A New Report Ranks How Stressed Each U.S. State Is. Here's Where California Ranks

If you want to find your zen, have you considered moving to Utah?

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Everybody gets stressed sometimes, especially during the past two years as the COVID-19 pandemic has raged on. But different people react to stressful situations differently, and the stressful situations each person faces can vary based on a variety of factors.

One of those factors, according to a new report from WalletHub, is what state you live in.

Their study "compared the 50 states across 41 key indicators of stress," divided those key indicators into four categories, and then ranked each state based on the results.

Here's what they found.

Source: WalletHub

How Did They Get Their Rankings?

To determine where each state ranked for each of the different stress factors, WalletHub compiled detailed data from many, many sources.


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The study looked at information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the CDC, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the National Partnership for Women & Families, the FBI and a number of other organizations.

That data then allowed the researchers to determine different metrics for each state, for each of the 41 categories that they used to measure stress.

The subcategories were sorted into four broader categories that researchers then gave an overall score. Those categories and subcategories are:

Work-Related Stress:

  • Average Hours Worked per Week
  • Average Commute Time
  • Average Leisure Time Spent per Day
  • Job Security
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Underemployment Rate
  • Income Growth Rate

Money-Related Stress:

  • Median Income
  • Debt per Median Earnings
  • Median Credit Score
  • Personal Bankruptcy Rate
  • Share of Adults Worried about Money
  • Economic Confidence Index
  • Share of People Unable to Save for Children’s College
  • Share of Adults Paying Only Minimum on Credit Card(s)
  • Share of Population Living in Poverty
  • Housing Affordability

Family-Related Stress:

  • Separation and Divorce Rate
  • Share of Single Parents
  • Cost of Childcare
  • “Parental-Leave Policy” Score
  • Parental Stress
  • Share of Parents Without Emotional Support
  • Share of Parents Who Changed /Quit Jobs Due to Problems with Child Care

Health- & Safety-Related Stress

  • Percentage of Residents 12+ Who Are Fully Vaccinated
  • Share of Adults in Fair or Poor Health
  • Share of Adults Diagnosed with Depression
  • Mental Health
  • Suicide Rate
  • Unaffordability of Doctor Visits
  • Share of Parents Frustrated in Efforts to Get Health Services for Their Child
  • Increase in Annual Health Insurance Premiums
  • Share of Insured Population
  • Psychologists per Capita
  • Physical Activity Rate
  • Share of Adults Getting Adequate Sleep
  • Bullying Incidents Rate
  • Crime Rate per Capita
  • Hate-Crime Incidents per Capita
  • Well-Being Index
  • Quality of Infrastructure

The points put into the 41 subcategories were weighted differently based on how vital researchers felt they were to a person's stress level.

For example, points given to housing affordability -- something that could cause someone a great deal of worry based on where they live -- were doubled in weight, while the physical activity rate was given half weight.

The "Percentage of Residents 12+ Who Are Fully Vaccinated" subcategory was given a high level of consideration, with a quadruple weight.

Each of the broader categories had a total of 25 points, adding up to a total 100 points for all four broad categories.

The total number out of 100 for each state is how the researchers ranked all 50 states. The lower the final score, the lower the stress level.

Which State is the Most Stressed?

With a total score of 61.38, Louisiana was ranked the most stressed state in the U.S. overall, according to WalletHub's report.

Louisiana saw the second-highest ranking in the country for both the Money-Related Stress and Health- and Safety- Related Stress, and was ranked with the third-highest Work-Related Stress level.

When it came to Family-Related Stress, Louisiana was a bit lower down the list at number 7 -- but still in the single-digits.

Here are the highest-ranking states in each of the four stress categories:

Work-Related Stress: Alaska, ranked 16th for stress level overall.
Money-Related Stress: Mississippi, ranked 5th for stress level overall.
Family-Related Stress: Nevada, ranked 2nd for stress level overall.
Health- and Safety-Related Stress: West Virginia, ranked 4th for stress level overall.

Which State is the Least Stressed?

With a total score of 32.26 overall, Utah was the most relaxed state in the U.S., according to WalletHub's report.

Utah was the least stressed at number 50 on the list when it came to Work-Related Stress, and had the second-to-last ranking when it came to family stress at number 49 on the list.

The state ranked 29th for Money-Related Stress and 28th for Health- and Safety-Related Stress.

Here are the lowest-ranking, most-relaxed states in each of the four stress categories:

Work-Related Stress: Utah, ranked 50th for stress level overall.
Money-Related Stress: North Dakota, ranked 44th for stress level overall.
Family-Related Stress: South Dakota, ranked 48th for stress level overall.
Health- and Safety-Related Stress: Hawaii, ranked 45th for stress level overall.

Where Does California Rank?

California was ranked 14th on the list in the report, with a total overall score of 49.08.

Here's where the Golden State measured up in each of the four stress categories:

Work-Related Stress: 21st
Money-Related Stress: 15th
Family-Related Stress: 8th
Health- and Safety-Related Stress: 32nd

When it came to the subcategories, California tended to fall somewhere in the middle for most of the specific stressors, the researchers found.

However, the state ranks 2nd when it comes to "Least Affordable Housing," right behind Hawaii at number one.

Get more details about the report here.

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