By now everyone has probably heard of the Forbes article designating Cleveland as the distinguished “most miserable city” in the US. Among Cleveland’s many accomplishments listed in this article are its nickname (from the 50s), its failing sports teams (hello, CAVs?), and its political corruption (ok, they’ve got us on that one). Call me crazy, but something about this article is just plain un-American. Normally I don’t throw that kind of terminology around, as I’m against blind appeals to nationalism, fear/safety, and other emotion-inducing propaganda, but this time I’m making an exception. We have a culture that loves the under-dog, embraces optimism and positive change, and puts a tremendous amount of importance and pride on working hard for the future good. Therefore, this big, money and fame loving magazine creating a wildly generalized list of “miserable” cities (talk about kicking communities while they’re down) just seems in poor spirit. I’m surprised the issue even sells.
But what really irks me about this article is its flawed methodology (yes, it’s time for economic smack-talk). As an economist by training, I’m surprised how poorly designed this ranking system really is. It doesn’t take a genius (or therapist) to know that unhappiness isn’t solely determined by what’s going poorly (likewise, happiness isn’t only determined by what’s going well). It has a lot more to do with the balance between the two. And Cleveland, while we have our flaws, has A LOT of good, even excellent, attributes. Honestly we’re a little too modest about a lot of them. Q104 put together a nice little list of things we can and should brag about. My favorite things about Cleveland include the cost of living, the awesome restaurant scene, the ethnic diversity, University circle [...]