America’s Most Depressing Places

  our terrible nation

Home sweet home.Detroit, the Inland Empire, East St. Louis, Yuma (?!), some place in Ohio — these and other such grim spots have been named America’s Most Depressing Places, by the Business Insider website, which is apparently about depressing places. Did your hometown make the list? Did you know “West Palm Beach” is also one of the grimmest places in America? It’s probably true! [Business Insider]

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A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

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67 comments

  1. Rush

    I hear Greenwich and Darien CT are shanty towns since the AIG bonuses were taken away.

  2. Noodle Salad

    Wasilla can’t make this list because everyone is too hopped up on meth and/or fertility drugs to be depressed.

  3. Joshua Norton

    Did you know “West Palm Beach” is also one of the grimmest places in America?

    Doesn’t mAnn Coulter supposedly live there? She brings her own blight with her.

  4. TGY

    The inclusion of Alpharetta surprised me. It seems like a nice place, from what I’ve seen of it, and it’s only a ‘burb of Atlanta.

  5. Custerwolf

    The house in that photo looks very similar to the one my boyfriend and I just finished quilting.

  6. WadISay

    Last year when the murder rate dropped in the city [Detroit], the mayor joked that the reason was that “there is no one left to kill.”

    Mayor quits sexting long enough to earn a Wonkette star.

  7. engulfedinflames

    butte, montana, 3am, missing persons posters and packs of feral dogs roaming the slag heaps in other-worldly light.

  8. Joshua Norton

    All the places mentioned in California are in the heart of blood-red wingnuttia. I’m willing to bet that 90% of the other places are, too. Detroit is blue, but wingnut laissez-faire capitalism pretty much wiped it out.

    So, once more, thanks repugs. Keep up the good work.

  9. JMP

    Well, with the war on drugs ending, I’ve got just the cure for our nation’s depression.

  10. proudgrampa

    I’m surprised Salt Lake City isn’t on the list. It has one of the highest rates of anti-depressant drugs in the country. And if you lived here, you’d know why…

  11. arclight

    I’ve lived in Ohio nearly all of my life and I have never, ever heard of Mahoning Valley.

  12. Special Agent Jack Mehoff

    Hey, neat! I live in a town adjacent to beautiful East St. Louis! An interesting aside on that booming metropolis: Sometime in the sixties E.St Louis was named by some magazine as THE most cosmopolitan city in the U.S.

  13. Custerwolf

    [re=316783]proudgrampa[/re]: Since when did they start doing prescription meds in Utah? I thought their cure for depression was to round up a couple of underage virgins.

  14. Mahousu

    Hey, the dog track at West Palm Beach is a bright and cheery place! Well, for a grubby windowless concrete box, at least.

  15. Terry

    “Did you know “West Palm Beach” is also one of the grimmest places in America?”

    The mere fact that everyone eats lunch at 4:30pm and has a coupon is grim in itself.

  16. Mild Midwesterner

    Oh, I can remember back to my childhood when I used to visit my aunt in Kokomo. I would lie in bed at night, look up at the stars, and think to myself, “Hey! Where the hell is the ceiling?”

  17. dijetlo

    I though Michael Steeles house and the RNC headquarters were at least worth an honorable mention

  18. Joshua Norton

    If that house from Wichita was in San Francisco, they could call it a “fixer-upper” and get $650,000 for it.

  19. Cape Clod

    I’m suprised that New Bedford, MA never makes these lists. It’s had three industries go belly up over the last one hundred years, (Whaling, fishing and textiles), has a skyline that looks like one of those ‘After People’ programs and has an ambiance at street level that reminds me of Belfast during The Troubles.

  20. Joshua Norton

    [re=316865]Cape Clod[/re]: I’m from Boston originally. All those old Massachusetts mill towns have a sort of stale creepiness to them. Like they’re waiting for Vaudeville to make a comeback, or something.

  21. Cape Clod

    [re=316879]Joshua Norton[/re]: I know. Taunton, Lowell, Fall River, they all need to be torn down and given a reboot.

  22. Bearbloke

    Don’t forget dusty dreary Fargo, ND, with it’s grey skies and Chinese-made Harley/Mt. Rushmore tourist crap… it’s an especially big letdown after one crosses the REAL Red River (not that sewer in the Sovereign Christian Republic of Texistan) from green leafy pleasant Moorhead, MN (where all the girls wear kneepads – so book your trip today!)…

  23. Blender

    Ha! My hometown is #2! No wonder I still cry myself to sleep sometimes, twenty years after I turned 12 and got the hell out of there.

