Misery is defined as a state of great unhappiness and emotional distress. The economic indicator most often used to measure misery is the Misery Index. The index, created by economist Arthur Okun, adds the unemployment rate to the inflation rate. It has been in the narrow seven-to-nine range for most of the past decade, but peaked over 20 in 1980.
There is also a “Misery Score”, which is the sum of corporate, personal, employer and sales taxes in different countries.
Forbes decided to expand on the Misery Index and the Misery Score to create their very own “Forbes Misery Measure”. They took into consideration unemployment and personal tax rates, but also added four more factors that can make people miserable: commute times, weather, crime and toxic waste.
It was no surprise that Detroit made the number one score for most miserable. But other cities included Stockton CA, which had the nation’s highest foreclosure rate and Flint MI, where the average home price was only $104K.