Steve Eighinger

Another reason to be thankful for living in Quincy

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Oct. 4, 2019 12:01 am

Unfortunately, misery loves company.

The Business Insider website has come up with a formula, using numbers supplied by the U.S. Census and other government data, to rank what it considers the most miserable cities in the nation. Not necessarily the "worst," just the most miserable.

The cities on the list have numerous things in common -- lack of opportunity, high crime and addiction rates, abandoned neighborhoods, loss of population, high unemployment and wide-range poverty. (Hmmm ... sounds like an appropriate definition for the "worst" cities, too.)

Business Insider ranked its top 50 most miserable cities from an initial list of about 1,000. After wading through those rankings, I was even more appreciative of living in Quincy, where more often than not our biggest complaint deals with a pothole or a street light that is temporarily out of order.

The following sampling of towns are listed with their misery index rankings:

49. St. Louis: The city struggles with crime and gun violence in particular. St. Louis now has the highest murder rate in the nation and 15th-highest in the world.

43. Mansfield, Ohio: I included this selection because it is the city where I spent my formative years and I saw the decay happening right in front of my eyes, and it has only worsened since I left almost a quarter of a century ago. Only about half of Mansfield's 46,000 residents have jobs. Once flush with all sorts of major factories, including a General Motors plant, all but a handful of those economic anchors have disappeared.

38. Reading, Pa.: In 2011, the New York Times said Reading was the poorest city in the country. An estimated 44 percent of its 88,000 residents are on food stamps.

32. Jackson, Miss.: In February, the city threatened to cut off water for 20,000 people because of $45 million worth of unpaid utility bills.

27. Cleveland: Once billed as the "mistake by the lake," Cleveland's population has shrunk to 384,000 people -- 35 percent of them living in poverty. The city has lost most of its major industrial resources, and in 2010 Forbes said it was the most miserable city in the nation.

24. Huntington, W. Va.: I played in a high school baseball game in this city in the early 1970s, when it was a picturesque river town. Now, more than half of its 46,000 residents are not working, and about a third live in poverty. In 2008, the city was described as the unhealthiest in America. The opioid crisis caused Huntington to be named America's overdose capital.

9. Warren, Ohio: Warren has the second-highest rate of people in the nation struggling to find enough food,

8. Camden, N.J.: The average household income is $26,105 -- the lowest of any city among the 50 most miserable.

3. Detroit: The Motor City once had a population of about 1.5 million about 1950. There is now about 670,000 people, and only about half have a job.

1. Gary, Ind.: The city has 75,000 residents but just over half of the population works, and 36 percent exist in poverty. A drug-enforcement agent who grew up in the area told the Guardian in 2017, "We used to be the murder capital of the U.S., but there is hardly anybody left to kill. We used to be the drug capital of the U.S., but for that you need money, and there aren't jobs or things to steal here."

So, the next time you are tempted to complain about things in Quincy, you might want to reconsider.