Hey Los Angeles: are you miserable?

Phoenix landed the dubious spot on the WSJ's misery index. Photo by dobieluvrs, via Flickr.

The Wall Street Journal has posted a provocative graphic showing the misery index for large cities around the U.S. The index was calculated using three factors: unemployment, an increase in gas prices and a change in home values.

The least five miserable cities in order, according to the WSJ: Boston, Cleveland, New York, Detroit and Tampa.

The five most miserable cities, with most miserable listed first: Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis and…Los Angeles!

Of course, if only the above three criteria are considered, then the results aren’t very surprising.

•According to the latest federal statistics, California has the second highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12.2 percent, behind only Nevada at 13.6 percent.

•California requires a special formulation of gasoline that has relatively few sources outside the state and results in prices often being higher and more variable here, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

•California real estate tends to rise big and fall big. Conversely, in Detroit the population has shrunk by 25 percent in the past decade and the mayor wants to demolish 10,000 empty residences.

Here’s the thing: these charts are always interesting, although obviously not a true reflection of what makes a person or place “miserable.” As of 1:15 p.m., it was 49 degrees and partly cloudy in Boston, 84 degrees with a few clouds in Phoenix and 78 degrees and sunny in downtown Los Angeles, according to the National Weather Service.

4 replies

  1. Sounds like more of a change-in-misery index. Detroit has pretty much hit rock bottom. I’m sure if you ranked cities by absolute misery and not change-in-misery, motown would top that chart.

  2. Any index that lists Detroit among the “least miserable” cities is critically flawed!