The country may be filled with hardworking employees, but a new poll shows no one is working harder than the residents of Columbia, Mo.

The state's fifth-largest city and the home of the University of Missouri took the top spot in a newly released list by Total Cereal and Parade Magazine naming the "Top 25 Hardest-Working Towns in America."

The list, which analyzed the number of hours worked, unemployment rates, commute times, dual-income families and the likelihood of people to give up personal time for work, was compiled using data from MRI, Claritas, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau.

Other cities ranking in the top 10 include:

  • Hartford, Conn.
  • Norfolk, Va.
  • Bloomington, Ind.
  • Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • Gainesville, Fla.
  • Las Cruces, N.M.
  • Newark, N.J.
  • Lansing, Mich.
  • Bridgeport, Conn

Maggie Murphy, editor in chief of PARADE magazine, said the rankings shine a spotlight on the towns where people are really putting their noses to the grindstone.

"While the economic crisis has darkened people’s spirits, Americans want to work, live to work, and are working harder to make ends meet," Murphy said.

The list paints a vivid picture of what exactly makes a hardworking town: one where the citizens punch the clock longer, and work harder, than anyone else.

Among the top five, employees in Tuscaloosa, Norfolk and Hartford all clocked more weekly work hours than the national average of 34.2, while employees in Bloomington were most likely to work weekends.

Other towns rounding out the top 25 include Baton Rouge, La.; Salt Lake City; Los Angeles; Waco, Texas; Athens, Ga.; Boulder, Colo.; Des Moines, Iowa; Long Beach, Calif.; Evansville, Ind.; Milwaukee; Akron, Ohio; Albany, N.Y.; Montgomery, Ala.; Baltimore; and Dallas.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

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