Times are tough right now and everyone is feeling the pinch. The housing market is still weak and families that can't afford a home are stuck living in one bedroom apartments if they're even that fortunate. Unemployment remains high and the amount of people who have never owned a home keeps rising. Dabbling in the stock market is not for the weak of heart and most people are using their meager earnings just to put food on the table. You don't need the U.S. *Misery Index to tell you that things are bad in the U.S. with some very real indicators that we are heading toward a double-dip recession. But you can thank your lucky stars because things could be worse if you live in one of these 10 cities, which face the highest unemployment in the country, corrupt money grabbing city officials and sky-high foreclosure rates. Although this is an unofficial list of the 10 worst cities to live in, you will see why these cities were picked as you read on.
1. El Centro, California-Population: 41,241
3. Detroit, Michigan-Population: 871,121
4. Las Vegas, Nevada-Population: 552,539
5. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-Population: 560,332
6. Los Angeles, California-Population: 3,849,378
7. Phoenix, Arizona-Population: 1,512,986
If Arizona's tough immigration laws gets through the courts, Phoenix is going to be a much more difficult place for immigrants (or really anyone of Latino origin) to live in. The law would allow police officers to ask people for proof of their legal status when stopping them for another violation. Charges of racial profiling and discrimination can quickly turn a city into one of the worst places to live and it's already sparking huge protests and impacting Arizona's already-fragile economy. Beyond the controversial immigration measure, Arizona's housing market still remains a mess. According to RealtyTrac's latest foreclosure report, Phoenix and its surrounding area remains among the top 10 worst metro markets when it comes to foreclosures. However, in May, foreclosure activity in the city was down 9% from May 2009, offering a tiny sliver of hope. Phoenix also ranks poorly among metro areas in per capita income growth. Between 2007 and 2008, the city's income growth shrank 1.4%, the nation's worst one-year loss. And let's not forget about being able to breathe in Phoenix. For year-round particle pollution from freeways, power plants and other sources, Phoenix is the worst city in the country.
8. Newark, New Jersey-Population: 281,402
9. Miami, Florida-Population: 362,470
10. Memphis, Tennessee-Population: 670,100
* The misery index was initiated by economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960's. It is simply the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. It is assumed that both a higher rate of unemployment and a worsening of inflation both create economic and social costs for a country. A combination of rising inflation and more people out of work implies a deterioration in economic performance and a rise in the misery index.