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Atlanta lays claim to Dixie's 'Most Miserable' metropolis

The late humorist Lewis Grizzard had a standard refrain for Northerners who complained about life in his beloved Atlanta: “Delta is ready when you are.”

For a little variation, he would sometimes remind them that “Interstate-75 goes both ways.”

It’s perhaps well and good that the longtime Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist is not around to hear today’s news. Atlanta landed the distinction today as the lone Southern city to make Forbes’ list of the 20 “Most Miserable” cities, coming in at 16th, just ahead of Cleveland.

Grueling traffic combined with high foreclosure rates accounted for Atlanta’s placement, Forbes says

What about Miami, last year’s Number One on the Misery Index? you ask.

Seems that particular tropical tourist trap got off this time on a technicality relating to in-migration, out-migration or something or another.

Here is Forbes’ explanation of its selection process:

“We looked at 10 factors for the 200 largest metro areas and divisions in the U.S. to determine America’s Most Miserable Cities. Some are serious, like violent crime, unemployment rates, foreclosures, taxes (income and property), home prices and political corruption. Other metrics we included are less weighty, like commute times, weather and how the area’s pro sports teams did. While sports, commuting and weather can be considered trivial by many, they can be the determining factor in the level of misery for a significant number of people.”

Most of the cities that landed on the list are struggling Rustbelt communities plagued by jobs losses, business closings, home foreclosures and spikes in crime.

Which naturally leads us to Detroit – Forbes’ “Most Miserable” metropolis. Cited were the Motor City’s violent crimes, high unemployment, dwindling population and financial crisis.

Flint, Mich.; Rockford, Ill.; Chicago and Modesto, Calif., rounded out the top five misery venues.

Here is a roundup of all 20.

Atlantans reacted as expected, with one comment maker on the AJC site insisting: “We’re not even remotely close to the rat holes in Michigan.”

“I don’t get it, Atlanta has been a breath of fresh air for me,” wrote another.

One reader is resigned to his city’s high misery index level. He expects it will stay that way until people there learn how to use a left turn signal.





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