10 Unhappiest American Cities
No sun, no jobs and lots of foreclosures. This can be a recipe for unhappiness.
Not surprisingly, some cities whose residents struggle with lots of these issues also have high levels of suicide, clinical depression, divorce and violent crime.
BusinessWeek.com ranked 50 of the largest metros based on their misery and depression levels. The depression scoring is based on insurance reporting. The rest of the rankings come from the National Assembly of County & City Health Officials, FBI crime reports, the U.S. Weather Bureau and the U.S. Census.
While it’s not clear that the recession has made these social issues worse – most of these cities had these problems before the economy headed south – and economic woes certainly can’t be helping.
Here are the top 10 most depressed cities.
- Portland, Ore.
- St. Louis
- New Orleans
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Jacksonville, Fla.
- Las Vegas
- Nashville, Tenn.
- Cincinnati, Ohio
Source: BusinessWeek.com, Prashant Gopal (02/26/2009)
Not everyone was a winner under the program to help troubled homeowners announced Wednesday by the Obama administration.
The refinancing plan does nothing for people whose mortgages have dropped substantially in value because it’s limited to borrowers who owe no more than 5 percent more than their home’s current value. Borrowers who are severely underwater don’t qualify.
It also won’t help borrowers whose main breadwinner has lost a job or those who are drowning in other debts on top of their mortgages.
The ineligible borrowers are concentrated in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona, but are also in the Midwest, particularly in Detroit.
“This is not going to save every person’s home,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary. “The plan is not intended to … augment somebody’s loan for a house that they couldn’t afford under any economic situation, good or bad.”
Source: The Associated Press, Alan Zibel
Sales are picking up in markets where prices are deflated, but the business is different than it was before the bubble burst, observers say.
The housing market in deflated markets–like Arizona, California, Florida, and Nebraska–are beginning to show signs of a rebound. Analysts say that prices have fallen to the point that those with average salaries can afford to buy once again.
“The buyers are returning,” says Lawrence Yun, National Association of Realtors chief economist. “And in such a strong way that, now, we are hearing in some cases there is multiple bidding, which hints that maybe pricing is reaching a bottom point. But inventory remains high.”
In California’s San Joaquin County, sales in September and October reached sales levels about equal to business at the height of the boom in 2005, says DataQuick, which provides property data.
But new buyers are primarily first-timers and investors looking to cash in. Local practitioners say the buyers are primarily local residents who have cash to spend.
“It’s the couple down the street that has a nice nest egg and who wants to put it into something that will give them a good return,” says Bev Marlow, head of the Central Valley Association of REALTORS®.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor, Ben Arnoldy