Saturday, February 23, 2008

I don't think I'll be moving to Detroit anytime soon...

While checking my email this morning, I came across a link on the side of the page titled “America’s most miserable cities”. Looking out my window at the grey sky and raindrops falling, I clicked the link hoping that a city in Oregon or the Northwest would be mentioned on the list to reassure myself that rain does in fact make people unhappy.

The list results shocked me. How is Detroit, Mich. the most miserable city in America?

Does this sound appealing to you? High rates of violent crime, unemployment and income taxes, long commutes, bad weather and pollution is the description the Forbes article uses to describe Detroit.

How can a city that has spawned greats such as Madonna, Eminem and Ford Motor Company be full of people that are so miserable? According to the article, the “misery” of a city is calculated from unemployment, personal tax rates, commute times, weather, crime and toxic waste dumps. Using this calculation, Stockton, Calif., Flint, Mich. And New York were runner-ups.

I can’t help but think of the negative PR implications for Detroit and the other cities on the list. Are people going to want to visit a city that is home to the most miserable people in the country? Is this list going to want to make current residents move to a new city?

At the end of the article, there is a list of links to other lists Forbes has compiled including: “The most 20 earthquake-vulnerable cities” and “The world’s densest cities”. Is Forbes trying to discourage people from traveling or relocating? I see how these lists can be helpful to people looking into relocating, but as summer begins to approach, I can’t help but think what these lists do to tourism in the cities mentioned.

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