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These Are The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Take a deep breath and try to relax as we take a look at the most stressed out suburbs in the nation.

Laura Allan

89 articles, 1 comments

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In today’s busy working world, it can be easy to get swept up and stressed out with all the things you have to—and often don’t want to—do. But there are some places in the suburbs where you can relax from the big city hustle and bustle, right?

We’re sure there are, but you also might be surprised to find out that there are some not so relaxing burbs out there too.

The Movoto Real Estate Blog is more concerned with those stressful places, and seeing as it’s our business to inform you about different sorts of places, we decided to rank them. We tried to relax and not overwork ourselves as we put together this list of suburbs that are probably sweating bullets daily:

1. Miami Beach, FL
2. Santa Monica, CA
3. Mount Vernon, NY
4. Neptune Beach, FL
5. Atlantic Beach, FL
6. Signal Hill, CA
7. Inglewood, CA
8. Lomita, CA
9. Alexandria, VA (tie)
9. Jacksonville Beach, FL (tie)

It seems both Florida and California really represent in the stressed category, which makes sense considering those states’ ranking for the most stressed states.

But how did we determine stress factors? We’ll try to keep things even-keel as we go over our criteria. Don’t worry, we’ve done all the calculations for you, so all you have to do is kick back and read.

How We Created This Ranking

To start, we collected data for 137 different suburbs using sources like the 2010 U.S. Census and the 2012 FBI Uniform Crime Report. We then ranked them from one to 137 across our eight criteria:

  • Commute time
  • Unemployment rate
  • Crimes per 100,000 people
  • Cost of living
  • Average hours worked per person
  • Population density
  • Divorce percentage
  • Percent of income spent on rent

We averaged each place’s rankings in each category into one Big Deal Score. The place with the Big Deal Score closest to one became our most stressful suburb, and that was Miami Beach.

Now, you might be wondering what we defined as a suburb, considering some of these are pretty big cities in their own right.  Well, we considered any large population center near one of the nation’s 50 largest cities a suburb, but we also factored in whether or not the place was denoted as a suburb on Wikipedia, in the list of inner-ring suburbs, or in any official capacity.

You may also be wondering where your hometown ranked, and you can find out that information in the table at the bottom of this article. for now, let’s focus on our 10 most stressful suburbs, which were still way less stressful than places like Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

1. Miami Beach, FL

The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Source: Flickr user Jamesy Pena

Sunshine, beautiful beaches, friendly people. All that’s a recipe for relaxation, right? Well, not exactly. Miami Beach surprisingly had the highest crime on our list and the fourth highest divorce percentage. It also had the sixth highest population density and over a third of the average paycheck is spent solely on rent. Yikes!

What really put this over the top and made it number one, however, was the averaged hours worked. In a week, most people work nearly 41 hours. That’s higher than most of the nation, and definitely higher than most other suburbs.

2. Santa Monica, CA

The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Source: Flickr user Parker Knight

We’ve got to say we were surprised about this one, but the numbers really tell the story. Santa Monica had the second highest cost of living on our list and the ninth highest population density. While those might not be the most stressful factors, they combine with high scores across the board, with no ranking being in the bottom half.

Probably the biggest factor here was the percent of income spent on rent, for which this city ranked third. Locals spend a total of 39 percent of their income on rent, which leaves little left over for that very high cost of living. This is definitely a place that could cling to the slogan “The rent is too damn high.”

3. Mount Vernon, NY

The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Source: Flickr user Misha Dontsov

The only New York representative on our list, Mount Vernon has a diverse population and a wide range of welcoming neighborhoods. Unfortunately it also has a ton of stress factors. To start, this place had the longest commute time on our list at an average of 37 minutes. Maybe it’s time to look into carpooling?

But the stress didn’t stop there. Mount Vernon had the ninth highest cost of living, the second highest population density, and the fourth highest percent of income spent on rent.

4. Neptune Beach, FL

The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Source: Flickr user Rusty Gillespie

This is by far the smallest city on our list at only 7,090 people. However, with this small town feel came a whole lot of big stress. Neptune beach locals worked an average of over 42 hours a week, which leaves less downtime for decompressing.

It also didn’t help that this place had a high divorce percentage and no scores across the board that ranked in the bottom half of our numbers. This is a beautiful and hardworking little place, but it sounds like they could afford to take a much deserved break every now and again.

5. Atlantic Beach, FL

The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Source: Flickr user Mark Kortum

You know, we’re beginning to think that beaches are not as relaxing as we once believed. Or maybe it’s just that people need the beaches to work off stress in their busy lives. Either way, another Florida beach city makes the list here, with stress factor rankings all in the top half of the numbers.

The standout number here was unfortunately in the relationship department. Atlantic Beach had the second highest divorce percentage on our list, which definitely contributed to their stressed-out ranking. Tough luck, Floridians, but there are plenty of fish in the sea.

6. Signal Hill, CA

The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Source: Flickr user Kevin McShane

This oil-boom city has a lot going for it. Beautiful parks, local sports, and great hiking are all offered in these parts. Unfortunately, one of the things this place doesn’t have is jobs.

