It's an annual list, but perhaps its getting a little more attention this year because one state is monopolizing it. When Forbes released it's list of the 20 Most Miserable American Cities, eight California cities were among the elite.

With high taxes, increasing crime, falling property values and a nearly bankrupt state government, the Forbes editors found a target rich environment when they surveyed the Golden State.

Topping the list of most miserable cities for the second time in three years is Stockton, Calif., located in the Central Valley. Median home prices went from $142,000 to $431,000, back to $142,000. Nearly seven percent of Stockton homes had some kind of brush with foreclosure last year.

Besides Stockton at number one, other California cities making the Forbes list include Merced at number three, Modesto at number four, Sacramento at five, Vallejo at nine, Fresno at 17, Salinas at 18 and Bakersfield at 20.

Florida well-represented

Miami, Fla., was number two on the list of miserable cities, with another three Florida cities making the cut. Together, California and Florida accounted for 12 of the 2o cities, or 60 percent.

How did Forbes arrive at its rankings?

"We consider a total of 10 factors, things that people gripe about around the water cooler every day. Most are serious issues, including unemployment, crime and taxes," said Kurt Badenhausen, who wrote an article for Forbes accompanying the list."A few we factor in are not as critical, but still elevate people's blood pressure, like the weather, commute times and how the local sports team is doing."

The Forbes list of Most Miserable American Cities is:

  1. Stockton, Calif.
  2. Miami, Fla.
  3. Merced, Calif.
  4. Modesto, Calif.
  5. Sacramento, Calif.
  6. Memphis, Tenn.
  7. Chicago, Ill.
  8. West Palm Beach, Fla.
  9. Valleja, Calif.
  10. Cleveland, Ohio
  11. Flint, Mich.
  12. Toledo, Ohio
  13. Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
  14. Youngstown, Ohio
  15. Detroit, Mich.
  16. Washington, DC
  17. Fresno, Calif.
  18. Salinas, Calif.
  19. Jacksonville, Fla.
  20. Bakersfield, Calif.

Chicago and Washington were the two largest cities to make the list, hurt in large part by traffic problems, taxes and weather. While Chicago is still struggling with home values, Washington has shown some improvement in recent months.