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July 25, 2017

The most—and least—stressed cities, according to WalletHub

Daily Briefing

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

Hospitals in more 'stressed' cities have worse CMS star ratings, study finds

How to get more done—with less stress

Previous research has found a correlation between 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 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 looked at stress related to:

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

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

City rankings, overall

The researchers said five the most stressed cities overall are:

  1. Newark, which scored 60.28;
  2. Detroit, which scored 57.46;
  3. Cleveland, which scored 55.08;
  4. Jackson, Mississippi, which scored 55.08; and
  5. Miami, which scored 54.54.

By contrast, the five least stressed cities overall are:

  1. Fremont, which scored 29.03;
  2. Plano, Texas, which scored 29.12;
  3. Overland Park, Kansas, which scored 30.26;
  4. Scottsdale, Arizona, which scored 32; and
  5. Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which scored 32.46.

According to WalletHub, money was the leading cause of stress, followed by work.

Health-specific rankings

When it comes to health and safety-related stress WalletHub found such stress is highest in:

  • Detroit;
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma;
  • Toledo, Ohio;
  • Cleveland; and
  • Springfield, Missouri.

Health and safety-related stress was lowest in:

  • Fremont;
  • Irvine, California;
  • San Jose, California;
  • Honolulu; and
  • Santa Rose, California.

When the researchers looked at some of the individual components that affected overall health and safety-related stress, they found that Corpus Christi, Texas, has the highest share of adults in fair or poor health, while Lincoln, Nebraska, has the lowest.


According to WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez, "National stress levels are on the rise for the first time in 10 years," but your overall feelings of stress "can be exacerbated or diminished depending on location."

Gonzalez added that based on WalletHub's findings, stress can have wide-reaching implications. "We were surprised to find that work-related stress costs the United States more than $300 billion per year in health problems and loss of productivity," she said (Bernardo, WalletHub, 7/18; Matthews, "Grapevine," Medical Daily, 7/18; Ellison, Becker's Hospital Review, 7/18).

How to get more done—with less stress

Research shows that we spend 40% of our work time doing tasks that aren't actually important and don't advance our true priorities.

In this presentation, we run through three practical strategies for transforming your approach to your schedule, improving your moment-to-moment focus, and better planning your workload so that you get more done—with less stress and effort.

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