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The Mechanics
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Chicago Tue Feb 10 2009

Forbes Lists Chicago Among Nation's Miserable Cities


Chicago is America's third most miserable city, beating out bleak towns like Flint, Mich. and Buffalo, NY, according to a recently released Forbes magazine list.

Chicago's dubious ranking comes just six months after the magazine dubbed Chicago the most stressed-out city in America.

The magazine said Chicago's weather, long commute times, rising unemployment and the country's highest sales tax earned it the number three spot on the list, below Stockton, Calif. and Memphis.

For the first time this year, Forbes used "corruption" as a factor when ranking America's 150 largest metropolitan areas in order of misery, according to

They even talk about the long baseball World Series drought of the Chicago Cubs. That makes Chicago miserable! Yeah, corruption isn't bad enough -- or weather or commutes or even business or economic reasons -- but the Cubs' long championship drought is!

Here's more from ABC News:

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago, has been very busy in recent years. They convicted 385 public officials of crimes over the past decade, a per capita rate that puts it in the bottom third of big U.S. metros.

The Northern District office boasts of recent successful prosecutions, including "a corrupt former governor of Illinois, Chicago officials who rigged city hiring, individuals who lied about their support of foreign terrorism, corporate executives who cheated public shareholders and traditional organized-crime bosses who were responsible for notorious murders."

Illinois' record of public corruption, particularly in the governor's office, is staggering. Five of the past nine governors have been charged with crimes, and three, as of now, have served time in prison. Whether former Gov. Blagojevich will do any jail time is still to be determined.

The misery in Chicago runs much deeper than just corruption, though. Unemployment is expected to surge to 9.2% in 2009, up from 6.6%. The Tribune Co. is mired in bankruptcy, while big local employers like Midway Games, Motorola and the University of Chicago Medical Center have all announced big layoffs.

Residents have been showing their dissatisfaction with Chicago with their feet, perhaps fed up by the average low temperature of 17 degrees in January. There has been a net migration of people out of Chicago for seven straight years, a trend that is expected to continue. And for all of the recent success of the lovable Cubs, last year marked the 100th straight season without a World Series championship. The title drought is 40% longer than any other major professional sports team.

At least they talked up Chicago a little bit before they got into the nitty-gritty of what makes Chicago miserable...

Chicago would seem to be on quite a roll these days. The city is a leading contender to host the Summer Olympics in 2016. The hometown Cubs had the most wins of any team in the National League last year and are one of the early favorites to win the 2009 World Series. And, of course, one of its own just became the most powerful person in the world (we're not talking about Oprah either, but she's close).

So with all of the good vibes coming out of Chicago, how does it show up as the third worst city on our second annual list of America's Most Miserable Cities?

Two questions: why would the Olympics consider miserable Chicago, and what can we do to have weather control to turn that misery into a little bit of happiness?

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sylvia mcc. / February 19, 2009 2:10 PM

icannot remember when someone doe snot want me to remember a city resident someone has toucjed someone else's wellmeaning item for free in nowhere land ia man to from her and i don't have any dealing swith mafia oother inlawfulcitizens no matter who they are and unemployed for notheing?

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