Ask the resident of the 14th most miserable city in the US

Forbes magazine tells me that I was born in and current reside in the 14th most miserable city in the US. I’m shocked it wasn’t higher. Unemployment is 17% and in general, this is a backassward place to live.

Some cities are worse, but just for a sheer lack of culture it’s hard to top my hometown. The people are rednecks who are totally afraid of progress, as if taking a risk might make this place even worse. In it’s history, this town has said no to a college (NIU was created in DeKalb, about 40 miles south), to a major manufacturer (Chrysler built down the road to Belvidere) and to a freeway through town (instead it was built more or less down the county line, downtown is just about dead while suburban sprawl is alive and well).

Now that Manufacturing has just about officially died in this country, so has the midwest and so has this little town.

Not looking for pity, thought somebody out there might be curious on the day to day life of this hole in the ground.

Eh, that list was pretty weak. New York is more miserable then Gary, IN? Miami is more miserable then Buffalo? Cleveland is more miserable then Flint?

Are you going to tell us where you are, or do I have to go google your hints?

Which city?

Rockford, IL, is #14 this year. #1 is Cleveland, knocking Stockton, CA, out of the top spot.

Story is here.

[cue Rattle & Hum]

Where the city has no name


and beaten by 15 seconds … doh!

If it make you feel any better Rockford makes some of the best kick-arse red wines in Australia e.g. the Basket Press Shiraz

Is #1 city on that list the most miserable or the best of the 20?

Detroit is only# 4. We have 50 % unemployment. There are empty houses all over. No jobs. Schools cost too much. No way out.

This list isn’t compiled by asking people how miserable they are. First, it only considers the 200 largest cities in the U.S., so it makes no comparison with smaller towns or rural areas. Second, all it does is assume that misery is caused by unemployment, high sales and income taxes, long commutes, violent crime, failure of the local professional sports teams to do well, weather, pollution (in the sense of the number of Superfund clean-up sites), and political corruption. Each of these categories is interesting by itself, but the assumption that you can put them together into a misery index is really dubious. Third, it’s not even clear that each of the separate indexes is properly calculated. I don’t find any of these sorts of lists that rate states, cities, or areas to be useful. Here’s my advice for reducing your own misery index: Ignore lists like this.

The place with the highest foreclosure rate, the lowest graduation rate, and the lowest school test scores in the country didn’t even make the list. I call bullshit.

Yeah! Go Cleveland! We’re number 1 baby! Suck it Rockfish!

Cleveland has the best pub quizzes in the Lower 48. :slight_smile:

Born and raised in Rockford. Old saying about my town. “ROCKFORD, can we do it? Nah let someone else do it” I still love being here. Home is where your friends are. My wife and I both have jobs, we own our house, life is good for us. There is a kick butt Indian restaurant in town that makes life worth living.

Yea, I think they way underweighted things that actually make people miserable (unemployment, chronic poverty, poor schools, ) and over-weighted things like sports team failure, isolated political scandals, weather and superfund sites. They also say taxes make people miserable, but don’t weigh in the quality of the services those taxes provide (granted, that’s sort of what you’d expect from Forbes magazine).

I had no idea that there were this many people from Rockford here.

I lived in Rockford for about three and a half years. This was because I married someone from Rockford. Putting Chicago above Rockford on that this is effing ridiculous. Chicago at least has things to do, and has job prospects in the suburbs. Rockford? God. . .trying to find a job there was nearly impossible. Parts of town are nice, but parts of it are absolutely awful. There are a few decent things–the museums, mostly–but the rest of it is overwhelmingly meh.

The jobs, though. . .holy crap, the job market there sucked before everything really blew up at Chrysler, and the salaries are ridiculous. There were a few local interviews I went to where the job sounded great. . .until I realized that it would pay less than what I was making in my decidedly non-glamorous job in Elgin. If you’re in manufacturing or health care, the jobs were/are there; anything else, and it’s a big old “fuck you.”

And the culture. . .or lack thereof. Gah. Most of the clubs/bars/gathering places are kind of skeevy. . .except for the gentrified downtown, and with things the way they are (16% unemployment sounds about right) I doubt they’re doing all that great. The roads suck, construction takes forever, and the damn southeast side keeps on flooding. And the entire place seems to exude this almost despair-like quality.

Of course, that last could have been from an unhappy marriage, which really wasn’t the town’s fault. . .anyway. I moved back to Elgin. My ex-spouse separately moved to Elgin. My former in-laws moved to Roscoe. Wal-Mart at midnight on the first of the month is absolutely insane, which says something about the town’s prosperity. I don’t miss it at all.

Well. . .I miss Giuseppi’s. But that’s it.

How in the name of all that is sacred did Erie, PA miss this list?

Jesus…Cleveland, Canton, Akron, Youngstown AND Toledo all on that list? I grew up in and bought a home in the town that is directly between Cleveland and Akron and I’m not particularly miserable. Nor do I feel like we have too much snow. I do, however, really hate Forbes now.

heh. Dreary Erie, the mistake by the lake. Been there.

I am also a (former) Rockfordian, not born, but raised since infancy, and i’ve known that there is something unusually messed up about Rockford for almost my entire life. It’s more than just the unemployment, crime, etc mentioned in the article, it’s a general sense of dread, and at times it seems almost supernatural to me. Like, some horrible curse, or disease that seems to emminate from the city itself. When i still lived there, anytime i would meet someone currently living in or visiting Rockford who was not from Winnebago County, i would ask them how they liked Rockford, always being careful to not ask the question in a leading way, either positively or negatively. The honest ones always had the same reply, they always said they didn’t like it, but they could not explain why, there was just something <i>weird</i> about it. Even people who carefully chose their answers, not wanting to offend a proud local, never had anything GOOD to say about it, and it was obvious they too felt the unexplained sense of dread. In fact Rockford actually has it’s own reputation in other parts of the country! My first attempt to escape Rockford took me to Phoenix, AZ, where i worked in a coffee shop in the airport. I met a woman who worked at the Hertz car rental agency in the airport who also happened to be from Rockford originally. “What a small world!” I thought at first, but perhaps not. Hearing that I was from Rockford didn’t seem to surprise her as much as it did me, but that’s because she already knew that there are at the very least HUNDREDS of people who have made the migration from Rockford, IL to the Phoenix area. In fact they hold a “Rockford Picnic” every year in Mesa, AZ. It’s not coincidence, something is seriously wrong with Rockford, something nobody can explain, and it’s can’t be summed up in statistics. If you live a happy life in Rockford, I think that’s fantastic, most of my family and friends still live there, and i can say that on the occasions i do visit, it’s not always horrible. But to me, Rockford is a soul-sucking pit of despair that i am happy to no longer call my home.

Maybe it’s “the symbol?” maybe it’s cursed? Nobody REALLY knows what the hell it’s supposed to be anyways, someone should destroy it and see if things get better, lol.