

I just got back from New Orleans, and outside the Quarter and the Warehouse/Garden District, you might as well be in Somalia. The whole state of Louisiana should be on that list.

"Vibrant people" are fine if they're property owners with a stake in the community. The worst part of Boston, Roxbury/Mattapan, is abutted by two of the nicest towns in the area, Milton (birthplace of GHW Bush and where our black governor lives) and Brookline (where the owners of the Red Sox and the Patriots live). Both have a minority population greater than their average income would lead you to think you'd find, and both have higher rates of minority home ownership than the state average.

Contrast that with my currently-livable city of Melrose, 10 miles north of Boston, a town that wants to be Cambridge when it grows up; the local moonbats gave out bumper stickers at the annual street fair a couple years ago that read "Melrose-A Community Open To All". It has a bit too much rental property for a proper tony community, and after the real estate crash a lot of property owners began to accept Section 8 housing vouchers.

Melrose had its first stabbing in 35 years last summer. Break-ins are happening now at such a rate that there was a special aldermen's meeting about it. I returned from New Orleans this week to read about the first reported rape in town in eons. You can imagine how shocked I was to read that the perps were two Haitians visiting one's welfare baby mama who decided that a neighbor looked good enough to have, willing or not.

As I tell the locals, be careful what you wish for...

Brutus

Svigor said...

If Texas is a nice place to live, despite a majority of the population being NAM, does that means that diversity works okay in some situations?

I don't know about Texas, but to answer your question, yes, diversity works in some situations.

Like Saudi Arabia.

sykes.1 said...

Many years ago, in a similar list ranking skiing opportunities, Detroit came out ahead of Denver, because the landfill Detroitans skied on was in the same county as Detroit, and Denverans had to go to the next county.

Truth said...

"in Boston there are 3 months when you don't go out much. In Florida, there are also 3 months you don't go out much,"

Let me let you in on a little secret, Brutus; outside of coastal Southern California, and central New Mexico, where I live, the weather "sucks" everywhere in America.

helene edwards said...

Bakersfield has the best mexican restaurant anywhere. La Colonia, 2miles east of town off Hwy. 58.

Anonymous said...

Try living in Seattle. Miserable weather.

Anonymous said...

What the hell are Chicago and DC - two very pleasant cities to live in if you have a little money (and if you don't have a little money, EVERY city is miserable) - doing on the same list with likes of hellholes like Bakersfield and Detroit?

I suspect Forbes used one of those ridiculous "misery indexes" that combined cost of living/housing, job growth and various other factors. DC is probably on the list because of its extremely high cost of living and high crime rate relative to other big cities. But the crime is DC is largely confined to areas that Forbes readers are unlikely to go, and the cost of living is high but no higher than SF or Boston.

Dunno what Chicago did to get itself on the list.

Anonymous said...

"I'd never given much thought to that. I guess we have now unlocked the secret as to why so many retirees move there."

How old people prefer their climate is a terrible metric for what should be considered nice weather. Looking at an old person's thermostat should show you that. 95 degree Christmases where you sweat your balls off isn't fun, and neither is having two weeks out of the year where the temperatures are below 60 degrees.

Dutch Boy said...

Florida weather is bad but the weather in the USA in general is so awful that Florida's non-frigid weather looks good to a lot of people (lots of bugs and humidity but the rest of the country has that too). The list in general sounds like a joke. Vallejo before Detroit? Gimme a break!

Anonymous said...

"But the crime is DC is largely confined to areas that Forbes readers are unlikely to go. . ."

I don't know about that. I imagine Forbes has plenty of readers who visit Capital Hill, The White House and The Pentagon.

Anthony said...

How did Oakland not get on that list when Sacramento did? Oakland's got unemployment, crime, taxes, and foreclosures, too. Maybe it's that Oakland doesn't get 100+ degree weather for months at a time?

Anonymous said...

That list is laughable.

I lived in Sacramento for 3 years, and it was one of the nicer mid-sized cities around.

Anonymous said...

I can attest to Florida being a terrible place to live - I've grown up in south Florida and I'm moving out to go to college soon. I am sure there are worse places in the country, but the people here are more contemptible and needlessly aggressive than any other state that I've been to.

I've spent a total of 12 hours in S. Florida and know almost nothing about it, so I'm curious - is it the NAM's or the New Yorkers that make it so bad? I live in the NYC area, so I can imagine it being the latter. I always had the impression that the Miami Cubans where OK, though they act like everyone should speak Spanish.

Anonymous said...

"'"But the crime is DC is largely confined to areas that Forbes readers are unlikely to go. . .'"

I don't know about that. I imagine Forbes has plenty of readers who visit Capital Hill, The White House and The Pentagon."

?? First, the Pentagon is in Arlington, VA. Second, the area of Arlington, VA in which it is located is safe.

CAPITOL Hill also has many nice areas. You really don't seem to know the area.

Robert Holmgren said...

But you gotta admit they certainly nailed Stockton.

josh said...

" First, the Pentagon is in Arlington, VA. Second, the area of Arlington, VA in which it is located is safe.

CAPITOL Hill also has many nice areas. You really don't seem to know the area."

I'm pretty sure it was a joke.

Heliogabalus said...

"70% of Chicago is a dump."

IMHO not more than 50% of Chicago is a dump. And its non-dumpy parts are some of America's most pleasant urban spaces.

