Whether it’s worry about money, work, family or relationships, stress affects everyone at some point. But a new report by personal finance website WalletHub suggests where you live could also contribute to your daily anxiety, and ranks every state on it’s stress-inducing potential.
The goal of the assessment, titled “2017’s Most & Least Stressed States,” was to determine why stress appears to affect more than 100 million Americans (nearly a third of the total U.S. population) each year and which environments and situations people should try to avoid in order to reduce their apprehensions.
For the study, researchers compared 50 states and the District of Columbia across four divisions: work-related stress, money-related stress, family-related stress and stress related to one’s perception of one’s health and safety. Analysts used 33 separate measurements, graded on a 100-point scale, to compare and score the states. Then the research team calculated the overall score for each state based on its weighted average, or importance, across all metrics and ranked them.
The relevant metrics used to generate the ranking for states included average hours people reported working per week, job security, median income, housing affordability, health insurance coverage, crime rates and a series of mental and physical health measures. (Analysts collected the data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Housing and Urban Development and other organizations.)
Alabama topped the list of “most stressed states” with a total score of 56.91. The state recorded the highest number of people with poor health, the fewest psychologists and the least amount of sleep in the country. Alabama was closely followed by Louisiana and Mississippi as the “most stressed” states, with scores of 56.22 and 55.62, respectively. What’s more, nearly every state ranked in the top 10 was located in the South (Nevada and New Mexico were the two exceptions).
Minnesota ranked as the state where people suffered the least stress with a score of just 31.07. Coincidentally, this state had the lowest number of people suffering from poor health and also boasted a high number of mental health providers. North Dakota and Iowa were second and third on the ranking of “least stressed” states, which were largely in the Midwest and the West.
For WalletHub’s full ranking of the most and least stressed states in the country and a breakdown of stress levels based on a variety of measures, click here. Then, click here to learn some effective strategies to help you reduce stress in your day-to-day life.