Men’s Health Magazine recently published a list guaranteed to anger the residents of at least 100 cities, unless, of course, these residents are too depressed to work up a good lather.
Yes, the magazine in late November released its list of the 100 saddest cities in the United States. And, unfortunately, the Midwest had several cities on the list, headed by Detroit, which ranked as the second-saddest city in the country according to Men’s Health. Thank goodness for St. Petersburg, Fla., which ranked as the saddest of the sad, the only city that Men’s Health found to be gloomier than Detroit.
Now, before you think the editors at Men’s Health are pulling city names out of a hat, you should know that they did some research before putting together their list. They calculated the suicide rates of cities across the United States and considered unemployment rates. They also analyzed the percentage of households that use antidepressants.
It’s not surprising, then, that Detroit ended up high on the list. There is simply too much unemployment here.
Other Midwest cities that ranked high on the sadness list include Memphis, which ranked as the third saddest city in the country, and Louisville, which came in at fifth. St. Louis ranked sixth in terms of sadness, though I’m not sure if the rankings were calculated before or after the Cardinals won the World Series. (Maybe St. Louis residents were watching the Rams try to play football as the sadness ratings were being conducted.)
On the positive side, Men’s Health ranked several Midwest cities among the top 10 happiest in the country. St. Paul, Minn.; Madison, Wis.; and Omaha all made this sunnier list. Credit a lower-than-average unemployment rate in these three cities for their high happiness rankings.
At the end of its sadness list, Men’s Health editors give their own prescriptions for fighting off the blues. I think, though, that the residents of Detroit, St. Louis and Memphis would be a lot happier if they had more jobs from which to choose. That’s a pretty simple prescription for happiness.
— Dan Rafter