"Most miserable" U.S. cities 1. Detroit 2. Flint, Mich. 3. Rockford, Ill. 4. Chicago 5. Modesto, Calif. 6. Vallejo, Calif. 7. Warren, Mich. 8. Stockton, Calif. 9. Lake County, Ill. 10. New York 11. Toledo, Ohio 12. St. Louis 13. Camden, N.J. 14. Milwaukee 15. Atlantic City, N.J. 16. Atlanta 17. Cleveland 18. Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 19. Gary, Ind. 20. Youngstown, Ohio
Source: Forbes magazine
Happiest U.S. cities 1. Napa, Calif. 2. Idaho Falls, Idaho 3. Longmont, Colo. 4. Mission Viejo, Calif. 5. Simi Valley, Calif. 6. Santa Rosa, Calif. 7. Santa Cruz, Calif. 8 Lafayette, Colo. 9. Asheville, N.C. 10. Boulder, Colo.
Source: University of Vermont Computation Story Lab
Forbes magazine hit the state with a top two finish Friday in its annual rankings of the "most miserable" cities in the U.S. Detroit ranked No. 1. Flint ranked No. 2.
Forbes' rankings are based mainly on economic factors, including unemployment, foreclosures, income and property taxes and home prices, in addition to violent crime. Detroit ranked high on violent crime and the rate at which home prices are falling.
"Right now, it's all about survival," Mayor Dave Bing told Forbes.
In a separate study this week, mathematicians at the University of Vermont ranked the 373 "saddest" cities in the U.S., based on a quantitative analysis of keywords in more than 10 million geotagged posts on Twitter.
Detroit finished 29th. Flint was even sadder — its residents were the sixth-saddest in the country, according to the Vermonters.
(Adding insult to injury, Warren, Mich., shows up at seventh on Forbes' list.)
The Midwest, in fact, is heavily represented in both lists. Forbes' 20 most miserable cities also include Rockford, Ill. (third); Chicago (fourth); Lake County, Ill. (ninth); Toledo, Ohio (11th); St. Louis (12th); Milwaukee (14th); Cleveland (17th); Gary, Ind. (19th) and Youngstown, Ohio (20th).
Battle Creek, Mich. (eighth), and Lima, Ohio (ninth), also show up in the 20 saddest cities.
"This is not a league in which we want to play ball," Chuck Sweeny, political editor of The Rockford (Ill.) Star, wrote in a column Friday.
"We know what's wrong: too much poverty, too few college graduates, too few opportunities to get a college degree here, high crime in certain areas, an inability to work together to coordinate economic development and school districts considered poor or just average," Sweeny wrote.
"Add to that a crumbling inner city and thousands of substandard homes, and you've got a problem when the ratings folks come to town, or more likely, Google us."
"This is ridiculous. I am proud to be from Flint, MI," Manuel Gatica of New York — a Flint native — commented on Facebook. "I enjoy going back to visit and I live in New York, New York. I am a very happy person. The writer at Forbes must have a miserable life."
Detroiters, however, generally seemed to agree with their ranking, at least as indicated in comments at NBC station WDIV of Detroit:
The happiest city in America is Napa, Calif., the Vermont researchers concluded. The saddest? Beaumont, Texas. It's just one of many Deep South municipalities at the bottom of the list — and many in the region aren't happy about it.
"Albany is home. I wouldn't imagine being anywhere else," said Layne Tumlin of Albany, Ga., which ranked second on the saddest cities list.
"I did leave and come back," Tumlin told NBC station WALB of Albany. "I left for a few years, about eight, and traveled — got it out of my system, but the whole time I was gone, I kept thinking about home."
Is it worth it? For many students, the answer is probably not – unless they are accomplished enough to be accepted by one of the schools ranked near the top of our annual list of America’s 650 Top Colleges.
The rankings, which are compiled exclusively for Forbes by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity, focus on the things that matter the most to students: quality of teaching, great career prospects, high graduation rates and low levels of debt. They do not attempt to assess a school’s reputation, nor are they a measure of academic selectivity and we pointedly ignore any metrics that would encourage schools to engage in wasteful spending.
Princeton University (#1) tops the list again, for the first time since 2008. Williams College (#2) slips into second place, after two consecutive years as top dog. Ivy League schools dominate the top ten, claiming three spots in addition to Princeton: Yale (#5), Harvard (#6) and Columbia (#8); Cornell (#51) was the only Ivy not to crack the elite top 50.
Roman Iwasiwka / Williams College
Williams College slipped to No. 2 in Forbes' listing after two years at No. 1.
Rounding out the top ten are the University of Chicago (#4), a place where undergraduates say “fun comes to die,” West Point (#7), whose cadets pay no tuition, although they must serve on active duty in the U.S. Army post-graduation, Pomona College (#9), one of the seven Claremont Colleges in Southern California and Swarthmore (#10). Excluding service academies, there are five public schools in the top 50, with the University of Virginia (#36) being the highest ranked.
