Although stress-levels in the United States hit their lowest point in a decade last year, they spiked up again at the start of 2017, according to the American Psychological Association. Why? Americans have consistently cited money, work and the economy as sources of stress over the years, but this orbit around the sun has many feeling particularly anxious about violence and the current political climate. To determine the most stressful spots in the U.S., WalletHub experts compared 150 cities across 30 metrics, which range from weekly work hours to divorce and suicide rates. Read on to find out if you live in one of these 10 stress centers. (And if you find yourself feeling slightly stressed reading this, take a walk, meditate, read a book or sit down and watch your favorite comedy.)
10. Shreveport, Louisiana
Out of the 150 cities analyzed, Shreveport has the lowest job security rates — a situation that exerts added pressure and stress on its citizens — and is also ninth in having the highest work-related stress levels. Although the city has a successful health care industry, it ranks 14th in having the most health-related stress issues when accounting for residents’ overall well-being, mental health, average sleeping hours and more.
9. Augusta, Georgia
Although Augusta residents are fairly stressed in their work environment (the city ranks 64th out of 150 for work-related stress), financial and family stress levels appear to affect the city the most. Augusta ranks highest in its financial-related stress, which factors income, poverty and bankruptcy rates into account.
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8. Rochester, New York
Although Rochester is New York’s third largest metropolitan area, the cost of living there is significantly lower than the national average, including low health care costs as well. Its residents might not be the most stressed financially, but the city ranks fourth in having the highest divorce rate. Rochester stands in third place for the most family-related stress, which analyzes marriage duration, number of single parents and divorce rates.
7. San Bernardino, California
Although San Bernardino does not stand out in any stress-related category, it consistently ranks among the 25 worst cities in terms of work, family, health and finance stress factors. San Bernardino has the fourth highest percentage of adults in fair to poor health and is ranked fifth in having the highest poverty rate. Financially, the city has the fifth lowest median credit store among residents.
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6. Birmingham, Alabama
This Southern city is one of the largest banking centers in the U.S. and an important business hub for this region of the country. Ironically, WalletHub’s analysis reveals that its residents are the most stressed financially. Birmingham’s high financial stress levels are due to factors of income, bankruptcy, poverty and housing affordability. Jefferson County, the region Birmingham is part of, has the 13th highest bankruptcy rate in the nation. The city also has the third highest divorce rate and the second highest crime rate.
5. Miami, Florida
Miami sounds like the perfect vacation destination, with miles of beach, palm trees and multicultural influences. But the city ranks third and fourth in having the highest financial and family stress levels, respectively. One study on city living suggests that a resident would need an income of $75,000 to live comfortably in Miami. Unfortunately, Miami’s median income falls far below the mark, at approximately $31,051 a year.
4. Jackson, Mississippi
Family-related issues are the leading cause of stress in Jackson. A Bowling Green State University study revealed that Mississippi has the third highest divorce rate in the nation, and a recent article also suggests that divorce is a costly and difficult process in the state. But that’s not the only thing stressing out the residents of Jackson. The city also has the second highest percentage of adults in fair to poor health, and the third lowest median credit score.
3. Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland’s stress levels are alarmingly high: It ranks in the top 10 of the cities with the highest financial, family and health-related stress levels. Cleveland has the second highest poverty rate as well as the highest divorce rate in the 150 cities surveyed. To top those stress variables, the state of Ohio’s job growth and unemployment rate are below the national average.
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2. Detroit, Michigan
Named America’s Greatest Comeback City, Detroit still has a long way to go in terms of its health and safety-related and financial-related stress concerns. The city tops the chart with the highest poverty rate (39 percent) and the lowest median credit score — financial factors that are key stress indicators. The unemployment rate in Detroit is also 8.4 percent, about 4 percent higher than the national average.
1. Newark, New Jersey
Newark takes the title as the most stressed city in America because of its consistent high stress rankings across all four stress indicators of work, financial, family and health. Work-related stress is the leading concern for Newark residents, which is reflected in their employment conditions. A report by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice showed that Newark residents hold less than a fifth of all jobs in the city. The city’s unemployment rate is also 6.3 percent, which is 2 percent higher than the national average. Newark also has the fourth lowest average hours of sleep per night, another indicator of stress.
What Do YOU Think?
Was your city on the list? Were you surprised by these findings? Does this help you rethink stress in your life? Let us know in the comments!