The Best and Worst U.S. Cities for Reducing Stress

By David Cusick

We all have things in our lives that stress us out, whether that’s your job, family, commute to work, or even just the thought of what you are having for dinner – stress happens. But there are ways to help fight this stressed out feeling and one of those things can be choosing a city to live where there are many options to reduce that stress.  

With that thought in mind, House Method decided to pull together a list of the best and worst cities to live for reducing stress. To do this, we analyzed data for the 100 largest cities and ranked them according to five factors: commute time, mental health counselors per capita, percent of people who exercise frequently, percent of people within walking distance to a park, and number of yoga instructors/classes. Read on for the complete rankings and methodology. 

Read more: The Best and Worst Cities for Exercise

Main Findings

Best Cities for Reducing Stress

Overall Rank (1 = better)

City, State

Overall Score

Physical Wellness Rank

Mental Wellness Rank

1

Anaheim, CA

38.65

1

3

2

Oakland, CA

33.01

3

2

3

Jersey City, NJ

32.37

2

1

4

Irvine, CA

30.27

4

8

5

San Francisco, CA

29.03

6

4

6

Minneapolis, MN

28.75

19

5

7

Madison, WI

28.16

18

19

8

Seattle, WA

27.44

8

10

9

Aurora, CO

27.19

11

6

10

Spokane, WA

26.78

32

17

11

Denver, CO

26.5

20

12

12

Glendale, AZ

25.51

12

16

13

Pittsburgh, PA

25.39

27

23

14

Lincoln, NE

25.28

38

30

15

Portland, OR

25.09

23

20

16

Santa Ana, CA

24.97

14

32

17

San Diego, CA

24.84

15

42

18

Scottsdale, AZ

24.83

7

63

19

Anchorage, AK

24.32

21

58

20

Washington, DC

23.94

35

7

21

Saint Paul, MN

23.91

70

9

22

Buffalo, NY

23.86

60

27

23

Durham, NC

23.57

16

60

24

Sacramento, CA

23.57

24

31

25

Reno, NV

23.47

37

49

26

Long Beach, CA

23.46

17

22

27

San Jose, CA

23.42

10

37

28

Richmond, VA

23.4

40

40

29

Chula Vista, CA

23.38

5

52

30

Boston, MA

23.36

33

11

31

Boise, ID

23.29

25

67

32

Milwaukee, WI

23.23

63

25

33

Omaha, NE

23.12

51

45

34

Albuquerque, NM

23.09

43

39

35

Honolulu, HI

22.82

44

33

36

Atlanta, GA

22.77

22

36

37

St. Louis, MO

22.19

74

14

38

Mesa, AZ

21.83

29

51

39

St. Petersburg, FL

21.72

49

50

40

Colorado Springs, CO

21.69

39

56

41

Cleveland, OH

21.62

61

34

42

Plano, TX

21.61

57

26

43

Irving, TX

21.5

62

38

44

Cincinnati, OH

21.38

53

44

45

Greensboro, NC

21.37

31

73

46

New Orleans, LA

21.13

45

47

47

Miami, FL

20.96

56

21

48

Raleigh, NC

20.95

28

70

49

Chandler, AZ

20.84

34

61

50

Fremont, CA

20.65

9

43

51

Chicago, IL

20.59

42

13

52

Hialeah, FL

20.58

36

29

53

Kansas City, MO

20

67

57

54

Austin, TX

20

41

68

55

Lubbock, TX

19.97

72

78

56

Orlando, FL

19.95

46

55

57

Virginia Beach, VA

19.67

48

69

58

Gilbert, AZ

19.37

13

84

59

Fresno, CA

19.37

52

72

60

Garland, TX

19.19

59

41

61

Detroit, MI

19.16

85

35

62

Philadelphia, PA

19.15

66

15

63

Norfolk, VA

19.13

90

48

64

Toledo, OH

19.04

98

46

65

Riverside, CA

18.89

30

62

66

Tucson, AZ

18.48

58

74

67

Lexington, KY

18.3

64

79

68

Wichita, KS

17.91

79

80

69

Tampa, FL

17.88

77

59

70

Los Angeles, CA

17.83

26

71

71

Columbus, OH

17.71

65

82

72

Tulsa, OK

17.23

93

77

73

Baltimore, MD

17.2

88

28

74

Stockton, CA

16.85

47

53

75

Las Vegas, NV

16.79

81

65

76

Corpus Christi, TX

16.74

99

54

77

Newark, NJ

16.73

89

24

78

Henderson, NV

16.57

84

83

79

El Paso, TX

16.44

69

86

80

Fort Wayne, IN

16.37

68

93

81

Dallas, TX

16.37

82

66

82

Phoenix, AZ

16.35

50

87

83

North Las Vegas, NV

16.13

73

64

84

Oklahoma City, OK

15.84

78

90

85

Nashville, TN

15.54

54

94

86

Winston–Salem, NC

15.47

71

96

87

Baton Rouge, LA

15.41

95

81

88

New York, NY

15.34

80

18

89

Fort Worth, TX

14.79

87

75

90

Memphis, TN

14.38

92

91

91

Arlington, TX

14.3

91

76

92

Chesapeake, VA

14.08

76

88

93

Houston, TX

14.04

83

85

94

Louisville, KY

14

75

97

95

Charlotte, NC

13.84

55

100

96

Bakersfield, CA

13.27

96

92

97

Indianapolis, IN

12.8

86

99

98

San Antonio, TX

11.78

97

95

99

Jacksonville, FL

11.17

94

98

100

Laredo, TX

11.01

100

89

Summary

Coming in as the best city to live in for reducing stress is Anaheim, California. The city has beautiful weather, lots of sunshine, and Disneyland. How could you be stressed when Mickey lives right down the road? While Anaheim didn’t have the best score for commute time, it did rank number one for the city with the most mental health counselors per capita and has a very high percentage of people who like to exercise frequently. 

Another California city took the second best spot: Oakland. Like Anaheim, Oakland has a lot of mental health counselors and a large percentage of people live within walking distance of a park. Sometimes a stroll around the park is all you need to take your stress level down a notch. Rounding out the top five cities are Jersey City, New Jersey, Irvine, California, and San Francisco. 

Reduce your stress with a home warranty. Read our in-depth reviews on the best home warranty companies

On the other end of the spectrum are the cities where your stress levels won’t be reduced by living there. The worst city to live in if you want to reduce stress is Laredo, Texas. Laredo ranked last for the amount of mental health counselors per capita, percentage of people who exercise, and the amount of yoga instructors/classes. Filling out the bottom five cities are Bakersfield, CA (96), Indianapolis, IN (97), San Antonio, TX (98), and Jacksonville, Florida (99).

So if you are looking to reduce your stress levels in 2020, take a walk around the park, join a yoga studio, and maybe move to one of the top ranked cities.

Methodology

To find the best and worst cities for reducing stress, we analyzed data for the 100 largest cities in the United States. We ranked the cities using two categories:

  1. Physical wellness
  2. Mental wellness

In all, there were five factors across those two larger categories that are listed below along with their corresponding weights. Each city was graded on an 50-point scale, with a score of 50 representing the ideal city for reducing stress

Finally, we calculated each city’s weighted average across all categories to determine its Overall Score and used the results to rank-order our sample.

Physical wellbeing — 20 points

  • Percent of people who exercise frequently — Full Weight
  • Number of yoga studios per 1,000 people — Full Weight

Mental wellbeing — 30 points

  • Commute time to work — Full Weight
  • Mental health counselors per 1,000 people — Full Weight
  • Percent of people who live within walking distance to a park — Full Weight

Sources

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