More than half of the population – 77 percent – experience regular physical symptoms caused by stress, statistics show. Just over a third feel like they are living with extreme stress and 48 percent feel their stress has increased over the past five years.
American stress levels have been on the rise since 2016. The personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on the best and worst performing states in America when it comes to stress.
To determine the states with the highest stress levels, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 38 key metrics. The data set ranges from average hours worked per week to personal bankruptcy rate to share of adults getting adequate sleep.
North Carolina ranks close to the middle in almost all categories – work, money, health and safety – except family-related stress.
The quantity and, perhaps even more importantly, the quality of sleep a person get have a tremendous effect on his or her physical and mental health. This may explain why Ohio, which ranks 4th in the fewest hours of sleep per night, makes the list of the most stressed states.
Austin is one of the best cities in the entire country, certainly a place worth visiting or even moving to permanently. But Texas is much more than Austin. The biggest issues over which locals stress are family and employment.
The most stress people in Indiana feel is related to work. This category also includes parental stress and the share of parents not having any emotional support. Also, Indiana now has the seventh highest adult obesity rate – 32.7 percent – in the nation, according to The State of Obesity.
The District of Columbia has the most psychologists per 100,000 residents, 97, which is 6.9 times more than in Alabama, the fewest at 14. The highest crime rate per capita and the second least affordable housing are also issues people are stressed about.
Although none of Georgia rankings in the separate categories jumps out because they are all fairly low, combined they bring down the state to being the 12th most stressed in the country.
People in Arizona experience a lot of family-related stress. This includes separation and divorce, share of single parents, cost of childcare, and parental leave policies.
While people in Tennessee don’t report a lot of work-related stress, they do report worrying a lot about money. The state’s overalls score for family- and safety-related stress is also fairly high – 13th and 9th, respectively.
Kentucky is tied in fourth place for having a high number of people living below the poverty line. Perhaps this has a direct correlation with adults being unhealthy (fifth highest) and not getting much sleep (third lowest number of hours of sleep per night).
The second lowest credit score, the fourth highest percentage of adults in bad or fair health and the fewest number of psychologists per capita is what brings Alabama so high in the “most stressed” states category.
This is the state where you’ll find the highest number of adults being in bad health. It’s no surprise maybe that the state is also ranked among the fattest in the country.
Nevada is known mostly about gambling even though the state has a lot more to offer. Maybe this plays a big part of family relationships – the state has the second highest divorce rate in the country. Also, Nevada ranks No. 3 in having the fewest psychologists per capita.
Locals are in bad health - the third highest percentage of adults with health problems. This is also the state with the highest percentage of the population living below the poverty line. Unsurprisingly, people in Mississippi have the lowest credit scores.
It’s almost impossible to be calm and relax when you’re not healthy. People in West Virginia have the second highest percentage of adults in fair or poor health.
People in Louisiana work a lot. The state has the fifth highest number of average hours worked per week. But their credit score is the third lowest and the state has the third highest percentage of people living below the poverty line. With all of this perhaps it’s no surprise that the Creole State has the third highest divorce rate and the fourth highest crime rate per capita.
Not one score particularly stands out. Washington ranked low in terms of stress across the board. Its “worst” standing is right in the middle – 25th – in the health and safety as well as family-related stress.
Virginia’s overall low stress score is mostly due to the low work-related stress residents have reported. That category includes average hours worked per week, commute time, leisure time spent per day, and job security.
Maine seems to be the safest state in the country. According to the study, the state has the lowest crime rate per capita.
Vermont has the fifth lowest number of average hours worked per week, fifth lowest percentage of adult people being in poor or fair health, and the third lowest crime rate per capita.
What really works in Maryland’s favor and what contributes to its high ranking of the least stressed states is the fact that it has the second lowest number of people living below the poverty line. Maryland ranks 39 and 46 overall in the money- and safety-related stress categories.
Connecticut has the fourth lowest percentage of the population that is living below the poverty line. The Constitution State has also been ranked among the least obese states in the U.S.
People in Montana report overall the third highest average number of hours of sleep per night, and, as you know, when you’ve got enough rest and shuteye, you feel better throughout the day, are more focused, and tend to have more productive days.
Kansas is fourth in the most affordable housing category. The state scored high in almost all categories. The one that brings its overall ranking down to 12 is family-related stress.
New Hampshire has the lowest share of population living below the poverty line, 8.5 percent, which is 2.6 times lower than in Mississippi, the highest at 22.3 percent.
Being among the states with the highest credit score and most affordable housing, it’s not shocking that people in Nebraska report little stress. Also, residents of the Cornhusker State sleep well and enough hours which helps with feeling happy and relaxed throughout the day.
Hawaii has the lowest unemployment rate, 2.4 percent, which is three times lower than in Alaska, the highest at 7.2 percent.
People in Massachusetts don’t get too stressed about work – they clocked the fourth lowest average number of hours of work per week. Also, stressed people get plenty of help; the state has the second highest number of physiologists per capita.
All is well with the world when you know you have a secure job, right? People in Colorado may agree. This is the state with the highest job security in the country.
The Badger State has high marks across the board. The lowest is 36th in the health and safety category, which includes share of adults in poor health, people diagnosed with depression, suicide rate, insurance premiums and activity rate.
Affordable housing, high credit scores, low percentage of people being unhealthy, having the highest number of hours of sleep per night - all of these bring South Dakota’s to the top of the list. The state was also named among the happiest fir 2017.
Locals get enough sleep apparently. Iowa is ranked fourth in people getting the most average hours of shuteye per night. Iowa is also the state with the most affordable housing of all 50 states and D.C.
Utah has the lowest separation & divorce rate, 16.18 percent, which is 1.8 times lower than in the District of Columbia, the highest at 28.63 percent.
People in North Dakota tend to stay together; the state has the second lowest divorce rate. Buying a big house is probably not a big problem – this is the Peace Garden State has the third most affordable housing in the country.
The winner of the least stressful state in the U.S. is Minnesota. May be it’s the nature, or maybe it’s the fact the state has the third lowest percentage of adults in bad health, or the highest credit score, or the fifth lowest segment of the population living in poverty – whatever it is, it works.