July 23, 2018

The most (and least) stressed cities in the US, according to WalletHub

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    Stress is highest in Detroit and lowest in Fremont, California, according to a report on stress in 150 U.S. cities released Tuesday by WalletHub.

    New infographic: Learn how to be a less-stressed leader

    Previous research has found a correlation between WalletHub's scores of overall stress levels and Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings on CMS' Hospital Compare website. According to that research, hospitals with lower star ratings typically were located in cities with high stress levels.


    For the list, researchers assessed more than 180 U.S. cities, including the 150 most populated cities in the country. Researchers looked only at the city proper; they did not factor in the surrounding metro area.

    To calculate the rankings, the researchers examined 37 relevant metrics across four key categories:

    • Work factors, such as average hours in the work week, job security, traffic congestion, and income growth;
    • Financial factors, such as the median annual household income, median credit score, poverty rate, and affordability of housing;
    • Family factors, such as the divorce rate, share of single parents, and strength of social ties; and
    • Health and safety factors, such as the percentage of adults in fair or poor health, metrics of mental health, the uninsured rate, and the crime rate per capita.

    Researchers gave each city an overall score on a 100-point scale, with higher scores representing higher amounts of stress. They also ranked the cities on each of the four individual stress factors as well as on some of the components that affected each of those factors, such as the proportion of adults in fair or poor health.

    City rankings, overall

    According to the report, the five most-stressed cities overall are:

    1. Detroit, which scored 63.53;
    2. Newark, New Jersey, which scored 62.80;
    3. Cleveland, which scored 60.81;
    4. Birmingham, Alabama, which scored 58.03; and
    5. Toledo, Ohio, which scored 57.42.

    By contrast, the five least-stressed cities overall are:

    1. Fremont, California, which scored 25.93;
    2. Bismarck, North Dakota, which scored 26.60;
    3. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which scored 28.16;
    4. Overland Park, Kansas, which scored 29.66; and
    5. South Burlington, Vermont, which scored 30.15.

    According to WalletHub, money challenges were the leading cause of stress, followed by work issues.

    Source: WalletHub

    Health-specific rankings

    WalletHub also identified the cities with the highest rates of health and safety-related stress, finding that such stress is highest in:

    • Detroit;
    • Charleston, West Virginia;
    • Gulfport, Mississippi;
    • Birmingham; and
    • Toledo.

    Health and safety-related stress was lowest in:

    • Pearl City, Hawaii;
    • Fremont;
    • Irvine, California;
    • San Jose, California; and
    • Plano, Texas.

    Further, the researchers found that El Paso, Texas, has the highest share of adults in fair or poor health, while Minneapolis has the lowest share (Ellison, Becker's Hospital Review, 7/18; McCann, WalletHub, 7/18).

    Next, learn how to be a less-stressed leader

    Stress is endemic in today’s health care workforce, but the good news is that leaders have much more control over their stress levels at work than they might think. The most effective leaders take steps to proactively keep their own stress in check—while modeling healthy habits for their teams.

    Use this infographic to review effective stress management strategies that can help you become a less-stressed leader.

    Get the Infographic

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