Following our summer release of most irritated cities, we head into the fall looking at the most stressed cities. In its latest study, "U.S. Uncovered," Portfolio.com sheds light on what you probably already know: city life is more stressful than life in smaller cities.
Fifty of the nation's largest metropolitan areas were studied, with Detroit, as the most stressed city and Salt Lake City as the least. Factors that were considered included local unemployment rates, personal financial data, environmental factors, health risks, crime rates and living standards. Portfolio.com collected this information from government agencies and private firms in the course of its analysis.
J. Jennings Moss, editor of Portfolio.com said, "It's no secret that living in a big city can add some serious stress to your life. But that doesn't you have to be truly stressed out just by being in one of the nation's population hubs. This study shows that a healthy and relatively low stress life can be achieved in at least a few urban areas."
In the top three, Detroit had an unemployment rate of 14.3 percent, high percentage of families in poverty (9.9 percent), high levels of murders and robberies and a lack of sunshine. Second is Los Angeles, which had the most expensive housing rates, high air pollution levels and a high unemployment rate. Third is Cleveland, which has the most robberies per 100,000 residents and an increased number of deaths caused by heart failure, hypertension and stroke. Following in the top 10 were Riverside, California (#4), St. Louis (#5), New York City (#6), New Orleans (#7), Chicago (#8), Birmingham, Alabama (#9) and Miami-Fort Lauderdale (#10).
Leading least stressed cities, at rank #50, Salt Lake City boasted low levels of crime, easy commutes, high employment and good health standing. Oklahoma City, at #45, reported the lowest commute time, and Phoenix, at #41, had the most amount of sunshine. Other cities with a low amount of stress included Kansas City (#42), San Antonio (#43), Denver (#44), Austin (#46), Raleigh, North Carolina, (#47), Minneapolis-St. Paul (#48) and Virginia Beach-Norfolk (#49).
Three factors that separated most stressed cities from the least stressed were population (an average of 6.3 million to 2.1 million), robberies per 100,000 residents (479 vs. 237) and deaths per 100,000 residents from circulatory-system disease (323 vs. 204).
U.S. Uncovered is a new series that has also published "Best Mid-Size Places to Live," recognizing Boulder, Colorado, as a small city with the highest quality of life. Other ranking include "Best Big Places to Live," recognizing Raleigh, and "Top U.S. Wealth Centers," naming Newport Beach as #1.