The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

February 16, 2011
Sacramento vs. Detroit: Who has more misery?

Lots of ink has already been spilled about Forbes ranking Sacramento as the fifth most miserable city in America earlier this month. Marcos Breton talked about how the ranking ignored some of the city's finer points; Ryan Lillis noted how other ranking lists disagree with Forbes' conclusion.

When you dig into the data, though, the only way Sacramento can possibly be one of the most miserable cities in America is if you equate misery with unemployment and foreclosures. By most other measures, Sacramento ranks way ahead of a lot of cities Forbes considers happier.

To illustrate that, here's a chart comparing Sacramento to two Rust Belt cities Forbes says are much less miserable than Sacramento: Detroit and Buffalo.




Unemployment Rate12.511.18.2


Median Household Income$47,107$26,098$29,285


Adults with Bachelor's Degree30%12%23%


Poverty Rate19%36%29%


Median Home Sales Price$205,000$87,000$107,000


Percentage of Days with Sunshine78%53%48%


Obese Adults29%34%26%


Residents Who Own Homes48%54%44%


Homeowners Paying 1/2 Income on Mortgage14%16%7%


Murder Rate (per 100,000 residents)6.440.222.3

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; CDC; NOAA; Wells Fargo; FBI

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