The lighter side of real estate

These Are The Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes In America

Laura Allan

112 articles, 1 comments

These Are The Most Stressed ZIP Codes In America

Where Does My Zip Code Rank?

How’s your day at work going? Well, we hope it’s not too bad, considering how stressful things can be nowadays. Bills to pay, rent that’s due, long commutes…it’s enough to make you want to tear your hair out. Could things really be any worse?

As it turns out, yes, it could be much worse. Don’t believe us? Well, here at the Movoto Real Estate Blog, we tend to be pretty good at making lists, and it doesn’t stress us out too much, so, we decided to make a list of the absolute most stressful ZIP codes to call home. Some of them will probably be a bit surprising.

The most stressed ZIP codes in the nation were:

1. 44093, Williamsfield, OH
2. 38647, Michigan City, MS
3. 93640, Mendota, CA
4. 36776, Sawyerville, AL
5. 38617, Coahoma, MS
6. 37018, Beechgrove, TN
7. 39743, Crawford, MS
8. 77032, Houston, TX
9. 85172, Stanfield, AZ
10. 29915, Daufuskie Island, SC

Now, you’re probably thinking that there’s no possible way that some little place in Ohio is more stressed out than your home ZIP. To find out how we got these results, just head down to the very next section, where we talk about our methods. If you’re curious about the 50 most stressed out spots, you can check the chart at the bottom and see if your home ranked.

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Our Methodology

This isn’t our first national Big Deal List, but let’s go over how exactly we do things for all you first timers out there. First, we made a list of all ZIP codes in the nation that had available data, which was a truly impressive 28,371 places. After that, we analyzed each place using data from the U.S. Census Five Year American Community Survey, in the following eight criteria:

  • Unemployment rate (the higher, the more stress)
  • Median household income (the lower, the more stress)
  • Percent of monthly income spent on rent (the higher, the more stress)
  • Monthly selected homeowner costs as a percent of income (the higher, the more stress)
  • Percent of families below the poverty line (the higher, the more stress)
  • Average commute time (the higher, the more stress)
  • Percent of population without health insurance (the higher, the more stress)
  • Mean usual hours worked per week (the higher, the more stress)

It should be noted that all unemployment figures we used were a five-year average from 2008 to 2012.

From there, we ranked each ZIP code in each category from one to 28,371, with numbers closer to one being better rankings. Then, we averaged each place’s rankings into one overall Big Deal Score. The place with the lowest number for that score became our most stressed out ZIP code.

Still not totally convinced? Let’s take a look at each of our top 10 ZIPs in a little more detail to see why they ranked where did. In the meanwhile, why not relax a little? We’re sure you’ve earned it.

1. 44093, Williamsfield, OH,

10 Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

Source: Google maps

Who would have thought that a Ohio little ZIP code of only 984 people would be so big on stress factors? Isn’t small-town living supposed to relieve stress? Well, that didn’t seem the case here, considering locals worked an average of 42.4 hours a week, 39.5 percent of them without any health insurance.

The bad news didn’t stop there. Locals also spent an average of 50 percent of their paychecks on rent each month, and a whopping 14.29 percent of folks here were unemployed. Even for those who were employed and working hard, 40.76 percent of families were struggling below the poverty line, so there was really no escape from stress here.

It probably didn’t help that locals here also had basically no bars, restaurants, spas, or parks to relax in after a long day’s work. Obviously, those don’t fix stress problems, but they can help.

2. 38647, Michigan City, MS

10 Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

Source: Google maps

Not actually a city, this ZIP code was a bit behind our first place spot in stress factors, but still was all about keeping locals on their toes…and not in the fun way. Let’s start by saying that this place had the 14th lowest median household income, out of over 28,000 places. Yikes.

On top of that, around 50 percent of that income went to rent, or almost 30 percent to monthly homeowner costs. The unemployment was also nearly 19 percent, and almost 28 percent of locals here were without health insurance, despite workers toiling away for a median week of almost 40 hours.

