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For the 2nd year running, the winner is Chicago

Sinking property values, high unemployment and prices, and poor environments add to the pressure felt by residents in these metros.
Few enjoy their commute. Just ask Stephen Dinwiddie, M.D., a psychiatrist at the University of Chicago.
“I think anybody who, like I do, commutes on the Kennedy on a daily basis knows exactly what stress is,” he says, of his daily home-to-work commute on Chicago’s expressway that extends from the Chicago Loop to O’Hare International Airport. “It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to several centuries–at least subjectively.”
But more pressing factors make Chicago for the second year in a row the country’s most stressful city. Crowding, poor air quality, a high 11% unemployment rate and free-falling home values have created a cocktail of constant worry affecting many in the Windy City.
Los Angeles, Calif., ranks second, followed by New York, N.Y., Cleveland, Ohio, and Providence, R.I.
Behind the Numbers
To find the country’s most stressful cities, we examined quality of life factors in the country’s 40 largest metropolitan statistical areas, or metros–geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for use by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics. We looked at June 2009 unemployment figures provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and cost of living figures from the Council for Community and Economic Research. We examined median home-price drops from Q1 2008 to Q1 2009 that were provided by the National Association of Realtors. Population density based on 2008 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and ESRI also factored. Last, we examined the number of sunny and partly sunny days per year, based on 2007 data from the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, as well as air-quality figures, based on 2007 data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Sinking property values, high unemployment and prices, and poor environments add to the pressure felt by residents in these metros.

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2nd Place – Los Angeles

Few enjoy their commute. Just ask Stephen Dinwiddie, M.D., a psychiatrist at the University of Chicago.

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3rd Place – New York City

“I think anybody who, like I do, commutes on the Kennedy on a daily basis knows exactly what stress is,” he says, of his daily home-to-work commute on Chicago’s expressway that extends from the Chicago Loop to O’Hare International Airport. “It takes anywhere from 30 minutes to several centuries–at least subjectively.”

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4th Place – Cleveland, Ohio

But more pressing factors make Chicago for the second year in a row the country’s most stressful city. Crowding, poor air quality, a high 11% unemployment rate and free-falling home values have created a cocktail of constant worry affecting many in the Windy City.

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5th Place – Providence, R.I

Behind the Numbers

To find the country’s most stressful cities, we examined quality of life factors in the country’s 40 largest metropolitan statistical areas, or metros–geographic entities defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for use by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics. We looked at June 2009 unemployment figures provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and cost of living figures from the Council for Community and Economic Research. We examined median home-price drops from Q1 2008 to Q1 2009 that were provided by the National Association of Realtors. Population density based on 2008 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and ESRI also factored. Last, we examined the number of sunny and partly sunny days per year, based on 2007 data from the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, as well as air-quality figures, based on 2007 data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

RANK MSA MEDIAN HOME PRICE DROP UNEMPLOYMENT RATE COST OF LIVING AIR QUALITY SUNNY DAYS PER YEAR POPULATION DENSITY
1 Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL-IN-WI 14 10 16 2 9 4
2 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 8 11 4 7 37 2
3 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 21 25 1 5 24 1
4 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH 10 17 28 18 4 9
4 Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA 16 5 10 30 12 13
6 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 1 16 2 34 33 3
7 Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 29 1 24 22 7 7
8 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 17 30 7 20 12 5
9 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 12 40 5 7 14 14
10 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 2 6 3 33 33 16
11 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 22 23 9 16 3 21
12 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 4 2 12 3 37 40
13 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 35 26 8 11 17 6
14 Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA 24 7 15 26 1 32
15 Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA 7 8 13 14 36 30
16 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 11 17 6 27 35 15
17 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 25 29 17 6 11 24
17 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 13 9 29 23 30 8
19 Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN 18 17 35 13 5 25
20 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 6 13 14 40 32 10
20 Las Vegas-Paradise, NV 5 4 19 11 37 39
22 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA 15 13 25 28 23 18
23 St. Louis, MO-IL 20 21 38 4 14 33
23 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 37 22 21 29 10 11
25 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 3 31 21 1 40 35
25 Baltimore-Towson, MD 32 33 11 24 19 12
25 Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC 27 3 33 25 21 22
28 Orlando-Kissimmee, FL 9 11 23 38 29 23
29 Pittsburgh, PA 34 36 34 9 2 26
30 Indianapolis-Carmel, IN 26 26 37 17 8 27
31 Columbus, OH 28 24 29 34 5 28
32 Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 35 33 38 10 16 19
32 Jacksonville, FL 19 15 26 37 25 29
34 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 33 37 18 32 19 20
35 Denver-Aurora, CO /1 23 35 20 18 31 34
36 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 38 31 36 15 28 17
36 Kansas City, MO-KS 31 26 27 21 22 38
38 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 29 20 40 31 18 37
39 San Antonio, TX 39 39 29 36 26 36
40 Austin-Round Rock, TX 40 38 32 39 27 31

Via Forbes

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