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Stockton, other California cities top most-miserable list

February 3, 2011 | 12:40 pm


California seems to be getting really good these days at making it to the top of "Worst Of" lists. This time, eight of the state's cities topped a Forbes list of the most miserable cities in the country. Stockton, that crown jewel of the San Joaquin Valley, is officially the most miserable city in the nation, according to Forbes. And the ranking even came before the news that a Stockton toddler was hospitalized for consuming marijuana!

Forbes compiled the list by using 10 factors, including unemployment, tax rates, commute times, violent crime, sports teams, change in median home prices, foreclosure rates, corruption of public officials and weather. It posted the list in a photo gallery, one which editors must have had fun choosing the most miserable pictures from each city they could find. The Stockton photo shows a power plant next to a foreclosed house.

Stockton has the seventh-highest rate of foreclosure filings in the nation, Forbes said, and its violent crime and unemployment rates also rank high. The city's unemployment rate in December was 21.5%, according to the Employment Development Department.

Miami is the second-most miserable city in the country, Forbes said, but California cities also rank No. 3 (Merced), No. 4 (Modesto) and No. 5 (Sacramento). Financially-strapped Vallejo is No. 9. Memphis, Tenn.; Chicago; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Cleveland round out the top 10.

This was a contest Cleveland seemed relieved not to win this year (it took the top ranking last year). The Cleveland Leader posted a picture on its website with the phrasing: "Cleveland. Not as Miserable As It Used To Be."

Still, Cleveland, where it is 26 degrees today, beat out Fresno (No. 17), Salinas (No. 18) and  Bakersfield (No. 20), on the miserable scale. On the other hand, balmy Miami was more miserable than Cleveland, Forbes said. Apparently, no one's told LeBron James.


Where recession's effects are magnified

-- Alana Semuels

 Photo: A development under construction in Stockton. Credit: Alana Semuels / Los Angeles Times