It’s no surprise that people have been under a ton of stress lately and not just due to the busy holiday season. A recent American Psychological Association survey of stress in America found that nearly a third of adults are so stressed out by the pandemic that they struggle to make basic decisions. These unprecedented levels of stress prompted the experts at Amerisleep to conduct a study to determine America’s most stressful state—information that can be used whether you’re looking for the best places to live in the U.S. or the best places to travel.
Amerisleep’s study was based on analysis of 22 different stress factors related to work, money, health and the environment. This included access to open spaces, noise levels, rates of depression, physical activity, sleep levels, housing prices, income and more. Data was taken from sources ranging from the United States Census Bureau to the SAMHSA National Mental Health Services Survey to the United States Department of Agriculture.
“Stress is a serious factor that can greatly affect someone’s health and way of life, with the current pandemic only heightening levels,” says April Mayer of Amerisleep. “It is very interesting to see which states are ranking as the most and least stressful places to live to better understand how the population and government can ensure good mental and physical health.”
The study found that a beautiful tropical paradise is, in fact, the most stressful state in America. Surprise: It’s Hawaii. One key reason why Hawaii tops the list? The state gets poor scores for money-related stress—the 49th worst in the country. Hawaii has staggering housing prices: $1,293,301 on average, the third highest in the U.S. Hawaii also has the highest rental prices in America, averaging $1,327 per month. Hawaii is known for its natural beauty, but surprisingly, it gets the 48th worst score in the country for environmental factors, including poor highway conditions and noise. Hawaii also ranks as the second loudest state.
Coming in second on the list of the most stressed-out states in America is another place that’s known as a tropical paradise: Florida. The state ranks poorly due to a low number national parks and open spaces per square mile of land, high noise levels, a low number of mental health facilities per capita and comparatively low adjusted gross income. Another factor: a high unemployment rate, with 6.5% of the population registering as unemployed.
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On the other end of the list, the least stressed-out state in America is Vermont. The study found that Vermont has a low level of money-related stress due to the lowest level of registered poverty per capita. Vermont also has a high ratio of mental health treatment facilities per capita—the second highest in the nation. Plus, it’s one of the best states for physical activity and adequate sleep.
It’s also interesting to look at the individual sub-categories on the list. For instance, Maine has the lowest levels of environmental stress in the country. This contributes to the state being named the second-least stressed-out state in America on the overall list. The state has the highest percentage of tree coverage at 89.5%, as well as the fourth best highway system in America. Another key factor contributing to the state’s overall ranking is its low levels of health-related stress.
On the other end of the spectrum is California, which is the state with the highest level of environmental stress in the country.
The least stressful place to work in America is Massachusetts. Some of the factors propelling the state to the top of that list? It has the second highest minimum wage of any state, at $13.50 per hour, as well as the highest dollars per hour earned, an estimated $35.76.
On the other end of the list: Oklahoma, which ranks as the most stressful place to work in America.
When it comes to money-related stress, Nebraska is the least stressful state. The state has the second lowest debt per capita, plus low prices for house purchases ($328,872 average) and monthly rent ($726).
The most stressed-out state for money? New Jersey.
When it comes to health-related stress, Alaska is the least stressed-out state. Alaska has the third most mental health facilities per capita, as well as high levels of physical activity and sleep. The state also has some of the lowest work travel time.
The state with the highest level of health-related stress? New Jersey.
So where does your state land on the list? Read on for the overall ranking of all 50 states, from the least stressed-out state to the most stressed-out state.
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- New Jersey
- New York