Sat, Feb 20, 2010 - Page 4 News List

‘The Mistake by the Lake’ named most miserable city in US


Cleveland has won the dubious distinction of being the most miserable city in the US, a new poll says.

The Ohio city on the Cuyahoga River has high unemployment, dismal weather, hefty taxes, corruption and mediocre sports teams, all of which have propelled it to the No. 1 position on the list.

“Cleveland nabbed the top spot as a result of poor ratings across the board. It was the only city that fell in the bottom half of rankings in all nine categories,” Forbes said on its Web site. “The city has been dubbed with a less than endearing nickname — ‘The Mistake by the Lake.’”

The rankings are based on jobless rates, inflation, taxes, commuting times, crime rates, performance by the city’s sports teams, weather, pollution and corruption by public officials.

The economic downturn with high unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies hit cities across the US last year, particularly in the Midwest section of the country.

Crime and unemployment secured the No. 2 spot for Stockton, which held the top position in last year’s ranking. Memphis captured third place thanks to its violent crime rate and the number of convicted officials, while the ailing auto industry drove the Michigan cities of Detroit and Flint into the top five.

“It [the list] is dominated by Midwestern cities that formerly had large manufacturing bases,” Forbes’ Kurt Badenhausen said. “A lot of the cities that showed up on our list are going through hard times right now, dealing with high unemployment, with declining manufacturing bases. Many have experienced strong net migrations out of the city over the last 20 and 30 years.”

Despite its enviable weather, Miami scored in the bottom 10 percent in commuting time, corruption and violent crime, which sent it into sixth place. It also had the 10th worst foreclosure rate in the US last year at 7.2 percent.

“One of the biggest surprises is Miami. The good weather and no state income taxes blur some of the severe problems that Miami has related to crime and corruption, as well as long commutes,” Badenhausen said.

The Florida sunshine mecca was followed in the miserable ranking by St Louis, Buffalo, Canton, Ohio and Chicago, which has the country’s highest sales tax at 10.25 percent.

New York, the nation’s biggest city, is rich in culture, but its lengthy commuting times and high income taxes pushed it into 16th place.

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