Stress isn’t always bad. According to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the reaction can teach you how to manage potentially threatening situations. But prolonged, chronic stress can be quite harmful.
Defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as “the body and brain’s response to any demand, including work, school, exercise, major life changes and traumatic events,” stress affects millions worldwide.
And while everyone gets a little stressed out now and then, residents in some American states might have it worse than others.
That’s according to personal finance website WalletHub, which recently ranked 2019’s most and least stressed states in the country, an analysis based on four key dimensions: work-related stress, money-related stress, family-related stress and health-/safety-related stress.
The dimensions were evaluated using 40 relevant metrics. For example, job security, average working hours and commute time fell under work-related stress. Parental leave policies and childcare costs were assessed to determine family-related stress scores.
Data from the U.S. Census, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Housing and Urban Development and several other sources were collected to create this ranking.
According to WalletHub, the most stressed-out state is Louisiana, which ranked second for work-related stress; third for money-related stress; fourth for health and safety and seventh for family-related stress.
The least stressed state? Minnesota.
Georgia finished 15th in the WalletHub ranking, a drop from its spots at No. 12 and No. 8 in 2018 and 2017, respectively.
Here’s more on how Georgia fared:
- Overall rank: 15
- Work-related stress: 16
- Money-related stress: 10
- Family-related stress: 23
- Health- and safety-related stress: 22
Last year, WalletHub conducted a similar study in which analysts examined more than 180 American cities to determine the most and least stressed in the country. Three Georgia cities ranked among the 50 most stressed cities in the nation: Columbus (No. 15); Augusta (No. 24) and Atlanta (No. 42).
It’s hardly a surprise to see Georgia rank among the top 10 for money-related stress. In fact, according to Save the Children’s second annual End of Childhood Report released last year, in Georgia, 1 in 3 rural children are growing up in poverty.
“We really need to treat child poverty in the U.S. like it is an emergency,” Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Nedra Rhone.
Another report from Bloomberg last year found that the Peach State’s capital city of Atlanta is the most unequal large city in the country.
“The home of several Fortune 500 companies, including Delta Air Lines Inc. and Coca-Cola Co., the city boasts extreme wealth, with many executives earning top-dollar salaries,” Bloomberg reported. “At the same time, many individuals work low-paying jobs in the hospitality and retail sector. The city’s poverty rate sits at 24 percent − or nearly one in four people.”
According to the Census, about 18 percent of Atlanta households earn an annual income of $150,000 or more, compared to 9.3 percent of households making less than $10,000 per year.
To even be in the top 1 percent of Georgia earners, Georgians would have to make $345,876 annually, according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute.