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Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Tale of 10 Cities

Recently Men’s Health Magazine had an interesting article on “America’s Saddest Cities” This got me to thinking about what makes a place a “sad” location rather than a more attractive one. 

The article focused in on things like: suicide rates, unemployment rates, and the percentage of households using antidepressants (how do you get a hold of that kind of data).

Factors That Can Make a Place ‘Sad’ or ‘Happy’:

Great Weather? Bright, sunny days always make people feel better. With that in mind, check this out: Three of the top ten cities are located in Florida so although it may be a key indicator it clearly isn’t the major factor. Besides, Fargo, ND was 3rd from the top of the list.

Employment Opportunities? I think we can all agree that it’s pretty tough to be upbeat when you’re unemployed.  When your entire city or town is facing high unemployment the whole community is down and out.

An Attractive Nightlife? This goes hand in hand with being employed. When you’ve got a little money in your pocket it’s great to go out with friends and loved ones to the movies, nice restaurants, or local shows and enjoy yourself. That’s all part of the “work hard, play hard” axiom.

Plentiful Assortment of Outdoor Activities?  Simply being outside and active is a guaranteed endorphin rush. Certain cities within the states of California, Oregon, Arizona, and Colorado in particular are known for encouraging an active lifestyle. Beautiful outdoor areas attract hordes of locals into hiking, running, biking, skiing, horseback riding, etc

Network of family / friends or support network? Going through a rough patch is bad enough. Having to endure it all by yourself is doubly tough. Do you have friends and/or family members around to do things with? What about a supportive church or work group? You know the old song, “I get by with a little help from me friends.”

Is The Crime Rate Low? What good is having a wonderful job and a nice place to live if you come home and find your place has been robbed? Same goes for trying to raise a family in a war zone. It’s a “no go”.

Is The Cost of Living Reasonable? I live the Bay Area of California so I can definitely relate. The Bay Area is a great place to live if you’ve got loads of cash. The rest of us do the best we can.

How stressful is it to live in given city or town? Well, if you’ve got issues with high crime and unemployment rates let’s just say the stress level is likely near the danger zone.

1. Las Vegas, NV
Axiom a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

2. Reno, NV
This one I understand. When I was a kid this place seemed so lively so full of excitement. I went there several years ago to visit a friend and my every thought was, “What the hell happened to this place?”

3. Miami, FL
Sun, sand, golf and apparently depression. I always thought this was a fun state. I guess the home of Disneyworld, Miami Beach, and the Everglades ain’t what it used to be. 

4. Birmingham, AL
Birmingham is the cultural and entertainment capital of Alabama. That’s great! But it also has the 10th highest crime rate in the country.  That’s really bad. What ever happened to good ole’ southern hospitality?

5. St. Louis, MO
How can you be bummed living in the home of the World Series champion Cardinals?

6. Louisville, KY
Home of the Kentucky Derby, Hillerich & Bradsby (Louisville Slugger baseball bats), Humana, Texas Roadhouse, UPS Airlines and Kindred Healthcare among others. Also one-third of all bourbon whiskey comes from this city.  My guess is that at least the economic component is on pretty solid footing.

7. Tampa, FL
Isn’t Florida the ideal location that seniors flock to when they retire or has that changed? Maybe it’s Panama or the Dominican Republic nowadays.

8. Memphis, TN
Three hours from the country music capital of the world, loads of BBQ, and Graceland. What more could you ask for?

9. Detroit, MI
This one we all understand. Going all the way back to the 1980’s when the Motor City lost its’ engine.  With the main economic industry way down, you just know that the housing market had to take a dump. I really hope this city makes a comeback.

10.  St. Petersburg, FL
See numbers 3 and 7.

A list like this is largely based on opinion so now I’ll ask you, what key factors make a city or town sad to you?

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