These Are The Top 10 Most Stressed States In America—And They’re Not What You’d Expect

Fortune Well March 25, 2024

Lifestyle

These Are The Top 10 Most Stressed States In America—And They’re Not What You’d Expect

How stressed we are depends on many factors, from work and family responsibilities to personal finances. However, less talked about is how someone’s environment plays a vital role in the amount of stress faced. In a data analysis last year for the Fortune 50 Best Places to Live for Families, levels of financial stress, and community well-being all heavily factored into the ranking of optimal places to care for children and aging parents. 

Similarly, WalletHub looked at 40 stress indicators in all 50 states—from work and family to money and health-related factors—to see where people face more or less stress. Louisiana topped the charts as the most stressed state, followed by Mississippi and Nevada. In the analysis, researchers point to Louisiana’s high crime and property crime rates, the third highest divorce and separation rates in the country, and high poverty rates. Mississippi scores low in job security, increasing people’s financial and work stressors. Nevada scores low on mental and physical-related stress, likely because more than one in 10 residents hadn’t seen a doctor in a year due to finances. 

“There are plenty of small ways for people to manage stress, from staying active and participating in hobbies to taking vacations from work and getting help from a mental health professional,” says Cassandra Happe, a WalletHub analyst, in a statement about the results. “What many people don’t realize, though, is that changing location can also be a big stress reducer. For example, states that have lower crime rates, better health care and better economies tend to have much less stressed residents.”

Minnesota, South Dakota, and Utah topped the list of the least stressed states. Minnesota ranked number one for the lowest money-related stress; South Dakota ranked number one for the lowest family-related stress, and Utah ranked number one for the lowest work-related stress. 

While bouts of stress are healthy, chronic stress can lead to poor health outcomes, including increasing people’s risk for chronic conditions and early mortality. Daily habits, such as engaging with a community, getting outside, and exercising can all help mitigate stress. But of course, systematic issues such as safety and security within the larger place we live make a difference. 

WalletHub used national data, including ShareCare’s community well-being index, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to compile its rankings. 

 
Top 10 most stressed states
  • Louisiana 
  • Mississippi 
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico 
  • Arkansas 
  • West Virginia 
  • Alabama 
  • Kentucky 
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
 
Top 10 least stressed states 
  • Minnesota 
  • South Dakota
  • Utah
  • New Hampshire 
  • Iowa 
  • Idaho
  • North Dakota 
  • Delaware 
  • Nebraska 
  • Hawaii 

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