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New Report Identifies Nation’s Most, Least Stressed Cities

With 83 percent of Americans feeling stressed because of inflation, the personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2023’s Most & Least Stressed Cities in America, as well as expert commentary.

In order to determine where Americans cope best with their stress, WalletHub compared more than 180 cities across 39 key metrics. The data set ranges from average weekly work hours to the unemployment rate to divorce and suicide rates.

Coming in at the top of the list for Most Stressed Cities was Cleveland, Ohio at number one, followed by Detroit, MI; Baltimore, MD; Birmingham, AL; and Philadelphia, PA at number five. Holding down the sixth spot was Shreveport, LA; followed by Memphis, TN; Fayetteville, NC; St. Louis, MO and, at number 10, Augusta, GA.

The Least Stressed Cities in the country were reported to be Nashua, New Hampshire at number 173, followed by Rapid City, SD; Bismarck, ND; Burlington, VT; Lincoln, NE; Fargo, ND; Overland Park, KS; Sioux Falls, SD; Fremont, CA at number 181 and, rounding out the ‘least stressed’ list, South Burlington, VT coming in at number 182.


Best vs. Worst

South Burlington, Vermont, has the lowest unemployment rate, 1.50 percent, which is 8.1 times lower than in Stockton, CA the city with the highest at 7.40 percent.

Fremont, California, has the lowest divorce rate, 9.02 percent, which is 4.6 times lower than in Cleveland, the city with the highest at 41.59 percent.

Portland, Maine, has the lowest share of adults in fair or poor health, 10.00 percent, which is 2.5 times lower than in Huntington, West Virginia, the city with the highest at 25.40 percent.

Columbia, Maryland, has the highest median annual household income (adjusted by cost of living), $104,886, which is 3.1 times higher than in Detroit, the city with the lowest at $33,329.

To view the full report, visit:


Expert Commentary

How can employers reduce work-related stress?

“Work-related stress is a shared employer-employee responsibility. From the employer’s side, the three keys are (1) ensuring employees have the resources and discretionary latitude to do their jobs, (2) minimizing the uncertainty and unpredictability employees face to the extent possible, and (3) establishing conflict management and resolution processes to avoid destructive or violent conflicts.”

James Campbell Quick, FSA Scot, FAPA – Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, The University of Texas at Arlington


“The primary way to reduce work-related stress is to give employees as much control as possible over where, when, and how they work. Employees are far better and fare better when they can apply their uniqueness to their work, and giving them the freedom to do so goes a very long way toward improving work-life balance and performance. When people can do things ‘their way,’ they tend to be a lot faster, a lot more comfortable, and a lot more capable of adding value in their own inimitable fashions.”

Orin C. Davis, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, SUNY Buffalo State University


What tips do you have for a person who finds managing finances to be stressful?

“The most important tip I would give is to make paying off debt your top one priority. If debt is extensive, I think the smart thing to do would be to consolidate your debt. Doing so will allow you to bring it in to one or two payments, and then you can negotiate with the people you owe money to … Keeping a budget and conscientiously tracking expenses are ways to mitigate much of the stress from managing finances. Automating monthly payments is also a great idea, especially if you have numerous payments each month; doing so will prevent you missing due dates and having to pay late fees, plus it will lessen the mental overload of having to remember multiple payment dates. Finally, building an emergency fund would be especially helpful. Set up an online savings account that offers a high yield, and automate weekly deposits, whatever you can afford, no matter how little; over several months, you might be pleasantly surprised with how much you’ve managed to save. Having extra money put away will help absorb the cost of any unexpected financial emergencies; also, it is comforting to know that you are prepared for any unforeseen expenses you might face.”

Eric B. Weiser, Ph.D. – Chair, Department of Psychology, Curry College


What tips do you have for a person who wishes to relax on a budget?

“I think that part of being able to relax well, period, is doing so beneath (or certainly not beyond) your means. If eating well is an important part of relaxation, I would say learn to cook some of your favorite foods. Cooking can be relaxing in itself, but the efficacy of being able to really satisfy your appetite and feel like you have had a treat without blowing your budget is a very nice feeling. If you like dinner parties, then this multiplies. Other than that, many forms of exercise are free or low cost, such as running, walking, and cycling. Another suggestion is to go back a generation or two in technology and enjoy what is still some very good entertainment at a much lower cost. For example, I still enjoy playing the Wii, on my own, and with my young daughter.”

Marcus Fila, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Hope College; Speaker on reducing work stress and unwanted employee turnover.