Anger quotient on the rise in Manchester?
Maybe it was the deluge of snow this winter, or rising gas prices, but Queen City residents may have finally reached their breaking point. At least that’s what Men’s Health magazine says, in ranking the angriest cities in America.In a ranking of 100 cities, with 100th being the angriest, Manchester came in 59th, not quite as hotheaded as its baked-bean-loving neighbor to the south, which ranked 81st.But not all of its neighbors are so hot under the collar. The ranking finds Manchvegas residents more inclined to lean on their car horns than the mellow dwellers of Portland, Maine, who came in 14th, and Burlington, Vt., which was deemed least angry. Detroit took home the dubious honor of angriest.This 59th-place slot very well may anger residents of the Queen City, which was deemed the least angry city in America in a similar ranking conducted by the magazine in 2006.Is Manchester getting saucier, or are the magazine’s figures suspect? In its pseudo-scientific approach to rage, the magazine calculated anger through statistics.First was the number of aggravated assaults per capita. According to FBI statistics, Manchester had 2.7 aggravated assaults per 1,000 residents in 2009 (in Boston, it’s almost double, at 5.8).Then it factored in the amount of time spent in traffic during rush hour, certain to hit close to home to Boston-bound commuters caught in the daily jam on 1-93.The magazine used figures from a 2010 urban mobility report by the Texas Transportation Institute, which didn’t have Manchester-specific data. A Men’s Health editor told the Burlington Free Press that the institute calculated and used an average delay for smaller cities not included in the report.It also factored in the number of people in the city with high blood pressure, using data from a phone survey done in 2009 by the Centers for Disease Control. The survey results found that 28.2 percent of adults in Manchester and Nashua have been told they have high blood pressure. Compare that to 28.4 percent in Newark, N.J., which was ranked 96th.Finally, they considered the number of anger-management specialists per capita, with figures from the American Psychological Association. A search of the APA website for anger-management specialists turns up no results in Manchester (not to say there aren’t any).Whether the results are indicative of an anger wave rolling through southern New Hampshire is inconclusive, but if the figures are right, stores selling stress relievers and massage chairs may just see sales spike. — KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW