A new WalletHub analysis finds Louisiana tops the most stressed states based on work, money, family and health/safety-related stress
So much for the Big Easy.
Louisiana is the most stressed state in the country, according to a new WalletHub ranking, followed by New Mexico, West Virginia, Mississippi and Nevada. New York sits at No. 26 on the list, which compared states on various metrics of work-related stress, money-related stress, family-related stress and health/safety-related stress.
The Creole State’s top spot didn’t come as a shock, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez told Moneyish in an email, since it had ranked second on last year’s list. A number of factors weighed down its ranking, she added: “For instance, Louisiana has the third lowest Income Growth Rate (at 1.3%) and third lowest Median Credit Score (at 656),” she said. “The state also has the third highest percentage of Population Living Below Poverty Line at almost 20%, the second highest Share of People Unable to Save for Children’s College at 70.14%, and the third highest Separation & Divorce Rate at 25.27%.”
The analysis took into account factors like median income; debt per median earnings; shares of adults worried about money and unable to save for their children’s college; housing affordability; separation and divorce rate; cost of childcare; share of parents lacking emotional support; mental health; suicide rate; psychologists per capita; unaffordability of doctor visits; physical activity rate; and the percentage of adults getting at least seven hours of sleep.
Alaskans, for example, worked the most hours per week on average; those in Utah worked the fewest. Wyoming had the lowest job security, while Colorado had the highest. The state with the highest percentage of its population living below the poverty line was Mississippi, while New Hampshire was on the opposite end of the spectrum.
Hawaii got the fewest hours of sleep on average, while South Dakota caught the most Zs. Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Kentucky had the highest percentage of adults in fair or poor health, while Utah, D.C., Minnesota, South Dakota and Vermont had the lowest percentage. People in Mississippi had the lowest credit scores, while Minnesotans had the highest. States with the least affordable housing, unsurprisingly, were Hawaii, D.C., California, New York and Oregon.
“A great deal of stress stems from financial matters, since worrying about not being able to make ends meet has been linked to negative outcomes — family conflict, marital problems, even trouble sleeping and excessive weight gain/loss,” Gonzalez said. “People should target the root cause and do some planning around their finances. Asking for a financial counselor’s advice can be useful, and creating a spending plan or a budget can also be a good idea.”
The American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America survey, meanwhile, found no regional differences in stress levels — though adults living in the West were more likely to hold the future of the nation as a “somewhat or very significant source of stress” than people in the East, Midwest or South. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being “a great deal of stress,” women averaged 5.1 compared to men’s 4.4. Black and Hispanic men reported an average of 4.8, while white men averaged 4.2.
The most common sources of stress, according to the APA’s August 2017 survey of 3,440 adults, were the future of our nation (63%), money (62%), work (61%), the current political climate (57%) and violence and crime (51%).
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