Number Three? America’s Most Miserable Cities? Ranked third After Flint, Michigan (number one), and Detroit, Michigan (number two)? Are you freaking kidding me? Rockford? How do you even know where Rockford is on the map? Honestly.
Honestly. We’ve got our troubles. But number three?
Now I know numbers. In another life I cranked out numbers for a living. Acres of spreadsheets. Formulas, statistics, the works. So let’s see what it takes to become miserable according to Forbes this year…
The misery index is based on 9 factors. First, the average unemployment rate between 2010 and 2012, which doesn’t take into account that the average unemployment rate for Rockford, although high, has decreased during that time frame. Don’t believe me? This from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Dec. 2010 12.9. Dec. 2011 12.5, Dec. 2012 11.2
Second, median commute times to work for 2011. Ummm. Yeah. Because, it takes like 20 minutes to get anywhere in Rockford. Ask anyone. “So. Where are you?” “Target” “Ok. See you in 20 minutes”. “I’m leaving the post office now, be home in 20 minutes.” So this one is pretty much bogus. You want to see commute times? Drive from one side of LA to the other.
Third, violent crimes per capita from the FBIs 2011 Uniform Crime Report. Yeah, for Rockford, this one is ouch (BTW mostly theft crimes). Yet, although high, there are twelve metropolitan statistical areas higher for this time period, including such places as Anchorage, AK, Memphis, TN, and Springfield, IL. Download the report yourself from here.
Then they included the change in median home prices between 2009 and 2012; foreclosure rates in 2012, and property tax rates. They also factored in income tax rates and the weather. Maybe I’m in denial, but I’ve seen more foreclosures in the beach community where I vacation than here in Rockford, and honestly, the weather is not. bad. It’s not Fargo, ND. Shoot, it’s not even Milwaukee.
I live here. I work here. I’m raising my kids in this community. I have friends here. My church is here. This is my home. And I’m not miserable. And granted, I don’t represent everyone in Rockford, but in my line of work I interact with a fair number of people and most seem to be more hopeful than miserable.
It snowed again on Friday, which according to Forbes should contribute to my misery. I went sledding with my family. Perspective. Something the statistics don’t take into account.
Photo © Dekanaryas