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Being From Ohio is Not All Good

I grew up in Ohio. I have always been proud of that fact until I read the list of America's Most Miserable Cities, as reported by It seems Ohio holds the dishonor of having not one---not two---but FIVE cities on that list.

1. Cleveland
9. Canton
12. Akron
15. Toledo
18. Youngstown

Although my hometown of Canton is known for the Football Hall of Fame and birthplace of President William McKinley, the city was cited for have a low population of intellectuals. According to, only 18 percent of adults living there have a college degree. I guess a lot of people followed my lead in the 1970s and migrated elsewhere after graduating from college.

Akron may be the home of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James but that's obviously not enough to keep it off the miserable list. Apparently Akron has some of the highest local income taxes in the state.

Youngstown was a miserable city when I was living there 30 years ago but it's apparently gotten worse. It was cited as being high in political corruption.

And then there's Cleveland. In spite of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a revitalized downtown waterfront, the mistake by the lake, according to, is touting high crime and high unemployment and beyond miserable winters.

To see the complete list of America's Most Miserable Cities, click here: Miserable Cities


Anonymous said…
I disagree that a low percentage of college degrees makes a place miserable. Education is what you make of it, and happiness and quality of life don't necessarily correlate with college degrees.

Miami made it on the list too ... glad I live in Fort Lauderdale!

Beverly said…

I think Canton's main problem was not having enough good "white collar" jobs for young people. It is a steel mill, blue collar town and anyone who wanted more than that wasn't willing to stay. I know that's not everybody but I do think what a city has to offer will dictate whether or not you want to stay there.
Eileen Williams said…
My parents were both from Ohio and I've got a number of cousins who live there. Visiting them has always been a special occasion and lots of fun. I think I've seen each of the seasons (something we don't have so much in California) and I don't believe the report. Many parts of Ohio are beautiful, so I think it's great to be from the Buckeye state!
Sharon McMillan said…
Bev I have to speak up for your state and especially Cleveland. I'm not from Ohio but as you know my husband is from Akron. After marrying we eventually moved to Cleveland where I really started my career in public relations.

I loved that city!! Now my own native city is in the top ten for dozens of quality of living lists in the world (I'm from Toronto), so it's not as if I don't know what makes a city great.

What I don't know is if spirit and the determination of the people that live there are measured on that Forbe's list. I had the opportunity while living there to work with many different community groups. From developers, to home owners, to small businesses - and I found them to be the most innovative, progressive and supportive people anywhere.

Even if someone brushes off that assessment as being too subjective, there are other internationally acclaimed assets in Cleveland. Think: top 10 orchestras in the world (Cleveland Orchestra), one of the nation's most revered museums (Cleveland Art Museum), one of the nation's best concert halls (Severence Hall) - I could go on.

The Cleveland area also has some of the most beautiful neighborhoods (Yes neighborhoods). Surrounding communities like Beachwood, Lakewood, Chagrin Falls, Shaker Heights, Brecksville and Solon - are comfortable, beautiful places to live. Google them.

Then there are the metro parks - Cleveland is surrounded by a beautiful, lush, HUGE park system minutes from the core of the city and surrounding the whole region.

Of course we can't forget Cleveland has a professional sports team in all the sports that count - baseball, football and basketball.

Cleveland also has a cluster - yes a CLUSTER of some the nation's best universities (Case Western, John Carroll, Cleveland Institute of Art, Ursuline, Cleveland State, Baldwin Wallace...) AND Cleveland has one of the finest hospitals in the country for heart surgery and transplants - The Cleveland Clinic. People travel from around the country and the world to seek treatment at the Cleveland Clinic.

Finally - we vacation almost every other year in southern Ohio because we love Yellow Springs and that region. Bike trails, rolling hills, beautiful bed and breakfast establishments, quaint hippy stores and galleries that look like they're stuck in a 1960's time warm and some of the BEST restaurants make that area fabulous for us.

Getting off my soap box now, but Ohio is a secret that is just not talked about enough. If more people knew the kind of extensive infrastructure there for business and strong communities, they'd move there and that would help the state's current woes tremendously.

You come from a GOOD place Bev, and I personally love Ohio.
Debra Stokes said…
These are interesting stats, Bev. It is somewhat "comforting" to know that only one city in the Sunny South (Memphis) made this list. For you, the key word might be that you are FROM Ohio :)
Kathy said…

Well I can't really top Sharon's post but I can certainly agree wholeheartedly with her. Ray and I have an annual tradition of going to Cleveland for Thanksgiving and as a southern boy he loves it! Sharon didn't mention the West Side Market, but that is one of his favorite attractions.

We also love the surrounding areas such as Peninsula and Hudson and when we go in the Spring we enjoy a nice walk or bike ride along the Erie Canal trail. We don't have time to make a trip up there this spring, but I really miss it.

We also make it a point to attend the Cleveland Orchestra while we're there and Severance Hall is indeed simply breathtaking. We visited the Botanical Gardens one time and felt like we were a million miles from anywhere - and in the middle of the city!

Yes, Cleveland has crime and some ugly parts, but let's not forget the wonderful ethnicity. We never miss a chance to visit Gallucci's Italian Market and Little Italy and, again, that West Side Market.

Cleveland has great restaurants, beautifully restored old theaters, fabulous architecture and a general character that comes from a city that has been around for a while.

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