Lower Income, Poverty Make Ohio’s Cleveland Most Stressed City in America: Study

Jen Krausz
By Jen Krausz
July 8, 2024US News
Lower Income, Poverty Make Ohio’s Cleveland Most Stressed City in America: Study
A general view of Cleveland, Ohio, on Oct. 11, 2023. (Duane Prokop/Getty Images for CARE USA)

Lower median income, higher poverty, and high rates of violent crime are cited as the main reasons Cleveland, Ohio, has been named the most stressed city in the United States in new research by WalletHub released on July 8.

Cleveland ranked first among the 180-plus cities, only slightly higher than Detroit, Michigan, and Baltimore, Maryland. Others in the top 10 were Memphis, Tennessee; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and New Orleans, Louisiana. Another Ohio city, Akron, also made the top 10.

Work, financial, family, and health and safety stress were other metrics considered in the study, with Cleveland ranking number one in financial stress and number two in health and safety stress.

Detroit, for example, ranked higher in family stress and health and safety stress than Cleveland but lower in work and financial stress.

Some other factors that contributed to a city’s stress included high unemployment, high rent and housing costs, residents’ mental health, and a high percentage of single-parent households.

Top 10 Most-Stressed Cities

  • 1. Cleveland, Ohio
  • 2. Detroit, Michigan
  • 3. Baltimore, Maryland
  • 4. Memphis, Tennessee
  • 5. Gulfport, Mississippi
  • 6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 7. Birmingham, Pennsylvania
  • 8. Akron, Ohio
  • 9. New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 10. Jackson, Mississippi

The lowest-ranked city on the list is Fremont, California, which the study noted has a 4.6 times lower divorce rate than Detroit, which ranked highest for that metric.

Other cities low on the stress list were Fargo, North Dakota; Lincoln, Nebraska; Portland, Maine; and Boise, Idaho.

Miami and nearby Hialeah, Florida, had the lowest unemployment in the study, though they ranked 72 and 73 in the study, near the middle.

“Some stress is out of our control, due to issues with family, friends or employers,” WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe said in an emailed statement provided to NTD News.

“However, where you live can play a big role in how stressed you are. Cities with high crime rates, weak economies, less effective public health and congested transportation systems naturally lead to elevated stress levels for residents. When moving, it’s important to consider how a certain city may impact your mental health—not just your financial opportunities.”

Research from The American Institute of Stress estimates that work stress costs U.S. employers more than $300 billion in annual losses due to accidents, absenteeism, and lower productivity. Another $190 billion in annual healthcare costs are attributed to work-related stress.

Marshall University Professor Ralph E. McKinney, Jr. offered suggestions for reducing workplace stress.

“In general, some work-related stress may be managed through fostering positive trusting relationships among leadership and employees,” Mr. McKinney said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times.

“Work-related stress can result from poor emotions and moods … An individual may experience stress differently and thus have different needs. When performance issues arise, leaders need to engage individuals to determine what level of support is needed. This can be reducing workloads, providing coping strategies, and in some cases, referrals to counseling services.”

Reducing stress does not have to be expensive or require moving out of a stressful environment, according to Stuart D. Sidle, the dean of Mercy University in New York City.

Mr. Sidle suggests meditation, walking in nature, and listening to music while enjoying a cup of tea or another beverage as simple ways to reduce stress and foster relaxation in your home and community.

“Relaxation does not have to be a luxury,” Mr. Sidel said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times. “Simple and budget-friendly activities can be just as practical in promoting relaxation, if not more so … The key to relaxation is understanding what personally brings you peace and joy. It is about finding those activities that allow you to stay absorbed in the present and not worry about the future or ruminating on the past.”