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Cities in Midwest states ranked in top 20 cities for stress

(The Center Square) – Detroit and Milwaukee stood out among the Great Lakes states’ cities in a new report on stress across the U.S.

The report compared 182 cities: the 150 most populated U.S. cities along with at least two of the most populated cities in each state. The cities were ranked across 39 metrics across four categories: work stress, financial stress, and health and safety stress.

 More than 100 cities had more stress compared with Iowa’s Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Minnesota’s St. Paul and Minneapolis, Wisconsin’s Madison and Michigan’s Grand Rapids, WalletHub reported in its 2023’s Most & Least Stressed Cities in America report. Detroit, however, was the second most stressed city, and Milwaukee wasn’t far behind, at 19th.

According to the report, Detroit has the worst health and safety stress and the second-worst financial stress across these cities. It has the 29th highest family stress and the 50th highest work stress. Detroit has the fourth-lowest median credit score, the highest poverty rate and the second-highest divorce rate. The city has the highest percentage of adults who get fewer than seven hours of sleep per night.

Milwaukee’s least favorable ranking was 12th place for family stress. It placed 28th for work stress, 39th for financial stress and 40th for health and safety stress.

Some of the other Great Lakes states cities were in the top 20 for positive measures.

Madison, which was the 12th least stressed city, had the ninth least financial stress and the second-highest portion of adults who get an average of at least seven hours of sleep per night.

Cedar Rapids, the 15th least stressed city, has the 11th least family stress. It also has the most affordable housing. Des Moines has the third most affordable housing.

Minneapolis and St. Paul tied for the second-lowest portion of adults in fair or poor health.

Grand Rapids was the 143rd most stressed city in the report, with the 161st most family stress.

Cleveland, Ohio, was the most stressful city in America while South Burlington, Vermont, was the least stressed, according to the report.

Hope College management professor Marcus Fila, who’s a work stress and turnover researcher, said in the report that employers can reduce excessive, chronic work-related stress, which can create burnout or counterproductive work behavior, by getting to the root cause of the problem and preventing it from happening or reducing the risk of it happening. That includes making sure employees have the level of autonomy and discretion that befits their capabilities. Tasks should be things someone in the role expects that they need to do as part of the job.

He recommended the many people who find managing finances stressful to categorize money so they can avoid big financial surprises.

“Always save something, even if things are tight – the feeling of accomplishment and progress towards greater stability is tangible,” he said.

Part of being able to relax is doing so within financial constraints, he said. Someone who finds eating well important for relaxation could learn to cook some of their favorite foods.

“Cooking can be relaxing in itself, but the efficacy of being able to really satisfy your appetite and feel like you have had a treat without blowing your budget is a very nice feeling,” he said.

Those who want to exercise for relaxation can explore activities that are free or low cost, like running, walking or cycling. Those with family stress can find something everyone has in common and try to keep other tensions from interrupting the fun, he said.

“Having a change of scenery, even for a day, can work well too,” he said.

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