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America’s most stressful cities – and other city trivia studied America’s 50 largest metropolitain areas to rank them for how stressful each one is. They studied housing costs, unemployment, income growth, poverty, sunshine, unhealthy air, robberies, murders, deaths from circulatory-system diseases and commuting.

Given that stress is a major killer and according to a CBS Evening News fifth annual Labor Day survey, more than half of Americans are somewhat or extremely stressed at work. Also, a shocking one in six workers reported being “angry enough to hit a co-worker.”

Each city has different stressors and not surprisingly, Detroit is deemed the most stressful city and suffers from the highest unemployment rate of the 50 cities (whereas Washington had the lowest unemployment rate).

Top 15 least stressful cities:

These are the 15 least stressful cities in order from least stressful to more stressful.

  1. Salt Lake City
  2. Virginia Beach
  3. Minneapolis
  4. Raleigh
  5. Austin
  6. Oklahoma City
  7. Denver
  8. San Antonio
  9. Kansas City
  10. Phoenix
  11. Portland
  12. Boston
  13. San Jose
  14. Louisville
  15. Jacksonville
  16. Richmond

The 15 most stressful cities:

These are the 15 most stressful cities in order from most stressful to less stressful.

  1. Detroit
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Cleveland
  4. Riverside
  5. St. Louis
  6. New York City
  7. New Orleans
  8. Chicago
  9. Birmingham
  10. Miami
  11. Memphis
  12. Philadelphia
  13. Atlanta
  14. Cincinnati
  15. Washington

Factoids about city rankings:

  • Buffalo was deemed to have the most affordable housing while Los Angeles has the least.
  • Las Vegas had the highest drop of income per capita at 6.17%. On the opposite end was Virginia Beach which had the only uptick in income per capita, having risen 0.95%.
  • Memphis had the highest percentage of families living below the poverty level at 13.9%. With 4.7% of families living below poverty, Washington ranked best in this category.
  • Regarding deaths from circulatory system diseases per 100,000 residents, New Orleans has the most (414) while Austin has the least (134).
  • Phoenix and Las Vegas were tied for the sunniest cities with 85% of the year experiencing sunshine while Pittsburgh was the least sunny with only 45% of days.
  • Ozone levels were the highest in Sacramento and lowest in San Francisco.
  • Cleveland had the highest number of robberies per capita and Virginia Beach had the lowest.
  • New Orleans had the highest murder rates while Salt Lake City had the lowest.
  • The longest commute goes to New York City with 34.55 minutes while Buffalo had the shortest commute at only 20.78 minutes.

Is your city anywhere on these lists? AG is headquartered in Austin and we were surprised that we ranked for having the least cardiac related deaths. Very interesting. What struck you as the most surprising? Tell us in comments.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Sheila Rasak

    September 9, 2010 at 12:53 am

    I’m so glad I moved from Los Angeles 2 years ago! I never looked back 😉

  2. Jamey Prezzi

    September 9, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Miami on the stressful side? hmmm, maybe for driving and the expense of living here… but other than that I don’t know how that is?


  3. tina merritt

    September 9, 2010 at 10:22 am

    stressful is as stressful does…i found myself incredibly stressed living in virginia beach – so i moved. bridges and tunnels stress me i suppose….

  4. April

    September 9, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I lived in L.A. off & on for 7 years. The parking? Ha! Anyone who’s lived there knows what a nightmare that is!

    Honestly, I want out of So Cal. I’m a CA Native & as I get older, I find it to be insane. Waaaay too expensive here. If you want to live here…unless you bring in @ LEAST a nice 6-figure income, you’ll need about 4 roommates! ;-0 Not fun.

    I ‘m looking to move to Europe. Either Italy or Barcelona. Their lifestyle is so much more relaxing, FUN, there are happy ppl there! They aren’t in a hurry TO GO NOWHERE like here. They TALK TO ONE ANOTHER. GEE! WHAT A CONCEPT!


  5. John

    September 14, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I live about 30 miles north of Miami and driving in South Florida can drive you nuts. But at least the weather is great!

  6. 5t31th

    December 3, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    Where can I find the source material for the CBS evening news 5th annual Labor Day Survey that states people were angry enough to hit a co-worker?

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