Special Report

15 Most Stressed Out Cities

Source: Thinkstock

10. Gainesville, FL
> Pct. with stress: 45.4%
> Pct. of adults in fair/poor health: 15.9%
> Poverty rate: 21.9%
> Avg. weekly hours worked: 32.6

A recent National College Health Assessment study found approximately half of U.S. college students struggled with overwhelming anxiety in the last year. Another study found that close to a third of university students have considered attempting suicide at some point in their lives. These findings could help explain the prevalence of college towns on this list.

The Gainesville, Florida metro area, home to the University of Florida, Santa Fe College, and numerous other institutions, is a notable example. Nearly 20% of residents are enrolled in college or graduate school, the highest percentage of all metro areas considered.

Source: Thinkstock

9. Lubbock, TX
> Pct. with stress: 45.7%
> Pct. of adults in fair/poor health: 20.4%
> Poverty rate: 20.7%
> Avg. weekly hours worked: 34.1

Money is one of the biggest stressors for most Americans, and in the Lubbock metro area, many are struggling financially. More than one in every five metro area residents live in poverty, the 10th largest share of the 189 metro areas reviewed. In addition to higher stress, financial concerns can lead adults to put off needed medical treatment, which can contribute to more severe health problems down the road. Stress itself leads to worse health. Like a number of other stressed cities, a relatively high share of Lubbock adults, 20.4%, report sub-optimal health.

College and graduate students are also at elevated risk of frequent stress, and an outsized share of Lubbock residents are enrolled in post secondary school. Home to Texas Tech University and its 36,551 students, 13.4% of the metro area population is in college or graduate school.

Source: Thinkstock

8. Ogden-Clearfield, UT
> Pct. with stress: 45.7%
> Pct. of adults in fair/poor health: 11.9%
> Poverty rate: 8.8%
> Avg. weekly hours worked: 34.2

Well-known stress-related conditions are not nearly as prevalent in Ogden-Clearfield as might be expected in one of the nation’s most stressed out cities. Looking at self-reported health and financial security metrics, for example, metro area residents are considerably better off than most Americans. A relatively long average workweek, which at over 34 hours is one of the longer workweeks, could partially explain the high stress level in the metro area.

Source: Thinkstock

7. Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
> Pct. with stress: 46.0%
> Pct. of adults in fair/poor health: 15.5%
> Poverty rate: 12.1%
> Avg. weekly hours worked: 32.5

For many Americans, money and budgeting is the root cause of stress. In the Vallejo-Fairfield metro area, the median household income of $67,443 a year is nearly $11,700 higher than the median income nationwide. However, the area’s high cost of housing may obscure the financial challenges many residents face. Experts have long recommended that people should not spend more than 30% of their income on housing. Yet half of all renters in the Vallejo-Fairfield metro area spend at least 35% of their income on housing, compared to only 41.4% of renters nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

6. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, AL
> Pct. with stress: 46.0%
> Pct. of adults in fair/poor health: 16.4%
> Poverty rate: 12.8%
> Avg. weekly hours worked: 33.2

Divorce is often a stressful ordeal. According to Gallup-Healthways, daily reported stress is less common among married Americans than non-married individuals, and jumps significantly among Americans who have been separated. Divorce is relatively common in the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley metro area. Some 12.7% of area men and 15.9% of women are divorced, each among the larger shares of any U.S. metro area and well above the 9.7% and 12.3% national shares.

At the same time, despite the relatively high 46.0% share of area adults who report significant stress, Daphne residents are less likely to suffer from depression.

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