The real kicker here, though, was the average commute time. Folks here spent an average of 45 minutes going to or from their jobs. Honestly, how do the folks in Michigan City find any free time to unwind? Hm, or maybe they just don’t.

3. 93640, Mendota, CA,

10 Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

Source: Flickr user Curtis Perry

This was one of the bigger ZIP codes in our top 10, at 11,600 people, but this spot still was stress city in a lot of ways. Mendota had a headache of stress scores across the board, with standouts being an unemployment rate over 25 percent, over 42 percent of families below the poverty line, and an average workweek of over 42 hours.

Another thing that should be noted, and may have something to do with the unemployment rate, was that almost 36 percent of locals were without health insurance. Given the low median household income and the large amount of money going to rent each month, that leaves a lot of potential problems for locals to ponder over.

This place had to have at least one perk though, right? Well, we will say that the average commute time was only 28 minutes, but that’s hardly a consolation.

4. 36776, Sawyerville, AL

10 Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

Source: Google maps

If you want to find a place where everyone is worried about their jobs, Sawyerville is probably a spot you want to check out. A stunning 38.65 percent of locals here were unemployed, and for those that did work, their average workweek was over 40 hours, and their commute was 34 minutes.

Beyond the job thing, though, was this place really so stressful? As it turns out, yes it was. 34.46 percent of families here were below the poverty line, and half of local’s income went just to paying rent. The median income was higher than in many others of our top 10, but $27,083 per year isn’t exactly something to brag about.

We suppose that many of the cotton plantations in the area are quite pretty, but the beauty of the area can only offer so much stress relief. We’re willing to bet it’s not enough.

5. 38617, Coahoma, MS

10 Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

Source: Flickr user Joseph

Do you enjoy sitting in traffic? No? Well, that’s not exactly surprising, but for the residents of this Mississippi ZIP code, a 42 minute commute is pretty much the norm. Plus, when you’re working an average of 41.6 hours per week, a lack of free time certainly lends to a stressful environment.

This spot had plenty more to stress about, though. The median income was quite low, 37.1 percent of families were below the poverty line, and almost 40 percent of income went to rent each month.

To top it all off, the unemployment rate here was high at 14.75 percent, and over 25 percent of locals had no health insurance. A better question, than our traffic query, might be what isn’t there to be stressed about here?

6. 37018, Beechgrove, TN

10 Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

Source: Flickr user Jeremy Breece

This ZIP code has Civil War history, interesting landmarks, and even a very pretty sounding name. That’s not so bad, right? Unfortunately for the 1,821 people who live in this Tennessee area, that’s where the perks kinda stop.

Roughly 46 percent of income here went to monthly rent, 17.21 percent of locals were unemployed, and a depressing 20.55 percent of families were below the poverty line. More than that, over 34 percent of people who lived here didn’t have health insurance, so you can bet that stress was generally pretty high.

The working Joe didn’t fare much better, either. The average work week was almost 41 minutes, and the average commute time was 32 minutes. So that free time meant to be used to de-stress? Yeah, locals don’t really have that.

7. 39743, Crawford, MS

10 Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

Source: Wikimedia user Kevin Galvin

It’s really hard to know where to begin with this 1,492 person ZIP code. Perhaps it’s the 50 percent of income that was spent on rent each month. Maybe it was the long commute times and overload of work hours that locals have to endure. No matter how you spin it, this was one stressful place to call home.

In particular, the unemployment here was an issue. Almost 27 percent of people who lived in this area were unemployed, which probably had a little something to do with the almost 33 percent of families below the poverty line.

Even for those who were working, the median income here was below $24,688, and even if the area you live in is pretty inexpensive, that’s still a very small amount to stretch over the course of an entire year.

