Whether you’ve resided and loved the D.C. area all your life, or you’ve adopted the area as your home, everyone can admit there are downsides to living here.
Anywhere you live, you’re bound to have some gripes about the place. But the things we complain about the most are also some of the biggest causes of our daily stress. Now, one study finds stress levels in the D.C. area are higher than in most other parts of the country.
The job-seeking site Zippia ranked the stress level of every state in the country (D.C. wasn’t included) based on six metrics: commute times, unemployment rates, the number of hours worked each week, population density, the ratio of home prices to income, and the number of people who aren’t insured. In the end, it ranked Maryland as the fifth-most stressed state in the country, Virginia the eighth-most.
“For better or worse, a lot of these factors relate to our jobs,” said Kathy Morris, a marketing manager with Zippia. “Since we’re at work eight hours a day, more or less, the quality of our jobs, how much we make, how long we drive to get there, whether we even have a job at all, and how much of our paycheck goes to just supporting our basic subsistence really can impact the level of stress people feel.”
Maryland and Virginia both “have an extremely high average commute time,” said Morris, thanks to the rise in housing costs in areas closer to the city. “Those are the two areas that really determine their fate.”
Those of us who live in both states also tend to work longer hours than our friends and relatives who live in other parts of the country, which also contributes to stress.
She said there’s also data that show the more packed in together that people are, the more stressed out they get.
“And both Maryland and Virginia have a fairly high population density,” said Morris.
The four states that ranked ahead of Maryland for stress were, in order, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, and California. Georgia and Delaware were sandwiched between Maryland and Virginia.
Want to move to a state with a lower amount of stress? You’ll have to move pretty far.
The least-stressed state in the country was Iowa, followed by North Dakota, Minnesota, Utah and Montana.
“Big factors that help there are honestly an incredible work-life balance,” said Morris. Speaking about Midwestern residents, she said, “They don’t commute very far; houses are cheap, and their hours worked are slightly more manageable than what we found in Virginia and Maryland.”