Special Report

15 Most Stressed Out Cities

Source: Thinkstock

15. Salt Lake City, UT
> Pct. with stress: 45.1%
> Pct. of adults in fair/poor health: 12.7%
> Poverty rate: 10.2%
> Avg. weekly hours worked: 36.1

Some 45.1% of adults in Salt Lake City report feeling stress for much of the day, a larger share than in the vast majority of U.S. metro areas. In the United States, stress is frequently job-related, and people in Salt Lake City tend to work long hours. The average private sector employee works 36.1 hours a week, longer than in all but eight other metro areas reviewed.

Chronic stress can lead to a number of medical conditions, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Yet, the incidences of these conditions among adults in Salt Lake City are well below the comparable national rates.

Source: Thinkstock

14. Lafayette, LA
> Pct. with stress: 45.1%
> Pct. of adults in fair/poor health: 19.1%
> Poverty rate: 19.0%
> Avg. weekly hours worked: 36.5

Money and finances are among the most common causes of stress in the United States, and in Lafayette, a large share of residents face serious financial hardship. Some 19.0% of all metro area residents are in poverty compared to 14.7% of Americans. Work is another major source of stress, and private sector workers in the Lafayette area work longer hours than most Americans. The average employee in the Lafayette metro, including those working part time, works 36.5 hours a week, more than in all but five other metro areas.

Source: Thinkstock

13. Kalamazoo-Portage, MI
> Pct. with stress: 45.1%
> Pct. of adults in fair/poor health: 16.3%
> Poverty rate: 16.0%
> Avg. weekly hours worked: 33.4

Young people, especially college students, face pressures that can increase the likelihood of chronic stress. In Kalamazoo-Portage, where more than 45% of adults report feeling stress, university students comprise a relatively large share of the population. Home to Western Michigan University, more than one in 10 metro area residents are enrolled in a post-secondary institution, a larger share than in the vast majority of U.S. metro areas.

Safety concerns among area resident may have also contributed to stress levels in the Kalamazoo metro area. The metro area’s violent crime rate of 471 incidents per 100,000 people is well above the national rate of 373 per 100,000 people.

Source: Little Mountain 5 / Wikimedia Commons

12. Medford, OR
> Pct. with stress: 45.1%
> Pct. of adults in fair/poor health: 16.3%
> Poverty rate: 20.3%
> Avg. weekly hours worked: 33.5

Some 45.1% of Medford, Oregon residents report living with daily stress compared to 40.0% of Americans. Money is likely a main source of stress in the area as more than 20% of area residents are in poverty, one of the highest rates of metro areas reviewed.

Stress increases the risk of certain physical and mental conditions. In Medford, high levels of stress may contribute to the prevalence of high blood pressure and depression, for example. Across the metro area, 32.1% of adults have had high blood pressure in their lifetime, and 23.5% have dealt with depression, higher than the corresponding 28.9% and 17.8% national shares.

Source: Thinkstock

11. Fort Collins, CO
> Pct. with stress: 45.3%
> Pct. of adults in fair/poor health: 10.0%
> Poverty rate: 12.7%
> Avg. weekly hours worked: 33.5

Due largely to the presence of Colorado State University, about 12.3% of Fort Collins metro area residents are college or graduate students, considerably more than the 7.0% national share. Because university students frequently experience higher levels of stress than others the metro area’s large student population may partially explain the prevalence of stress in the area.

While young people and college students are often more likely to experience stress, they are less likely to report the health complications associated with long-term stress. In Fort Collins, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are less common than across the United States as a whole.

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