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Survey says Fremont is America’s ‘least stressed’ city

With workplace-related stress costing the economy $300 billion per year, the personal-finance website WalletHub has released its report on 2024’s Most and Least Stressed Cities in America, as well as expert commentary, to show where people are struggling and may need assistance.

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.


Most Stressed Cities

Ranking at the top of the stress list was Cleveland, Ohio at number one. Coming in at number two was Detroit, MI, followed by Baltimore, MD; Memphis, TN; Gulfport, MS; Philadelphia, PA; Birmingham, AL; Akron, OH; New Orleans, LA; and, rounding out the top 10, Jackson, MS.


Least Stressed Cities

The cities recording the lowest stress were Overland Park, Kansas, at number 173, followed by Portland, ME; Nashua, NH: Boise, ID; Sioux Falls, SD; Bismarck, ND; Lincoln, NE; Fargo, ND: South Burlington, VT; and last on the list, at number 182, Fremont, CA.


Best vs. Worst

Miami and Hialeah, Florida, have the lowest unemployment rate, which is 5.9 times lower than in Detroit, Michigan the city with the highest.

Fremont, California, has the lowest divorce rate, which is 4.6 times lower than in Detroit, Michigan, the city with the highest.

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

Columbia, Maryland, has the highest median annual household income (adjusted by cost of living), which is 3.3 times higher than in Detroit, the city with the lowest.

“Some stress is out of our control, due to issues with family, friends or employers. However, where you live can play a big role in how stressed you are. Cities with high crime rates, weak economies, less effective public health and congested transportation systems naturally lead to elevated stress levels for residents. When moving, it’s important to consider how a certain city may impact your mental health – not just your financial opportunities,” noted Cassandra Happe, WalletHub Analyst. “Cleveland is the most stressed city, due in part to the fact that it has one of the lowest median household incomes in the country and the second-highest poverty rate. In addition, Cleveland has the second-highest separation and divorce rate in the country, and over 20 percent of adults have 14 or more mentally unhealthy days per month. On top of that, Cleveland has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country.”

To view the full report, visit:


Expert Commentary

How can employers reduce work-related stress?

“In general, some work-related stress may be managed through fostering positive trusting relationships among leadership and employees. This helps define an organizational culture of openness and support. When an employee needs some assistance in managing stress, these relationships can provide support. Work-related stress can result from poor emotions and moods. Employers can refine their organizational culture by understanding how emotions and moods can contribute to individual stress levels. For example, proper nutrition is important as it contributes to healthy attitudes and behaviors whereas poor nutrition supports sluggish behaviors. Ensuring that affordable healthy options are available can do a lot to reduce stress. An individual may experience stress differently and thus have different needs. When performance issues arise, leaders need to engage individuals to determine what level of support is needed. This can be reducing workloads, providing coping strategies, and in some cases, referrals to counseling services.”

Ralph E. McKinney, Jr., DBA – Associate Professor, Marshall University


“This is a commonly examined topic. Researchers often find that some people are simply more likely to become stressed at work; for instance, more neurotic employees or those who struggle to separate their work and home lives are relatively more likely to experience stress regardless of their jobs or duties. But many factors are absolutely under the company’s control. For instance, clear job roles, reasonable workloads, and frequent communication and feedback from managers reduce work-related stress. Regular check-ins are especially important for employees who work more virtually, and supportive cultures and teams can make a big difference in reducing stress. Leadership plays a very meaningful role here, in that employees are much less likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed when they believe their managers are on their side, providing them with resources, and prioritizing their well-being.”

G. James Lemoine – Associate Professor, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York


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

“Relaxation does not have to be a luxury. While some may opt for high-end experiences like luxury cruises or memberships at expensive country clubs, these are not the only ways to unwind. They can even cause stress for some. Simple and budget-friendly activities can be just as practical in promoting relaxation, if not more so. Let us delve into some engaging relaxation activities. For instance, meditation can provide profound mental relaxation and requires a quiet space. Taking brisk walks through nature, perhaps with your dog or a good friend, benefits your physical health and promotes a sense of peace and connection with the environment. Savoring a cup of tea while listening to your favorite music and appreciating your flower gardens can create a calming atmosphere at home, helping you unwind after a long day. The key to relaxation is understanding what personally brings you peace and joy. It is about finding those activities that allow you to stay absorbed in the present and not worry about the future or ruminating on the past. For some people, a ‘staycation’ at home with their gardens and hobbies is more relaxing than a luxury cruise.”

Stuart D. Sidle, Ph.D. – Dean and Professor, Mercy University


“Reevaluate the budget very frequently. Use my three R’s technique: Reassess, Recalibrate, Redistribute = Relax. Frame budgets as flexible to minimize stress. Approach budgets like a new puzzle to be solved each day.”

Patty O’Grady, Ph.D. – Professor (Retired), University of Tampa


What activities should families undertake together in order to minimize stress and alleviate tensions between family members?

“The reinforcement of positive relationships is critical to family relationships. Having good talks helps maintain those relationships. If the relationships are not there, the activities are going to be more stressful. Find the common activities that can be enjoyed. For example: competitive board games can create unnecessary stress if the competition strains relationships. Harmonious activities are usually the better options. These can be treasure hunts at local parks and outings at museums. The central idea is to build shared positive experiences to enhance relationships. This minimizes stress and provides mutual support in conquering future problems.”

Ralph E. McKinney, Jr., DBA – Associate Professor, Marshall University


“Be honest with everyone. Have financial meetings to share information, make decisions, generate cost savings, and income-generating ideas. Involve even the youngest members of the family. Plan family-based daily activities that do not cost much: walks, sing-alongs, making art, movie nights, story-telling, volunteering to help others, and family book club. Be creative. Share concerns and dreams. Do not bear any burden in silence. Be mindful that love, kindness, and joy are free. Never let financial strain deter you from finding and appreciating the good in your life. There is always some good.”

Patty O’Grady, Ph.D. – Professor (Retired), University of Tampa