Anger is not in itself an inherently detrimental emotion. It’s just that we often associate the responses triggered by anger as harmful - like violence, aggression, and the consequent bad behaviors we use to project how we’re feeling when angry. Anger is further associated, at times, with negative habits like bad language, rude gestures, even smoking or overeating. But whatever it's rep, it's one of the most common and basic human emotions and so, when faced with an unfair situation, anger is the almost always the most immediate and natural response.
Yet, that’s not to say we should all resort to throwing a tantrum when traffic is congested, when we’re denied a pay rise, or when we feel generally cheated and unappreciated, since anger has very real physical consequences. Constant fits of anger are known to increase the risk of heart disease, not to mention the potential for destroying relationships and causing psychological harm to oneself and others, or worse, inflicting violence on someone.
In many societies, expressing anger is viewed as more appropriate for men than women. Since we typically teach our boys to be more aggressive and our girls to be more reserved and passive, it’s perhaps unsurprising that men are more likely to express anger through violence, whereas women more commonly transform their anger into resentment. The fact remains, everyone experiences anger the same way, but we each differ in how we express it.
Which places in the world are people likely to get angry more often? We all have an impression of which places on earth are notorious for having the angriest citizens and we tend to rely on stereotypes to make conclusions about the nationalities with the shortest fuses. Stereotypes do, at times, carry a grain of truth; a bustling metropolis is often thought of as angrier than a quiet rural area, but this has much to do with the fact that more people of every creed can be found in a large city. Maybe that’s why the typical image of an angry place that comes to mind is that of grumbling people rushing past each other on busy streets and taxi drivers roaring expletives á la New York City.
Yet, based on the statistics collated by Men’s Health Magazine, New York takes 43rd place in the top 100 angriest cities in America. The findings are based on several criteria: the number of aggravated assaults per capita, the number of city-dwellers with high blood pressure, the length of time spent waiting in traffic, and the number of anger-management specialists per capita. Based on the findings, we're looking a little more in-depth at the top 10 angriest cities, drawing a focus on perhaps the most pronounced effect of getting angry: getting violent.
10 Miami, Florida
Miami, Florida makes it to the top 10 angriest cities in America. It’s a popular vacation destination, with 89.3 million visitors in 2012 alone, but it seems the relaxing seafront does little to assuage the frustrations and stresses of the city's population. Miami has a population of 414,327 and in 2012 there were 2,626 reported cases of aggravated assault. Miami has a high crime rate of 65 reported crimes per every 1,000 residents. With an influx of out-of-town visitors and densely populated regions in the city (not to mention the highly active nightlife), it makes sense that such an environment might be a breeding ground for angry situations.
9 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Apparently, Philadelphia isn’t exactly the “City of Brotherly Love” as it’s popularly called, since it takes 9th place in the top 10 angriest cities in America according to the Men's Health rankings. Philadelphia has a total population of 1,538,957 and is the fifth most populated city in the U.S. In 2012, the FBI reports that there were 8,658 cases of aggravated assault in the Philadelphia.
8 Houston, Texas
Houston has a population of 2,177,273 and is one of America’s largest metropolises. It’s the fourth most populated city in the US, following Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, respectively. In 2012, Houston had a total of 11,343 reported cases of aggravated assault.
7 Dallas, Texas
Another Texan city takes a spot in the top 10 angriest cities. The city of Dallas has a population of 1,241,549 and in 2012 it had a total of 3,647 reported cases of aggravated assault. There’s a relatively high crime rate of 51 reported crimes per 1,000 residents in the city as well.
6 Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston is the capital of West Virginia’s and also the state's largest city. It's also one of America’s angriest cities. Charleston has a population of 51,018 and there were 3,460 reported cases of aggravated assault in 2012.
5 Newark, New Jersey
Newark, New Jersey’s largest city has a population of 278,906. Newark is one of America’s principle shipping, air, and rail locations. In 2012 the FBI reports that there were 1,093 cases of aggravated assault in the city.
4 Las Vegas, Nevada
The popular city of Las Vegas is a destination hot spot and favorite escape for people of all walks of life. As a city of gambling and partying—what’s not to love? In 2013, 39,668,221 people visited the desert town to enjoy the debauchery of the Las Vegas nightlife. But what isn’t as widely known is that Las Vegas is also a place where residents are among the angriest of all Americans. With a population of 1,479,393, Las Vegas residents reported 7,102 cases of aggravated assault in 2012.
3 St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida attracts tourists with its beautiful beaches and cultural centers but few know that it’s considered the 3rd angriest city in America. The Burg, as locals know it, has a population of 248, 340 and in 2012 there were 1,545 reported cases of aggravated assault.
2 Baltimore, Maryland
The city of Baltimore has a population of 625, 474 and in 2012 there were 4,651 cases of aggravated assault. Baltimore has a crime rate of 61 per 1,000 residents and also has a high rate of homicides per year. While it may seem farfetched to make the correlation between anger and murder, it bears considering that the rate of ‘crimes of passion’, or non-criminal homicide, is very high in the U.S.
1 Detroit, Michigan
Coming in at number one, Detroit is infamous for its high crime rate and impoverished communities. Such living conditions make it no surprise that Detroit is the angriest of the 100 cities featured in the study. Detroit has a population of 707, 096 and the FBI reports that in 2012, there were 9,341 cases of aggravated assault. Detroit also has a crime rate of 79 per 1,000 residents, the highest of all cities in the U.S.