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, StateOverall ScorePhysical Wellness RankMental Wellness Rank
1Anaheim, CA38.6513
2Oakland, CA33.0132
3Jersey City, NJ32.3721
4Irvine, CA30.2748
5San Francisco, CA29.0364
6Minneapolis, MN28.75195
7Madison, WI28.161819
8Seattle, WA27.44810
9Aurora, CO27.19116
10Spokane, WA26.783217
11Denver, CO26.52012
12Glendale, AZ25.511216
13Pittsburgh, PA25.392723
14Lincoln, NE25.283830
15Portland, OR25.092320
16Santa Ana, CA24.971432
17San Diego, CA24.841542
18Scottsdale, AZ24.83763
19Anchorage, AK24.322158
20Washington, DC23.94357
21Saint Paul, MN23.91709
22Buffalo, NY23.866027
23Durham, NC23.571660
24Sacramento, CA23.572431
25Reno, NV23.473749
26Long Beach, CA23.461722
27San Jose, CA23.421037
28Richmond, VA23.44040
29Chula Vista, CA23.38552
30Boston, MA23.363311
31Boise, ID23.292567
32Milwaukee, WI23.236325
33Omaha, NE23.125145
34Albuquerque, NM23.094339
35Honolulu, HI22.824433
36Atlanta, GA22.772236
37St. Louis, MO22.197414
38Mesa, AZ21.832951
39St. Petersburg, FL21.724950
40Colorado Springs, CO21.693956
41Cleveland, OH21.626134
42Plano, TX21.615726
43Irving, TX21.56238
44Cincinnati, OH21.385344
45Greensboro, NC21.373173
46New Orleans, LA21.134547
47Miami, FL20.965621
48Raleigh, NC20.952870
49Chandler, AZ20.843461
50Fremont, CA20.65943
51Chicago, IL20.594213
52Hialeah, FL20.583629
53Kansas City, MO206757
54Austin, TX204168
55Lubbock, TX19.977278
56Orlando, FL19.954655
57Virginia Beach, VA19.674869
58Gilbert, AZ19.371384
59Fresno, CA19.375272
60Garland, TX19.195941
61Detroit, MI19.168535
62Philadelphia, PA19.156615
63Norfolk, VA19.139048
64Toledo, OH19.049846
65Riverside, CA18.893062
66Tucson, AZ18.485874
67Lexington, KY18.36479
68Wichita, KS17.917980
69Tampa, FL17.887759
70Los Angeles, CA17.832671
71Columbus, OH17.716582
72Tulsa, OK17.239377
73Baltimore, MD17.28828
74Stockton, CA16.854753
75Las Vegas, NV16.798165
76Corpus Christi, TX16.749954
77Newark, NJ16.738924
78Henderson, NV16.578483
79El Paso, TX16.446986
80Fort Wayne, IN16.376893
81Dallas, TX16.378266
82Phoenix, AZ16.355087
83North Las Vegas, NV16.137364
84Oklahoma City, OK15.847890
85Nashville, TN15.545494
86Winston–Salem, NC15.477196
87Baton Rouge, LA15.419581
88New York, NY15.348018
89Fort Worth, TX14.798775
90Memphis, TN14.389291
91Arlington, TX14.39176
92Chesapeake, VA14.087688
93Houston, TX14.048385
94Louisville, KY147597
95Charlotte, NC13.8455100
96Bakersfield, CA13.279692
97Indianapolis, IN12.88699
98San Antonio, TX11.789795
99Jacksonville, FL11.179498
100Laredo, TX11.0110089

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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