For a few months out of the year, Milwaukee is a magical place, filled with festivals, fireworks, and babes and bros on the beach. But the fleeting summer months hide an ugly truth: Milwaukee is a deeply unhappy place. How unhappy? Like, “more unhappy than Detroit” unhappy. Like, “fourth unhappiest metropolitan area with a population greater than 1 million (as of 2010)” unhappy. At least that’s what a new paper released last week by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research claims. And who would possibly argue with the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research?

According to Science Daily, the paper is based on a “large survey that asks respondents about their satisfaction with life.” Richmond-Petersburg and Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, Virginia are named the happiest cities in the U.S. Milwaukee, meanwhile, ranks fourth in unhappiest cities with over 1 million people—happier than Louisville, Kentucky, but less happy than Detroit, Michigan. (New York City takes the dubious number one slot.) Great job, Milwaukee?

Interestingly, the paper also notes that young people are still moving to “unhappy” cities in droves, suggesting kids are cool with a little soul-numbing depression if it means access to bike paths.

About The Author

Matt Wild
Co-Founder and Editor

In his spare time, Matt Wild enjoys collecting 8-bit Nintendo games (emulation is for creeps) and fondly remembering the time Milwaukee weatherman Vince Condella caused a stir at his Catholic grade school by showing up with an earring. He lives on Milwaukee's East Side.