New misery index measures cities’ malaise
Good news, Detroit: You’re not as miserable as everyone thinks you are.
Misery loves company, and apparently, it also loves to be measured.
Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal have created a new formula to quantify just how lousy residents of various metro areas are feeling.
The index measures misery using criteria including unemployment rates, rising gas prices and plummeting home values. Taking data from the Labor Department, gas prices from gasbuddy.com and home prices from Standard & Poor’s, the study puts the national misery index at 20%.
- MSN Health: The angriest cities
But the real interest lies at the local level – which city lands the unwanted “most miserable” title in this new index?
Congratulations, Phoenix. An annual home-price drop of 9.1% and a 22% rise in gas prices have made you the runaway, er, winner, with a misery index tallied at 31.24%.
Rounding out the top five are Portland, Ore., 27.67%; Seattle, 25.74%; Minneapolis, 25.24%; and Los Angeles, 24.93%.
Not all misery indexes are created equal. The top five cities on the Wall Street Journal’s list didn’t even crack the top 20 in Forbes’ annual ranking of the most miserable cities for 2011. To compile its list, Forbes looked at the 200 largest metro areas and ranked each based on 10 factors, including violent crime, commute times and tax rates.
The original misery index was created by economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson, and takes an even simpler approach than the Wall Street Journal or Forbes. The unemployment rate is simply added to the rate of inflation. The misery index for 2010 averaged 11.3% using these criteria.
Is there relief around the corner from all this misery? Not according to the Journal:
Don’t expect misery to ease soon. Although the jobless rate is likely to fall gradually, gas prices are likely to keep rising as the U.S. nears the summer driving season. And the S&P/Case-Shiller report warned there was “no real hope in sight for the near future” concerning home prices.
Is your city more miserable than it’s getting credit for? Tell us on Facebook.
-- Greg Lee is a producer for MSN Real Estate
Phoenix is comfortable all winter long, and the "snowbirds" flock in from every corner of the country. Spring and fall are gorgeous, too. Very hot summers, but with A/C, it's no problem. Housing is affordable, while Scottsdale and Paradise Valley offer world class shopping , spas, and dining. Golf and other sports, well, one could go on, but....
A little bird tells me that this non-story is more driven by politics than truth. Right? Yes, I believe so....
Don't you love what this country/world is coming too? Always comes down to politics. One blames the other, the other blames back. Never ending cycle. The fact is both are causing the world's problems. All parties make promises they can never keep just to get into power. Then the people place blame and on other parties, it's turning into a modern day segregation issue. you know what that lead too? Same thing that's going on in Libya and other parts of the world, and something this country already experienced, a civil war. We don't need another civil war, stop bringing politics into everything or else that will be our future. This country needs to work together. The fight should be against overproducing companies, make car manufactures produce less cars each year, really how many need a new car every year, most car companies use robots to make cars so no loss of human jobs. Make these sports players earn a respectable pay, makes me sick when someone gets a million dollar contract, and sits on the bench. Make cities stop building new homes/business buildings when there are tons out there that are empty, put the money into refurbishing them and building public parks and venues. This world revolves too much around politics and the almighty dollar and it's killing this world.
Soon the poor will be poorer, low class will be poor, middle class will be low class, and high class will be middle class, only 2 classes can afford to live anymore, and yet all people do is argue politics and ignore the true picture, nobody will be happy, because as long as politics has many mouths, many egos, only ones losing is the people, because republicans will never agree with democrats and democrats will never agree with republicans. Same goes for Libs, Cons and Reals, they all let there egos come before the ones that truly matter, we the people of these united states of america.
Thumbs down me all you'd like, you know all I've said speaks the truth, and the truth hurts.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.