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A recent ranking by Forbes.com marked Miami as the country’s most miserable city for 2012. Of the 200 metro areas surveyed, two other South Florida cities made the top ten.

Forbes based the city rankings on a variety of factors, including foreclosures, unemployment rates, taxes, crime, home prices, political corruption, commute times and even the performance of local pro sports teams. So why did Miami perform so dismally in its evaluation?

According to Forbes editors, it has to do with the vast disparity between the city’s “rich and famous” and the other 99 percent of Miamians. More than 75 percent of Miami households have an annual income under $75,000, which can make life hard in the beautiful, albeit expensive, oceanfront city.

Foreclosures remain at a high level, and the median home price in Miami has dropped to $169,000, the sixth lowest in the country. Some 47 percent of Miami homeowners are underwater on their mortgages.

But are things really so bad? Not according to city officials. The mayor’s office pointed to figures indicating declining crime rates, property taxes, unemployment and traffic congestion over the last eight months. As for homeowners, while times may be tough, a Miami foreclosure lawyer can provide some measure of relief. A spokesman for the mayor’s office opined that Miami’s dubious honor as Forbes’ most miserable metro area stemmed more from the sensational nature of Miami’s image than real feelings of discontent among residents.

Whether you feel the Forbes ranking is spot on or a gross misrepresentation, the publication has certainly put Miami in the spotlight. Whether true or not, the ranking could inspire renewed efforts to improve the financial lot of local residents.

Source: The Miami Herald, “Forbes magazine: Miami is ‘most miserable’ city in the U.S.,” Monique O. Madan, Feb. 3, 2012