  24. A Better American Than YOU

    Ah, the benefits of living in a small, Alabama town where we have grits/polenta and cheerleader/Rhodes scholars. But let’s wait a generation for Hyundai and Kia to go belly-up and see how much saengseon gui we can find then.

  25. springfield_meltdown

    Yuma is only not depressing if you are 70 years old and living in an RV. It’s the kind of place where it is unusual if you don’t have a kid by the time you are 20 and everyone has stole a car and went to Mexico at least once.

  26. Jukesgrrl

    Most of the places on this list got there for obvious financial reasons. I don’t know what Yuma’s excuse is, except sheer ugliness. I have to go there about twice a year on business and it’s growing by leaps and bounds. Every time I drive into town there is a hotel, shopping center, casino, or quasi-government building that wasn’t there the last time. Last month I noticed a big, shiny Dillards. All over the country department stores are closing but Yuma has a new one. I’m sure we have the US military to thank for this. Yeah, I guess that IS depressing.

  27. Mark Sanford

    You know what wasn’t on that list? ANYWHERE IN THE GREAT STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, THE HAP, HAP, HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!

  28. Joshua Norton

    [re=316998]Mark Sanford[/re]: Nope. Disneyland took that slogan. Except after going there one HOT Labor Day weekend, I was tempted to sue them for false advertising.

  29. Bruno

    The best way to make a depressing place into an hottt place to go total liberatarianism. Legalized pot, prostitution, gambling, polar bear hunting, etc. This is the only way to capture the tourist dollars. Plus no regulation is bound to create plenty of lucrative Ponzi scheme jobs and extortion rackets.

  30. edgydrifter

    Cosmopolis, WA, missed the list–but only because every BI investigator sent there promptly committed suicide. Rain + Meth + Fog + Unemployment + Mildew + White Supremacists + More Rain = Oh God, I’m Putting My Head In A Plastic Bag.

  31. Joshua Norton

    [re=317009]edgydrifter[/re]: You’d kiss the ground after a Labor Day weekend at Disneyland.

  32. oudemia

    [re=316791]arclight[/re]: Mahoning Valley just means Youngstown and the stuff near it. I have no idea why, then, they didn’t just say Youngstown, or maybe “All that shit just west of the PA border on 80.”

  33. OhWhyOhio

    I’m just really, really happy Cincinnati managed not to make the list. And a little surprised Cleveland didn’t. Cleveland is a dump.

  34. Nigel

    No Camden, NJ? Or is this like the old Playboy Party School legend that it’s been so bad for so long that it’s considered a professional among amateurs?

  35. bitchincamaro

    My ancient mother is visiting me this week. She told me that black people are leaving Detroit. I said, “Mom, who else is going to leave there?” My Mom’s the last white lady living in, not leaving Detroit.

    But if the Red Wings lose to Anaheim tonight, I’m getting her out of there.

  36. Malachite Kingfisher

    [re=316777]engulfedinflames[/re]: What a fine description of Butte! I lived in the African copper belt for a couple of years. Fun thing to do: watch lightning hit the slag heap. Of course, the weather was better than in Butte. Food, too, probably.

  37. IonaTrailer

    Benton fucking Harbor, Michigan!

    It’s been #1 for years – ever since KFC pulled out. You know your town is in serious trouble when even the Colonel leaves because of the crack-heads.

    “Hey, Cracky….”

  38. Lazy Media

    [re=316761]TGY[/re]: The only reason Alpharetta’s on the list is that three teeny banks based there failed (one of which was completely Web-based, and therefore doomed from the start). Like anyone who lives there and doesn’t have one of the 200 total jobs at those three banks would notice.

    Alpharetta’s kind of a pit, but just because it’s boring. A tidy, prosperous pit, full of SUVs and big-box strip malls.

  39. Breakfast Bourbon

    Came here expecting the haunting rural blight of my old stomping grounds in the Magnolia state. I guess not having thriving businesses there for a long time excludes them from a Business Insider list.

  40. Georgia Burning

    Stockton didn’t need to fall too far to make the list. For over 100 years its been the cheap crack (human, animal, chemical) capital of California. Still, what did the “Inland Empire” (not)do to be #2 to Detroit. Doesn’t being the birthplace of the Hells Angels count for anything?

