Recent study names Columbus the 7th most miserable city in U.S.

spedersen@ledger-enquirer.comApril 2, 2014 

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Do you feel miserable? According to a recent study, if you live in Columbus, you should.

A recent Gallup well-being poll published on Yahoo! ranked the Columbus area as the seventh-most miserable.

The (umm) honor of the most miserable area to live in goes to the Tri-State region of Huntington-Ashland, comprising parts of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. It scored a 59.5 on the well-being index score.

Charleston, W. Va., (60); Redding, Calif., (62); Spartanburg, S.C., (62.2); Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, N.C., (62.2); and Beaumont-Port Arthur, Tex. (62.2), were the other cities more miserable than Columbus, according to this poll, of course.

Columbus scored a 62.3 on the index scores. It reports that only 21.9 percent of adults have a college degree, 27.4 percent of adults in the area are smokers and the median household income is $42,972.

"Columbus area residents were among the most depressed in the country. Roughly 24% said they had been told by a physician or nurse that they suffered from depression, one of the highest percentages in the country," the report states.

"As much as 19% of people surveyed said that they had not experienced enjoyment within the past 24 hours, the seventh-highest percentage among cities surveyed. A large portion of the residents, roughly 23%, did not like the city in which they lived, also one of the highest rates in the Well-Being Index. A lack of access to basic needs, for which Columbus was rated among the worst in the nation, can also explain the residents’ unhappiness. The area ranked last, for example, in having easy access to medicine. And just 67% of respondents said they had enough money to buy food at all times last year, also the least nationwide."

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson responded to the report.

“I’ve read the study, which does not use the word ‘miserable’ at all, but does point out that of the 475 Columbusites interviewed more than the typical amount were overweight or smoked or suffered from clinical depression,” Tomlinson said.

“We can use these findings to understand the importance of walkable communities, urban gardens and healthy cities, and to understand the importance of reducing poverty in our cities and creating access to resources for all. These are all subjects we take very seriously.”

Shreveport-Bossier City, La., (62.9); Mobile, Ala., (62.9) and Evansville, Ind.-Ky. (62.9) round out the top 10 most miserable places to live.

On the other side of this spectrum are the most pleasant pleasant places to live. Provo-Orem, Utah, scored the highest on the well-being index. It was followed by Boulder, Colo.; Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.; Honolulu, Hawaii; San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Naples-Marco Island, Fla.; San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, Calif.; San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.; and Lincoln, Neb.

According to its website, "the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score is an average of six sub-indexes."

It examines the following:

• life evaluation

• emotional health

• work environment

• physical health

• healthy behaviors and

• access to basic necessities.

"In America’s most miserable cities, residents were less likely to be in good physical health and far more likely to report unhealthy behaviors. Residents in all of the nation’s 10 most miserable areas were more likely to smoke than the average American. In the second most miserable area, Charleston, West Virginia, slightly over 35% of people said they smoked — the worst rate in the nation," Yahoo! reported.

The overall scores are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents the ideal. Gallup and Healthways have been tracking these measures daily since January 2008.

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