If you want to live a less stressed life, you better avoid Florida, according to some studies.
Seems a bit surprising as that's where many retirees end up living. But according to Sperling's BestPlaces study, five of the top ten metro areas that rank high in the stress study are located in Florida.
The research firm that specializes in livability rankings released its 2012 Stressful Cities study which ranks the 50 largest metro areas where there is the most and least amount of stress.
Topping the chart, Tampa, Florida is the "Most stressful City". Other areas in Florida include: Miami (#3), Jacksonville (#4), Orlando (#6), and West Palm Beach (#10). Whoa...what's going on in Florida?
In a press statement, the lead researcher showed his surprise by the findings."Frankly, I was shocked by the concentration of Florida cities clustered in the top ten. But when we look into the statistics, we can see some of the reasons," said Bert Sperling.
Sperling points to the stress factors: high levels of divorce and suicide, high unemployment, and Florida's turbulent real estate market. Additional factors, reported by residents in most of the Florida cities in the study, included depression and high crime rates.
Rounding out the top ten most stressful metro areas are: Las Vegas (#2), Detroit (#5), Riverside, CA (#7), Sacramento (#8), and Seattle (#9). Sperling comments on Seattle.
"It isn't a city we normally think of as stressful, but the divorces, suicides and alcohol use are near the 80th percentile for our study, commuting is painful, and crime is surprisingly high."
The study used the following data (listed in order or importance) to determine rankings: unemployment rate, suicide rate, commute time, mental health (days per month with poor mental health, from an annual CDC survey), poor rest (days per month without adequate restful sleep, CDC survey), alcohol use (drinks per month, CDC survey), violent crime rates, property crime rate, and cloudy days annually.
According to Sperling, "Suicide is perhaps the last desperate act of a stressful life, and is closely correlated with divorce at a statistical level. In our study, the rates of suicide and divorce had an R-squared correlation value of 0.78, which indicates a very strong association." He added, "We also considered crime to be relatively less important. For reasons unclear to sociologists, crime in our society continues to decline, and is becoming less of a factor."
The study also revealed the cities with the least stress. It seems the folks in Minneapolis are the most stress-free. Other least-stressed cities, ranking in the top ten, include: Long Island, NY; Cambridge, MA; San Jose, CA; Washington, DC; Orange County, CA; Virginia Beach; Pittsburgh; Dallas; and Cleveland.
The Sperling study aims to help people find their own "Best Place" to live, work, and retire. To see all of the 50 metro areas and their rankings in the Stressful Cities 2012 study, visit BestPlaces.net.