  41. assistant/atlas

    This is a dumb, dumb list. According to them, Flint, MI is less depressing than Wichita, Alpharetta and West Palm Beach. Obviously this writer has never been to any of those places. Because Flint has to be the least happy place on Earth.

    Here is what the actual list should be….

    10/9. Fresno/Bakersfield, CA (tie)
    8. Stockton, CA
    7. Cleveland
    6. Gary, IN
    5. The entire state of West Virginia
    4. Youngstown
    3. East St. Louis
    2. Flint
    1. Detroit

  42. Malachite Kingfisher

    [re=317144]assistant/atlas[/re]: May I amend an entry? I’d say:

    5. The entire state of West Virginia, plus the Maryland Panhandle, western Pennsylvania, and southeastern Ohio. Oh, hell: every county that went for Hillary in the late primaries.

    This gives Youngstown two places on the list , but that seems fair.

  43. the cold war makes me hot

    [re=317033]OhWhyOhio[/re]: That surprised me too. I guess that new streetcar they have been talking about for 15 years is what kept Da Nati off the list.

  44. lawrenceofthedesert

    I guess it depends what depresses you. I get more down in a place like Wilmette, IL than I do in Gary, because the people in Wilmette are so entitled, unsatisfied, greedy, judgmental and just as desperate in their own status-obsessed way as Gary gangbangers. I find Santa Monica as depressing as Riverside or Yucca Valley in the Redneck Ring (Inland Empire, a term also applied to parts of Washington state), but for different reasons. Few places are depressing per se; it’s the people there.

  45. edgydrifter

    [re=317197]lawrenceofthedesert[/re]: Yes, exactly–the people. That’s why Scranton/Wilkes-Barre should be at the tippy top of the list. It’s the kind of place shitty towns yearn to be when they mature into multigenerational shittiness. Horrible, decaying blight populated by loathsome blighters.

  46. problemwithcaring

    [re=316994]Jukesgrrl[/re]: Yea, I think you are right about the “economic reasons” — for every place but the Inland Empire. Notice – the other places were all cities or towns. The “Inland Empire” consists of two of the largest counties in California, both in geographical size and population. They are made up of hundreds of cities and townships, including decent ones like Palm Springs and Ontario.

    But as Los Angeles’ “Jersey,” and ground zero of the 90′s Meth boom, the inflated housing bubble of the 90′s and today, the erosion of credit lending standards (IndyMac/Country), and the promotion and proliferation of sprawl, gas-guzzling commuters and NASCAR-watchers, I think the Inland Empire earns its special reputation as a true American Cesspool, irregardless of the swings in the economy.

  47. dsmkrt

    West Palm Beach is depressing because it’s where Rush Limbaugh lives and is populated with elderly people just waiting to die, watching recorded shows of “I Love Lucy” on VHS.

  48. MarSF

    Saw this lovely piece today:

    http://www.detnews.com/article/20090514/METRO08/905140408/Charlie-LeDuff–Off-Woodward–life-hits-a-dead-end

    I grew up in the “fancy” suburbs of Detroit (Bloomfield Hills). We would drive around downtown and wonder what it used to be like back in the day, and by that I mean the 1920′s- 1960. All I can say about this list is that at least some notable, cool people are from Detroit. Can’t say that about Stockton or frakking Yuma!

    Moving out of Michigan was the best thing we ever did.

  49. Downtheroadapiece

    [re=317144]assistant/atlas[/re]: Not to totally disagree, but the Inland Empire earned it’s spot on that list fair and square. It belongs in at least the top five. Meth capital of Southern California. Smog too just for added texture.

  50. thunderbunny

    Top two things I wish news sites would quit doing:

    1. Arbitrary lists (usually of American cities) that don’t say a word about their methodology, or whose methodology is laughably arbitrary

    2. “Slideshows” consisting of one large picture and very little information, and requiring one click each through what should be one row of information in a neatly ordered list

  51. karen

    Ah the Mahoning Valley. I definitely think they meant Y-town and everything around it. Niles, Warren, Girard, Levittsburg, Mineral Ridge, and if i recall correctly there’s a GM plant in Lordstown…so they may be going down the tubes pretty fuckin’ quick.

    I think it’s funny that the local minor league team is called “The Mahoning Valley Scrappers”, as if it’s something to be proud of…

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