New Year’s resolution? Detroiters set up for failure, research suggests

Detroit ranks 5th worst in cities where people are best at keeping New Year’s resolution

Working out and a healthy diet (Wand_Prapan, iStock)

New research into New Year’s resolutions suggests where you live may be setting you up for failure.

More than 7 in 10 people admit they have failed to uphold their New Year’s resolutions in the past, according to a recent WalletHub survey. New research from WalletHub suggests outcomes could have been better if a person’s environment were, well, better.

It makes sense, sure, and it’s bad news for anyone working on a New Year’s resolution in the city of Detroit. The research scored Detroit 5th worst out of 182 cities in terms of keeping New Year’s resolutions -- Scottsdale, Ariz. is ranked No. 1:

Source: WalletHub

Methodology

In order to determine the best cities for keeping your New Year’s resolutions, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across five key dimensions: 1) Health Resolutions, 2) Financial Resolutions, 3) School & Work Resolutions, 4) Bad-Habit Resolutions and 5) Relationship Resolutions.

We evaluated those dimensions using 57 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for achieving one’s New Year’s goals. Data for metrics marked with an asterisk (*) were available only at the state level. For metrics marked with two asterisks (**), we used the square root of the population to calculate the population size in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across cities.

Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample. In determining our sample, we considered only the city proper in each case, excluding cities in the surrounding metro area.

Health Resolutions – Total Points: 20

  • Share of Obese Adults: Double Weight (~4.00 Points)
  • Share of Adults Not Exercising: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Access to Exercise Opportunities: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Access to Healthy-Food Stores: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Inadequate Fruit & Vegetable Consumption: Full* Weight (~2.00 Points)Note: This metric measures the share of adults who eat fewer than one serving of fruit or vegetables per day.
  • Share of Residents Who Say They Eat Healthy: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)Note: This metric is based on Gallup and Sharecare’s 2016 Community Rankings for Healthy Eating report which examines healthy eating across the nation.
  • Fitness Centers per Capita: Full** Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Weight-Loss Centers per Capita: Full** Weight (~2.00 Points)
  • Average Monthly Fitness-Club Fee: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)

Financial Resolutions – Total Points: 20

  • Median Annual Income: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
  • Income Growth (2015–2019): Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Median Credit Score: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Median Credit-Card Debt: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)Note: “Debt” was calculated per person as share of median earnings.
  • Share of Delinquent Debtors: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Mortgage Debt: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)Note: “Debt” was calculated per person as share of median earnings.
  • Non-Mortgage Debt: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)Note: “Debt” was calculated per person as share of median earnings.
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Share of Households with Emergency Savings: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)Note: This metric measures the share of households that saved for unexpected expenses or emergencies in the past 12 months.
  • Homeownership Rate: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Rental Affordability: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Annual Price for Two-Bedroom Apartment Rental / Median Annual Household Income.
  • Housing Affordability: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Median House Price / Median Annual Household Income.
  • Poverty Rate: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)
  • Financial-Products Comparison: Full Weight (~1.43 Points)Note: This metric measures the real intent of the population to compare “credit cards”, “mortgage rates”, “car insurance” and “car loans”. “Real intent” is measured using the average monthly search volumes for those specific terms.

School & Work Resolutions – Total Points: 20

  • Share of Public Schools Rated by GreatSchools.org with Above Average Score: Double Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Average Quality of Universities: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)Note: This metric measures the average WalletHub College & University Score.
  • High School Dropout Rate: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
  • Job Opportunities: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Number of Job Openings per Number of Population in Labor Force – Unemployment Rate.
  • Median Annual Income: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
  • Income Growth (2015–2019): Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
  • Unemployment Rate: Double Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Underemployment Rate: Double Weight (~2.50 Points)
  • Job Security: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)Note: This metric was calculated as follows: (Number of Employees in 2021 September – Number of Employees in 2020 September) / Number of Employees in 2020 September.
  • Job Satisfaction: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)
  • Sharecare’s Community Well-Being “Purpose” Index Score: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)Note: The “Purpose” Rank is defined as “Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.”
  • Employment Outlook: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)Note: This metric is based on the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.
  • Business Startup-Friendliness: Full Weight (~1.25 Points)Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best Large Cities to Start a Business” ranking.

Bad-Habit Resolutions – Total Points: 20

  • Binge Drinking: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)Note: This metric measures the age-adjusted prevalence of binge drinking among adults aged 18 and older.
  • Share of Adult Smokers: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Marijuana Users: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)Note: This metric measures the percentage of the population aged 12 and older who used marijuana in the past month.
  • Access to Opioids: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)Note: This metric measures the number of opioid pain-reliever prescriptions per 100 residents.
  • Drug Overdose-Related Deaths: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Adults with Gambling Disorders: Full* Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Adults with Inadequate Sleep: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)Note: This metric measures the share of adults sleeping fewer than seven hours per night.
  • Share of Adults in Fair or Poor Health: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)
  • Share of Adults Who Visited a Doctor and/or Dentist in the Past Year: Full Weight (~2.22 Points)

Relationships Resolutions – Total Points: 20

  • Nightlife Establishments per Capita: Full** Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Restaurants per Capita: Full** Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Attractions: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)Note: “Attractions” include, for instance, zoos, museums and theaters.
  • Park Playgrounds per Capita: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Parkland Acres per Capita: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)
  • Average Wedding Cost: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)Note: “Cost” was calculated as share of median earnings.
  • Family-Friendliness: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best & Worst Places to Raise a Family” ranking.
  • Fun Opportunities: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Most Fun Cities in America” ranking.
  • Singles-Friendliness: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best & Worst Cities for Singles” ranking.
  • Sports Fan-Friendliness: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best Sports Cities” ranking.
  • Sharecare’s Community Well-Being “Social” Index Score: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)Note: The “Social” Rank is defined as “Having supportive relationships and love in your life.”
  • Share of Residents Who Regularly Talk or Spend Time with Friends and Family: Full Weight (~1.67 Points)

Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Center for Education Statistics, U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, Council for Community and Economic Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Wedding Report, County Health Rankings, Yelp, Numbeo, TransUnion, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, GreatSchools, Corporation for National and Community Service, National Council on Problem Gambling, Indeed, Chmura Economics & Analytics, ManpowerGroup, Google Ads, Sharecare, TripAdvisor, The Trust for Public Land, Gallup – Sharecare and WalletHub research.


About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.