5. Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN
> Poverty rate: 15.2%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 7.1%
> Adult obesity rate: 30.7%
> Violent crimes per 100,000: N/A
The Indianapolis metro area is the most populous in Indiana, and the fifth most unhappy city in the country compared to other large metros. Low well-being is largely due to unhealthy habits and poor health outcomes among area residents. Nearly 23% of adults reported a smoking habit, for example, one of the higher proportions nationwide. In addition, the infant mortality rate of 7.7 deaths per 1,000 live births was one of the higher such rates reviewed. Poor economic factors also contribute to low well-being in the area, as about 15.2% of residents lived in poverty, one of the higher poverty rates in the country.
4. Dayton, OH
> Poverty rate: 16.4%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 8.0%
> Adult obesity rate: 29.9%
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 271.7
Dayton is among the metro areas with the lowest well-being. Like many regions in Ohio, the hollowing out of the manufacturing industry in the US has put a great deal of strain on the Dayton area. Dayton, the primary city in the metro, had a population of roughly 140,000 in 2013, down almost 50% from its peak in the 1960s. And the area at large has not fared much better in recent years. From the middle of 2010 through the middle of last year, the metro’s population grew just 0.1%, one of the slowest growth rates. A number of health and lifestyle factors also help explain the low level of reported well-being in Dayton. For one, nearly 40% of households in the metro area were run by a single parent, one of the higher rates of any metro area in the nation.
3. Knoxville, TN
> Poverty rate: 17.5%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 6.9%
> Adult obesity rate: 30.1%
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 364.1
The Knoxville metro stands out for its wide swath of health related issues. In a 2012 survey, roughly 20% of the population reported to be in some form of ill-health. This is likely in part driven by city residents’ low levels of physical activity. Roughly a third of the population reported themselves as physically inactive. Like in several other areas with low well-being, Knoxville metro residents are not especially wealthy. A typical household earned $45,051, lower than the national median household income of $52,250. The area’s poverty rate of 17.5% was also higher than the national rate.
2. Toledo, OH
> Poverty rate: 19.5%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 8.4%
> Adult obesity rate: 31.7%
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 530.3
Home to major GM and Chrysler plants, employment in Toledo’s manufacturing sector contracted by nearly 10% at its worst point, when the auto industry imploded in 2009. While employment has rebounded, it is still far below its pre-recession levels. Perhaps as a result, the area’s unemployment rate jumped to over 13% in early 2010 and its population shrank from 2010 to 2014 as residents looking for work relocated. While the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1% in December of last year, nearly 20% of Toledo’s residents lived in poverty in 2013 and median household income was just $42,792, both far worse than their comparable national figures.
1. Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA
> Poverty rate: 17.4%
> 2013 unemployment rate: 8.5%
> Adult obesity rate: 31.4%
> Violent crimes per 100,000: N/A
The Youngstown metro area had the lowest well-being score, according to Gallup, and is one of five metro areas with the lowest well-being located in Ohio. As of 2013, a typical household earned just less than $42,000, more than $10,000 below the national median. Additionally, only 20.3% of Youngstown residents 25 and over had a bachelor’s degree, far lower than the comparable national figure of 29.6%. And while the unemployment rate was at 5.3% in December of last year, its peak of nearly 14% in early 2010 likely caused residents to move out of the city in search of work. From the middle of 2010 to mid 2014, the population of the Youngstown metro area shrank by 2.1%, one of the largest contractions among all metro areas.
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