The Ventriloquist

An online publication at and outside the boundary of evangelical Christianity.



February 2012

Springfield, OH Voted 'Unhappiest City in America'

by Kimberly Prijatel, on February 2012, Local

A recent Gallup poll revealed Springfield, OH is the saddest city in America. According to Gallup officials, analysts gathered information over a three year period by calling 1,000 people a day to ask about their emotional/physical health, work environment, basic access to food, shelter and health care. When the polling group gathered 1 million surveys in October 2010, they examined the nation-wide trends in the 357 geographic statistical areas. In an interview with the Springfield News-Sun, Michael McDorman, president and CEO of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce questioned the label. “That’s not the community I see,” McDorman said. “That’s not the community the region sees.” Bible professor Dr. Joy Fagan states that she is a happy resident of Springfield, despite its challenges and difficulties. Many of Springfield’s challenges--foreclosures, poverty, and boarded up homes--are problems found in many other cities. Those who have lived in Springfield since the mid-20th century have witnessed a discouraging decline from rich industry days to abandoned buildings, poverty and job loss. What we need, Fagan states, is a galvanizing impetus. One that would encourage people to see the city “holistically.” For Fagan, that means recognizing the city’s challenges from substance abuse to prostitution, alongside the city’s strengths as a place filled with people, non-profits, churches, local commerce and culture. While such polls and listings can tend toward fluidity, it is still significant that a city chosen in 2004 as an “All-American city” by Time with a population of 60 thousand a mere 13 miles from our town of Cedarville has made national headlines for depression. Ultimately, if the Gallup poll is correct, Fagan states, let’s do something about it: “Let’s pick up trash, support and volunteer at local ministries, advocate for city needs in our local churches, support local business, look people in the eyes and greet them with a smile, treating each other with dignity even when we don’t always deserve it, and shop at the Kroger’s on south Limestone more often.”