A Stress Test for America

Source: G. Scott Thomas, Portfolio/American City Business Journals, September 7, 2010

Millions upon millions of Americans are stressing out.

Forty percent of the nation’s workers say they experience stress on a daily basis, according to a Gallup Poll from June. That number climbs to 50 percent among the unemployed. And the problem seems to be getting worse. Forty-eight percent of U.S. adults believe the stress in their lives has escalated during the past half-decade, says the American Psychological Association.

Several factors contribute to the daily pressure that Americans feel, ranging from unemployment and shaky personal finances to traffic, crime, and pollution. The intensity of this toxic mixture varies from market to market across the country, as does the level of stress.

Nowhere is the situation worse than in Detroit, which ranks as the most stressful metropolitan area in America, according to a new study by Portfolio.com and bizjournals.

Detroit is burdened with a hefty unemployment rate, 14.3 percent at midyear, the third-worst figure in the nation’s 50 largest markets. It’s also among the 10 places with the most murders, the most robberies, the most heart attacks, the most families in poverty, and the fewest sunny days.

The result, to Detroit’s misfortune, is America’s ultimate recipe for stress.

Portfolio.com and bizjournals created a 10-part formula to estimate the stress levels in the nation’s 50 biggest metros, using the latest data available from several government agencies and private firms.
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