The factors that ranked cities poorly were:
- Prevalence Factors – morbidity and mortality statistics
- Risk Factors – air quality, pollen, "100% smoke-free" laws, poverty and more
- Medical Factors – medication usage and access to specialists
Our air quality sucks. It's winter and we are under advisory for particle pollution. Wisconsin, the home of the founder of Earth Day, is mired in political infighting which results in its residents unable to catch their breath. Green solutions are never built and things like progressive public transportation (such as that in my hometown of Portland) never get off the drawing board.
Poverty, of course, is another issue, even prior to this economy. The city has the 7th highest poverty rate in the country, and a HUGE disparity in wealth and poverty between Milwaukee and its surrounding counties.
Finally, we have no restrictions on smoking whatsoever. I completely agree that this should be a statewide ban, and not just city-based (God knows Milwaukee does not need another city-suburbs battle factor). However, this needs to happen sooner rather than later. I cannot tell you how lovely it is to travel to cities that have smoking bans. I have plenty of friends that smoke and they don't mind going outside if they don't reek in the morning. Tonight I was only briefly in Flannery's, it wasn't very crowded and I only noticed a couple of folks smoking. Yet I get home and my freshly laundered jeans stink of stale cigarettes.
Maybe the detergent industry is the secret lobbyist in this state?