8. 77032, Houston, TX

10 Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

Source: Flickr user wayne mah

Now, you may have expected bigger places like this in our top 10, and Houston shows up more than once in our top 50. However, this Texas ZIP was definitely the most stressful in the state. For one thing, almost 40 percent of paychecks for locals was spent on rent each month, leaving little left for recreation and unwinding.

Beyond that, this place was hardly kind to its workers. Locals worked an average of 39.2 hours per week, endured a 31 minute commute, made less than $22,500 per year, and even then only 38.37 percent of people here had health insurance. You can probably see how this could be a stressful environment.

If work isn’t killing folks, that might be because 22.17 percent of locals were unemployed, leading to a staggering 42.41 percent of them below the poverty line.

9. 85172, Stanfield, AZ

10 Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

Source: Google maps

Arizona isn’t exactly known for being wealthy, except maybe in Scottsdale, but this area was particularly problematic in the wealth department. The median household income was low, the unemployment was over 14 percent, and about half of income was spent on rent each month. All of that pretty much equals big time stress.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, locals also had a 39 minute average commute time and a truly debilitating 45.7 average hour work week. You’d think all of that would lead to folks at least being insured, but over 37.5 percent of locals were without health insurance.

We will say that the poverty was a bit lower here, at 11.76 percent of families, but that’s still a fairly high, and stress-inducing, number.

10. 29915, Daufuskie Island, SC

10 Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

Source: Flickr user bradley taylor

Let’s just say, this place is pretty cool. It’s a bit of a South Carolina resort town, and is only about eight miles in size. It’s pretty, historic, and a truly unique environment, but if you’re thinking of relaxing in this island paradise ZIP code, you’d best think again.

For starters, the unemployment here was pretty astounding, at over 27 percent, and those that did have jobs worked an average of 46.8 hours per week. As the topping on that long work week sundae, the commute times were 47 minutes on average.

It’s true that the median income here was quite a bit higher than in other spots in our top 10, at almost $50,000. However, when you’re spending half of that income on rent each month, or 23.6 percent on monthly homeowner costs, that’s not exactly a whole lot left over to save or enjoy.

So…Are You Sweating Yet?

Just reading about how hard these folks work or struggle in their given hometowns leave us feeling exhausted. It even makes that work week ahead of us seem a little less stressful…maybe.

If you’re looking to find a place that offers less gray hair and white knuckles, in work or play, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We know buying a new home is a stressful experience, but we know some pretty relaxing spots, and we might even be able to make the buying process a little easier on your nerves.

Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes

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posted on: December 1, 2014
24,673 views, 3 comments


  1. Peter Saputo

    So you assume that the wealthy are the the least stressed and the poor are the most stressed. Really?

  2. PJordan

    Have you considered that in Daufuskie Island, SC, the high cost rentals might be vacation rentals? BTW love the blog.

  3. Eric Palmer

    TRUE–People do not work here. They do not want to or have to. Government provides all the money, food, housing and medical care that is needed. RENT ? You should really get acquainted with all the government programs that are available and over used here. Then, you will understand WHY people flock here to get them !
    The majority of the residents drive NEW vehicles and there may be 5 of them parked in one family’s yard. Since all of their living expenses are totally provided for, they have much left for hundreds $ to spend at the near-by casino and all kinds of entertainment for the whole family–they have the latest and greatest in all technologies–yes they get FREE cell phones, but buy their own ALSO ! One person may have 3 cell phones. DRIVING ? The only driving done is to go to entertainment spots or shopping–not to work. There are MANY work opportunities within a 15 mile radius. HEALTH & DENTAL INSURANCE–none is needed. Right– so they do not HAVE any ! COMPLETE HEALTH COVERAGE IS PROVIDED FREE, EVEN IF NOT CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY. Free health care services are even brought right to them in the town, itself–but they have all medical facilities available from bigger towns, also. Again, you REALLY need to know how to ACCURATLY analyze your data and GET REALISTIC with corrections and TRUTH. Until that happens, this info is worthless. So, learn from it.


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