But I do think maybe %70 of the USA as a whole is a dump. Living in NJ, and traveling to various states in the East and Midwest, convinced me of that.

Truth said...

"?? First, the Pentagon is in Arlington, VA. Second, the area of Arlington, VA in which it is located is safe."

It's called "satire", Sport.

Conatus said...

Capitol Hill in DC isn't bad if you work on the Hill and don't mind mayoral elections along racial lines. There used to be more murders in the early nineties including one that disappered down the memory hole: A guy named Barnes got shot in the head because he was white but...oh..I forgot....I am supposed to forget that.

Anonymous said...

Why so many California cities?

It's simple. The vast center of California is a hell hole.

Yesterday while enjoying a gorgeous day at the science museum in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco), I met a family who were set to drive back to Fresno. I couldn't manage to find the words to express my sympathy for their fate. I choked up.

The horror, the horror.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Troofie, not being a weenie, I don't think the weather here in Boston sucks at all. Give me four real seasons any day.

Brutus

Anonymous said...

"I've spent a total of 12 hours in S. Florida and know almost nothing about it, so I'm curious - is it the NAM's or the New Yorkers that make it so bad? I live in the NYC area, so I can imagine it being the latter. I always had the impression that the Miami Cubans where OK, though they act like everyone should speak Spanish."

You're right about it being NAMs and ex-New Yorkers. Someone once told me that Florida is a third-rate California filled with third-rate New Yorkers - which I think is a perfect summary. I think the only "white" group with any real solidarity here are the Jews - but that's hardly exclusive to Florida...

Anonymous said...

Any list of "most miserable cities" with Sacramento in the top twenty instead of Oakland is a joke.

peter A said...

"in Boston there are 3 months when you don't go out much."

What months would those be? Most of us locals spend January and February outside playing hockey if it's cold enough. If it's not cold enough to play hockey then it's really not very cold. Just enjoyed a balmy sunny 40 degree day today - the kids were having a ball outside.

Dahinda said...

"Chicago does not belong on that list. It's one of the best big cities in America these days."

I agree! Where the hell is Gary, Indiana on this list?? It is certainly more miserable than Chicago. Chicago is a really fun place to live and work! The entire North Side and much of the West Side have been gentrified and rebuilt in the last 30 years because of the demand for housing from all of the people moving back into the city. Chicago, for a couple of years in that time, led the area in housing starts over the suburbs. Name any other inner city in the country to do that! As for Gary, I would think that it is more miserable that any city mentioned!

dcite said...

D.C. has good places. The whole Connecticut Ave. and parallel Wisconsin Ave. in the the northwest are fine and haven't changed demographically in the 30 years I've been here. D.C. is getting more white, apparently. I'm not sure I see more little kids, but definitely there are more apartments being built downtown and they are not public housing. Even during the height of the murder era in the late 80s and 90s, the business district and the white districts were safe. Georgetown at night was not--I have friends who were held up at gun point there in the wee hours, and even recently, there have been murders.It's one reason why they don't want the metro train to run to Georgetown. Brings in more criminal muggers.
Anyway, downtown D.C., in the working areas, and the white residential areas, has seemed more safe to me than quite a few of the suburbs, most of which have the requisite "public housing" regardless of the tax bases's desires on the matter.

Marc B said...

"Otherwise, how can you put Sacramento on the list, but then exclude Baton Rouge or New Orleans or any of the the poor/dangerous southern cities?"

It didn't, Memphis is ranked #6 and that seems about right.

Anonymous said...

The key in Florida is to live on the beach, if you can afford it. In Sarasota, for example, it is perfectly pleasant on the beach even in the summer, with a nice breeze almost all the time. Go a mile inland, though, and it is hot and humid - pretty much a different climate.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the southside of Chicago pretty hellish? I've heard to keep the heck out.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Sacramento for one year... I'm surprised it didn't rank #1.
For those people trying to defend "Sac", give it up and stop lying to yourself. If you could live somewhere else, you would...

Anonymous said...

"Sacramento is the Paris of the Central Valley. Its inclusion is an outrage."

Fantastic way to look at this, that's like saying you're the best of the worst. Maybe next year you'll top the list with #1.

LonewackoDotCom said...

1. Obama's from what I guess would be considered the near southside, and the immediate area around the U. isn't so bad. Except - like almost every other city on the list - it's completely flat.

2. There are several Central Valley places on the list and on a related not it's interesting how those who've whined about CA's problems to push their libertarian agenda keep forgetting to mention immigration (JoelKotkin, WSJ, Reason, Instapundit, etc.)

3. My #1 would be Alamogordo. I drove from L.A. to Maine and back some years ago and that was one of the worst. And, my trip included going through Tennessee and Arkansas.

4. Some of the best were CO, upstate NY, ME, and VT.

Dahinda said...

"Sacramento is pretty nice. There are a lot of states where being the state capital doesn't bring in much money, but California isn't one of them."

Springfield Illinois is another city that should be on this list. It is not only a crappy city that gets nothing from being the state capital, it has had racial strife for over a century. A race riot in Springfield early in the last century led to the formation of the NAACP.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know about that. I imagine Forbes has plenty of readers who visit Capital Hill, The White House and The Pentagon."

I almost took this seriously. I guess I have that Goyish honesty thing going. Obviously you make joke....

By the way, it's Capitol with an "o". :)

MlssCue said...

Born & raised in the glass city, must agree, not the best place to live any more.