Signal Hill had the ninth highest unemployment rate on our list at 7.6 percent. It also had a high cost of living, probably not helpful for the jobless, and a pretty high crime rate. Throw in high population density, and you have a crowded, expensive, and fairly dangerous place to call home, even if it is very pretty and homey.

7. Inglewood, CA

The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Source: Flickr user Voluntary Amputation

You might notice that there a lot of nearby suburbs on this list. Many of these places are near Jacksonville or Los Angeles and our No. 7 stressed city is a suburb of the second. With a long commute time and a high percent of earnings spent on rent, it’s pretty apparent why this place is stressed.

The standout score here, though, was unemployment. Ranking third in that category, nearly 10 percent of people here were jobless. On the bright side, the ones that do work are taking it easy with a workload of merely 37.7 hours per week. We suppose that’s a small consolation.

8. Lomita, CA

The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Source: Flickr user Jasperdo

Wrapping up the California representatives, Lomita can at least boast that residents here only worked an average of 38.8 hours per week. That being said, this is still a pretty stressful city. With the tenth highest population density and a high cost of living, this is one crowded and pricy little place.

Unfortunately, this place also had high unemployment. Tied for ninth with Signal Hill, 7.6 percent of locals here were jobless. Considering that a lot of income was also spent on rent, that doesn’t bode well for those just scraping by. It’s ok, Lomita, you have every right to feel stressed out.

9. Alexandria, VA

The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Source: Flickr user elstudio

It’s been an interesting year for Alexandria. We’ve ranked them as an exciting city, a snobby one, and now a stressful one. At least we know they’re certainly a busy and active community. And we do mean busy. The average local works 41.5 hours per week, but at least the income here is fairly high too.

The stress doesn’t stop there, though. Alexandria had a very long average commute time, a high population density, and a high cost of living as well. Locals would do well to remember that they have high-end excitement at their fingertips, and relax at a play or park once in a while.

9. Jacksonville Beach, FL

The 10 Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

Source: Flickr user Vince LoPresti

Tied for ninth is another Florida beach city that actually does have a few perks. The commute time was fairly low, and it’s not so crowded as any other place in our top 10. Still, it did have some pretty teeth-grinding stats.

Jacksonville Beach has the ninth highest crime on our list and a very divorce percentage as well. Much of earnings were spent on rent and the cost of living was hardly low. Keep working, guys, the sooner you can hit those beaches, the better.

Just Remember To Breathe

Florida and California should probably also remember to take a break once in a while, considering how many of their suburbs made this list.

These are hard-working, social, and often friendly cities, but they also seem to breed nail-biting and sleepless nights. If you’re feeling stressed in the days to come, just take a deep breath, and thank your lucky stars you don’t live in one of these stressed-out suburbs.

And if you do? Well…just keep taking those deep breaths, okay?

Most Stressed Out Suburbs In America

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posted on: July 11, 2014
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2 Comments

  1. An

    You are wrong about commute time…. 29-30 minutes for mount vernon, that’s pretty easy to check. And we have two metro north trains and we are near two subways and every major highway.

  2. Josh

    A different perspective on Santa Monica: I am a middle school teacher who lives with my husband and two dogs in a 1-bedroom apartment four blocks from the beach and a 10-minute walk to the Promenade. Yes, our rent is expensive ($1,800/month), but our apartment is spacious with a balcony, and the building is well-maintained and has a secure parking space, an outdoor heated pool, and very friendly neighbors. We are not super rich, but we are comfortably middle class, earning a combined income of 120K/year. I ride my bike 15 minutes to work every day on Santa Monica’s extensive network of green bike lanes, and my husband commutes 10 minutes to Brentwood where he works for a start-up. We only own one car, and we rarely use it because Santa Monica is the most walkable part of Los Angeles. We walk to the Farmers Markets and our neighborhood Whole Foods, and we regularly bike, jog, rollerblade, and skateboard on the protected beach bike path that runs all the way to Pacific Palisades and Venice Beach. We are huge fitness buffs, but we do not pay for a gym membership because Santa Monica has the largest free outdoor gym in the world — Muscle Beach. It’s incredible. Santa Monica also has the highest number of donation-based yoga studios per capita, so I practice yoga twice a week. Like any city, there are expensive restaurants, but Santa Monica has amazing happy hours where you can get cheap cocktails and affordable appetizers and entrees. Santa Monica also has a phenomenal public library, a beautiful public beach club, a free summer concert series, free movies in the park, a clean and efficient bus system, and tons of green space for relaxation. No wonder so many homeless people want to be here! And, the homeless are not aggressive here. They keep to themselves, and they are people just like you and me. I feel safe walking and biking at night anywhere in Santa Monica, and I never feel like I have to look over my shoulder. I have been gay bashed in London and Brooklyn, but I have never experienced homophobia in Santa Monica. People are liberal, socially conscious, and accepting. I am a middle class Santa Monican who can’t imagine living anywhere else. The weather is perfect and lends itself to living a healthy and balanced lifestyle that I would characterize as blissful and free of stress. That’s just my perspective.

 

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