Last week, CredAbility, a nonprofit credit counseling service, released the Consumer Distress Index, which cataloged the rates of economic recovery across America. Based on 65 surveys conducted by the federal government, private credit companies, and other groups, CredAbility's index analyzes employment, housing, credit, household budget and net worth statistics to determine which areas of the country are surging ahead and which are lagging behind.
Mark Cole, executive vice president and chief operations officer for CredAbility, notes that, while the country is recovering, "people at different levels are experiencing the recovery at very different speeds." This has been especially hard on the middle class: "The average family is still lagging behind," Cole says. "For them, it's been a slow, grinding recovery."
On the citywide level, the economic situation varies widely. Currently, CredAbility ranks the distress levels of America's 25 largest cities, and the company plans to extend its survey to the top 75 later this year. While their list has a few limitations -- for example, some states, like Nevada, don't have any cities in the top 25, while others have several -- it gives a glimpse of the best and worst metropolitan areas to live right now. For a look at the winners and losers, click on the gallery below.
Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.