Are you feeling miserable on this snowy, gloomy day, at the butt-end of an interminable February? It may not just be the weather. It may be because you live in northern Illinois.
That’s what Forbes magazine says, anyway. Forbes, which loves to put the industrial Midwest at the bottom of its “Best Places to Live” list, has given Illinois three of the top ten spots on its Most Miserable Cities list. (Michigan also has three miserable cities, with Detroit #1, Flint #2 and Warren #7.) Here’s how we did.
#3 Rockford: A three-decade decline in the manufacturing base has hurt Rockford's economy and kept unemployment high. Job fairs like the above are busy servicing the city's 11.2 percent unemployed, which is one of the highest rates in the U.S. Another burden: high property tax rates.
#4 Chicago: Chicago has passionate supporters, but residents must endure the misery of long commutes, plummeting home prices, brutal winters and high foreclosure rates. The migration rate out of Chicago is the sixth worst among the 200 largest metros.
#9 Lake County: The Chicago suburb is one of the richest counties in the U.S., as measured by per capita income. But home prices are down 29% over the past 5 years. Other drawbacks: long commutes and lousy weather.
Now come on, adding Lake County as a separate city is just piling on. It’s a suburb of Chicago, with, as the article points out, the exact same miserable conditions. Chicago and Lake County are both part of the Chicago Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area, which extends from Racine to Gary, two other miserable cities. We only deserved two slots on the list.
At least they didn’t mention the murders.