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Do You Work in a Stressed-Out State?

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Key Takeaways

  • According to a WalletHub survey, the most stressed-out state in the country is Nevada.
  • The top 3 states with the least affordable housing options include California, Hawaii, and New York.
  • People who live in Montana tend to get the most hours of sleep per night, contributing to lower stress levels.

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 78% of Americans report feeling higher-than-normal levels of stress and anxiety.1  The biggest cause of stress wasn’t the virus itself; rather, money issues brought to light by the pandemic was ranked as the largest source of stress. Levels among individual citizens contributed to the overall stress per-capita, and some locations in the United States were found to be more stressful than others. 

Popular personal finance website WalletHub conducted a survey in early 2021 to determine the levels of stress currently experienced by their clients. WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 4 key dimensions: 1) Work-Related Stress, 2) Money-Related Stress, 3) Family-Related Stress, 4) Health- & Safety-Related Stress. These dimensions were evaluated against 41 relevant metrics, each graded on a 100-point scale (with a score of 100 indicating the highest level of stress). 

Main Findings

According to WalletHub results, the 5 states with the highest stress levels:

  • Nevada (total score, 61.98)
  • Louisiana (59.02)
  • New Mexico (58.27)
  • West Virginia (55.96)
  • Mississippi (53.26)

Conversely, the 5 states with the lowest levels of stress were:

  • North Dakota (34.91)
  • Iowa (33.10)
  • Minnesota (31.16)
  • Utah (30.16)
  • South Dakota (28.75)

Work-Related Stress

The states with the highest average hours worked per week include:

  • Alaska 
  • North Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Texas
  • Louisiana/Oklahoma (tied) 

Conversely, the states with the fewest average hours worked per week include:

  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah

People who live in states with low job security may also experience symptoms of stress. The states with the lowest job security are:

  • Hawaii
  • Nevada
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
  • California

States with the highest job security are:

  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • South Dakota
  • Idaho
  • Utah

Money-Related Stress

Factors such as cost of available housing, credit score, and poverty levels in an area can all contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety. Starting with credit score, states with the lowest scores are:

  • Mississippi
  • Alabama/Louisiana
  • Texas
  • Arkansas/Georgia

States with the highest credit score include: 

  • Montana and Oregon
  • Washington
  • North Dakota
  • Minnesota 

For housing opportunities, states with the least affordable housing might not be that surprising:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Massachusetts

To find more affordable housing options, head to:

  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • Iowa

States with the highest percentage of residents living in poverty include:

  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • New Mexico
  • West Virginia
  • Kentucky

The lowest percentages of residents living in poverty can be found in the following states:

  • Utah
  • Minnesota
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • New Hampshire

Family-Related Stress

While our families may bring us love, laughter, and positivity, they also can bring about their fair share of stress (did someone say political differences over Thanksgiving dinner?). States with the highest rates of divorce–contributing to stress levels–include:

  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi

States with the lowest divorce rates are:

  • Minnesota
  • Hawaii
  • New Jersey
  • North Dakota
  • Utah

Health- and Safety-Related Stress

It’s not uncommon for people to feel stressed about their own health and safety. Living in an unsafe area can cause spikes in stress as can undiagnosed medical complications. 

States with the highest percentage of adults in fair/poor health are:

  • West Virginia
  • Arkansas
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana

Residents in overall good health tend to reside in:

  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • North Dakota
  • Massachusetts/Minnesota
  • Vermont

Residents who live in the following states achieve the fewest hours of sleep per night:

  • Hawaii
  • West Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee 
  • Ohio

Conversely, these states achieve the most hours of sleep per night:

  • Montana
  • Colorado/Vermont
  • South Dakota
  • Minnesota

States with the highest rates of crime per capita include:

  • New Mexico
  • Louisiana
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Tennessee

The lowest crime rates per capita are the following states:

  • New Jersey
  • Connecticut
  • Idaho
  • New Hampshire
  • Maine

States with the fewest psychologists per capita–and therefore, more stressed-out residents– include:

  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • Alabama
  • Georgia

States with the most psychologists per capita are:

  • New York
  • Wisconsin
  • Vermont
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island

References

  1. Stress in America™ 2020. American Psychological Association. Published October 2020. Accessed April 26, 2021. 
  2. McCann A. Most & Least Stressed States. WalletHub. Published March 29, 2021. Accessed April 26, 2021. 

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