The Kings might be leaving town. Seven elementary schools are about to be closed. Gas prices keep climbing.
And yet, we're apparently a little happier these days in Sacramento.
For the first time since 2009, Sacramento did not appear on Forbes magazine's notorious list of America's Most Miserable Cities. It's a ranking created mostly through analyzing statistics, rather than talking to residents to find out if they're actually miserable, but it's still a list that no city wants to appear on.
Sacramento has ranked fifth the last two years. In 2010, we were 17th.
There appear to be a couple of reasons why we didn't make the ranking this year.
First, Forbes stopped using the success of pro sports franchises as a gauge of a city's misery. The Kings' dreadful on-court performance along with the team's off-court uncertainty had been quoted by the magazine in the past.
Second, the magazine began using net migration as a factor. And unlike many of the cities on this year's list, Sacramento is still growing.
For every indicator that life is still tough here, there seems to be another showing improvements.
Local housing prices are increasing at one of the highest rates in the country, and both local and state budget conditions are improving. Restaurants are full and the central city has several pockets of new development.
"There is some real objective data that says our subjective feelings of happiness have some validity," said City Councilman Steve Hansen. "The cloud is lifting and I guess (the Forbes list) is a validation of that sense."
The most miserable city on the Forbes list was Detroit, thanks to that city's high violent crime rates, declining population and plummeting home values. California was well represented on this list: Modesto was fifth, Vallejo sixth and Stockton eighth.
"AMERICA'S MOST MISERABLE CITIES"
2. Flint, Mich.
3. Rockford, Ill.
7. Warren, Mich.
9. Lake County, Ill.
10. New York
12. St. Louis
13. Camden, N.J.
15. Atlantic City, N.J.
18. Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
19. Gary, Ind.
20. Youngstown, Ohio
Source: Forbes magazine