Rockford was ranked third largely because of its 11.2% unemployment rate and high crime rate.
Forbes looked at nine factors for the 200 largest metro areas in the U.S. including violent crime, unemployment, foreclosures, taxes (income and property) and home prices. They also examined quality-of-life issues like commute times and weather.
Forbes cites a three decade decline in the manufacturing base which hurt Rockford's economy and kept unemployment high. Job fairs are busy servicing the city's 11.2% unemployed, which is one of the highest rates in the U.S. Rockford residents also deal with high property tax rates.