Detroit Deemed America's Most Miserable City

Bertel King, Jr

A Forbes ranking released yesterday placed Detroit, MI at the top of a list of America's most miserable cities. Detroit took the title from Miami, FL, last year's winner, which was nowhere to be found on this year's list. Second place went to Flint, MI, while third went to Rockford, IL. Michigan, Illinois, and California tied for most appearances on the list, with three cities each.

Forbes based its decision on nine factors: violent crime, unemployment, foreclosures, income taxes, property taxes, home prices, commute times, weather, and net migration.

Violent crime in Detroit remains the highest in the country, with 1,052 violent crimes per 100,000 people. This is combined with cutbacks made to the police force as a result of the city's financial problems.

"It is a circuitous problem as high crime and unemployment force people to leave the city, which lowers the tax base and strains Detroit's finances further," Forbes reported.

Forbes looked at the country's 200 largest metro areas for this report, and some cities on the list are more surprising than others. Chicago ranked at 4th place due to its long commutes, decreasing home prices, cold winters, and high foreclosure rates. 107,000 people have left the city over the past five years.

New York City was ranked number 10 for having the longest average commute times and the highest income tax rates. There has also been a slow migration out of the city that Moody's expects to jump dramatically over the next three years.

Meanwhile, Miami benefited from the addition of net migration to this year's criteria, where Miami ranks 20th in the country among the 200 largest metros. The city also has a recovering housing market. On the other hand, its violent crime rate still remains the seventh worst in the country.

— RedEye Chicago (@redeyechicago) February 21, 2013

Detroit has been in decline for four decades now, so its appearance on the list is far from shocking. Still, not everyone is convinced that Detroit will keep the title for long.

"There is no question that Detroit has many challenges," Detroit Mayor Dave Bing said in a statement to Forbes. "With all due respect to the data in this report, Detroit is in the midst of a transformation. That transformation is being driven by my restructuring plan, which is focused on four key areas: public safety; public lighting; public transportation; and neighborhood blight removal."

If the mayor is right, perhaps America will have a different miserable city atop the throne next year.

[Image via Atomazul /]