Published On: Tue, Jul 19th, 2016

2016’s Most & Least Stressed Cities in America

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Stress is inevitable. Every life situation — whether at work, school or on the subway — involves some type and level of stress. And it’s not always a bad thing. In fact, certain kinds of stress can have positive effects on our well-being — but only in the right doses, according to experts. As the trade journal Psychology Today explains, “A little bit of stress, known as ‘acute stress, ’ can be exciting—it keeps us active and alert.”

When stress reaches an unmanageable level, however — that is, when it turns “chronic” — we become vulnerable to the damaging consequences of stress, such as health problems and loss of productivity. In the U.S., stress affects more than 100 million Americans, or nearly a third of the population, for whom the leading source of stress continues to be money, followed by work, family and relationships. By one estimate, workplace-related stress alone costs our society more than $300 billion per year.

But there’s good news: Stress is generally trending downward in the U.S., with average levels decreasing since 2007, according to the American Psychological Association. To identify the cities where Americans cope with their stress better than others, WalletHub’s analysts compared 150 cities across 27 key metrics. Data set ranges from average work hours to debt load to divorce and suicide rates. Continue reading below for findings, expert commentary and a full description of methodology.

The personal-finance website WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis to determine 2016’s Most & Least Stressed Cities in America.

In order to identify where Americans cope with stress better than others, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 150 largest cities across 27 key metrics. Our data set ranges from average work hours to debt load to divorce and suicide rates.

Most Stressed Cities Least Stressed Cities
1 Detroit, MI 141 San Diego, CA
2 Mobile, AL 142 Sioux Falls, SD
3 Birmingham, AL 143 Overland Park, KS
4 Memphis, TN 144 Plano, TX
5 Cleveland, OH 145 San Francisco, CA
6 Shreveport, LA 146 San Jose, CA
7 Columbus, GA 147 Madison, WI
8 New Orleans, LA 148 Honolulu, HI
9 Newark, NJ 149 Irvine, CA
10 Montgomery, AL 150 Fremont, CA

Best vs. Worst

  • Greensboro, N.C., has the lowest commuter stress index, 1.11, which is nearly 1.5 times lower than in Los Angeles, the city with the highest, 1.62.
  • Lincoln, Neb., has the lowest unemployment rate, 2.5 percent, which is about five times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest, 12.4 percent.
  • Overland Park, Kan., has the lowest poverty rate, 6.0 percent, which is nearly seven times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest, 39.8 percent.
  • Fremont, Calif., has the lowest divorce rate, 12.24 percent, which is about three times lower than in Cleveland, the city with the highest, 41.29 percent.
  • Seattle has the lowest percentage of single parents, 9.54 percent, which is about four times lower than in Newark, N.J., the city with the highest, 37.79 percent.
  • Minneapolis has the lowest percentage of adults in fair or poor health, 10.77 percent, which is about two times lower than in Mobile, Ala., the city with the highest, 25.71 percent.
  • Irvine, Calif., has the lowest number of violent crimes per 1, 000 residents, 0.49, which is more than 40 times lower than in Detroit, the city with the highest, 19.89.
  • Fresno, Calif., has the most psychologists per 100, 000 residents,  80.1, which is about 22 times more than in Baton Rouge, La., the city with the fewest, 3.7.

 

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