Tuesday, March 3, 2009
A list Bakersfield finally didn't make (but might deserve): the nation's unhappiest cities
Bakersfield and Kern County have a way of showing up on all the wrong lists: worst air, highest rates of urban poor, highest unemployment, not to mention obesity and teen pregnancy. So how did we miss out on being one of the nation's "unhappiest cities?" Speaking for myself, there sure seems to be a lot of anger out there, and we do have an unemployment rate hovering around 12 percent, along with a county adult illiteracy rate approaching 25 percent. Maybe we're poor and happy, but I suppose it's good this is a list we didn't make. So here they are, as reported by BusinessWeek (read the entire report here), the nation's unhappiest cities:
1) Portland (pictured, courtesy of BWeek)
2) St. Louis
3) New Orleans
6) Jacksonville, Fla.
7) Las Vegas
13) Kansas City
From BusinessWeek: BusinessWeek.com ranked 50 of the largest metros based on a variety of factors including depression rates, suicide rates, divorce rates, crime, unemployment, population loss, job loss, weather, and green space. The most heavily weighted factors were the depression, suicide, jobs (unemployment and job loss), and crime rates. The depression rate is based on drug company data on antidepressant sales. The rate of depression within a place, the total number of reported depression cases divided by the total population.
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this is funny. maybe we'll make the Angry City list.
I can see why Las Vegas made the list.... it's gambling country. Even I fall into the "$1 slot machine" addiction when I was visit... too afraid of the tables... But I think Bakersfield may not make the list because, despite the high unemployment rate, we are a pretty strong family value based town. And having a sense of family or even a strong bond of friends can keep many of us grounded. From the business side, we don't necessarily compete with each other like say musicians would in Nashville or developers in Vegas.... Also we are smaller in size and that can build a strong sense of community identity. Yeah we may not always agree with each other (and we're very vocal about it) but we keep going. Plus many of the folks' connection to faith and spirituality can play a role.
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