The rankings are based on five general categories: post graduate success (32.5%), which evaluates alumni pay and prominence, student satisfaction (27.5%), which includes professor evaluations and freshman to sophomore year retention rates, debt (17.5%), which penalizes schools for high student debt loads and default rates, four-year graduation rate (11.25%) and competitive awards (11.25%), which rewards schools whose students win prestigious scholarships and fellowships like the Rhodes, the Marshall and the Fulbright or go on to earn a Ph.D. The complete methodology is available here.
People at the game pulled Forbes off the coach, police said, and Forbes ran out of the gym before police arrived. The victim, a 34-year-old Springfield man, was rushed to the Baystate Medical Center in an ambulance to have his ear reattached. He has been released.
Forbes has been charged with mayhem, assault and battery and other charges. He will be arraigned on Monday afternoon in Springfield District Court.
Police said neither team is affiliated with the Holy Name School.
When Forbes magazine this month declared Stockton, Calif., the nation’s most miserable city for the second time in three years, lifelong resident Gregory Basso decided it was time to fight back.
Basso is a 69-year-old retiree who knows Stockton’s garbage – his former company collected it – as well as its gems, which he touts in YouTube video, “What Forbes Forgot.”
Basso won community accolades and was featured in local media and even in Forbes for saying Forbes “got it all wrong.”
The magazine focused on the area’s 14.3 percent unemployment rate, its housing market bust that saw home prices fall 58 percent in three years, its seventh-highest-in-the-U.S. foreclosure rate and its violent crime rate. In 2010, the magazine called Stockton the 10th most dangerous city in America, an improvement from its No. 5 ranking in 2009.
But Forbes forgot Stockton’s “quality of life,” Basso claims.
“I have to get up in the morning debating whether to wear my sunglasses or not in February,” he says in the video’s opening, which juxtaposes scenes of the snow-pummeled Northeast with sunny views of golfing, biking and boating available nearly year-round in Stockton, a city of 280,000 situated along the San Joaquin Delta waterways connecting San Francisco and Sacramento.
Basso spends about 4 minutes talking about area amenities and attractions, such as a marina, the University of the Pacific, the Stockton Symphony, a minor-league hockey team and attributes including the city’s port, rails and roads and 10-minute commute – if you live and work in the city.
Basso told msnbc.com he’s not ignoring suffering in his hometown by pointing out its good parts.
“I understand Stockton has problems; every city has problems,” he said. “At least we can live in an environment and we look at it and say ‘It’s not that bad out there.’ … You don’t need an ivory tower magazine saying you people are miserable.”
His goal for the video was not for the community to feel better about itself – although hundreds of emails to Basso and letters to the local newspaper said it did -- but possibly to lure a business owner somewhere to relocate to Stockton.
Not likely, said Ronald R. Pollina, president and founder of Chicago-based Pollina Corporate Real Estate, which, since 1981, has helped Fortune 500 clients find locations for corporate headquarters, factories and distribution centers.
“The board of directors, they could care less about the quality of life,” Pollina told msnbc.com “‘What’s it going to cost me to operate,’ that’s what they want to know.”
Pollina, like Forbes magazine, said Stockton has three major problems being located in California: taxes are high, it’s not a right-to-work state, and the state is overregulated.
These are cost-control problems that Pollina says he sees all over the country. They push jobs offshore and lower the standard of living for Americans, said the author of the recently published book “Selling Out a Superpower: How the U.S. Economy Went Wrong and How We Can Turn It Around.”
Mike Locke, Stockton’s deputy city manager, said Basso’s video “incrementally could be positive,” although it hadn’t spurred any inquiries when msnbc.com talked to him last week.
Locke, who formerly headed the San Joaquin Partnership, the area’s economic development organization agreed with Pollina that taxes, unions and regulations can put Stockton and California at a disadvantage.
“If you don’t need to be on the West Coast for its consumer base or access to the Pacific Rim, you don’t need to be in California,” Locke said.
But for a business that does need to be close to its consumer base, like the 6.7 million who live in the nearby San Francisco Bay Area, or have access to ports in Stockton or Oakland, Basso is right about the city’s advantages, he said.
The city’s problems also present opportunities, he said: The high unemployment rate means access to a ready workforce. The housing collapse means workers can afford homes more easily now.
The most recent company to take advantage, Locke said, was Springfield, Mo.-based O’Reilly Automotive. The 3500-store auto-parts chain leased a 520,000-square-foot Stockton distribution center where last year it hired 600 workers.
As for Basso, he said he was satisfied with the video and that his 15 minutes of fame that came with its posting were just about over.
“Reuters and others quoted Forbes like it’s gospel truth,” he said.
He wanted some lasting way to answer back.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, maybe a video is worth 10,000 words. It’s better than writing letters to the magazine that just end up in the shredder.”