Health and Wellness

These are least (and most) stressed cities in America

mladenbalinovac via Getty Images.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to households around the globe. In the United States, where there are more than 3 million cases of the virus, people are moving away from Covid-19 hot spots, grappling with remote working and childcare, while also coping with job loss and financial insecurity. 

So if you're stressed, you're not alone. And a new survey from personal finance site WalletHub ranked the stress levels of 182 cities across the country to find those with most and least stressed residents.

WalletHub chose 150 of the most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state to analyze. The data came from a number of sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and WalletHub. 

WalletHub used 42 different metrics to give the cities a stress "score," with 100 representing the highest amount of stress feasible. These metrics fell under four categories: work stress (for example, average weekly work hours, job security, unemployment rate), financial stress (median annual household income, foreclosure and bankruptcy rates), family stress (divorce rates and availability of childcare workers) and health and safety stress (access to healthcare, depression rates and well-being scores).

The health and safety metrics in the report also included factors related to Covid-19. For example, WalletHub took into consideration the number of people considered high-risk for Covid-19 in each state, as well as the states' death rate, hospitalization rate and the rate of positive Covid-19 cases. 

So which U.S. city is least stressed out overall?

Lincoln, Nebraska is the least stressed city, with a total score of 35.49 and very low "work stress," according to WalletHub. (For context, the city with the lowest rate of work stress overall was Gilbert, Arizona.) Lincoln also had low "family stress" and "health and safety stress."

As for the cities with the most stress, Cleveland, Ohio, took the top spot, with a total score of 66.93. (Last year, Cleveland came in second place for the most stressed city, with Detroit, Michigan taking the first spot.)

According to the survey, Cleveland was ranked as having the highest level of "financial stress" and the second-highest poverty rate. Estimates suggest that 35% of Cleveland residents and 50.3% of children in the city live in poverty. The median household income in Cleveland was $29,008 as of 2018, according to Census data. The city also ranked within the top five highest stress levels related to family, health and safety in the WalletHub survey. 

As for popular U.S. cities for young people, New York City ranked in 26th place for overall stress, but ranked fourth-highest in the "work stress" category and had the least-affordable housing of all the cities. San Francisco came in 117th with low "financial stress" and "health and safety stress."

Here's how other cities stack up:

Lincoln, Nebraska was the city with the least amount of stress, according to WalletHub.
Shannon Ramos / EyeEm

Cities in the U.S. with the least stress: 

  1. Lincoln, Nebraska
  2. Boise, Idaho
  3. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  4. Fargo, North Dakota
  5. Overland Park, Kansas
  6. Bismarck, North Dakota
  7. Madison, Wisconsin
  8. South Burlington, Vermont
  9. Freemont, California
  10. Billings, Montana

(1 = the least amount of stress) 

Cities with the most stress:

  1. Cleveland, Ohio
  2. Detroit, Michigan
  3. Birmingham, Alabama
  4. Gulfport, Mississippi 
  5. Newark, New Jersey
  6. Baltimore, Maryland
  7. New Orleans, Louisiana
  8. St. Louis, Missouri 
  9. Mobile, Alabama
  10. Jackson, Mississippi 

(1 = the highest amount of stress) 

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