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July 10, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Memphis fourth most stressed city in the nation

That's according to an analysis of 39 key metrics reviewed by WalletHub.

Feeling a little stressed? If so, you are not alone if you live in Tennessee.

In fact, Memphis is the fourth most stressed city among 182 ranked in the latest listing from WalletHub, the personal financial website. The biggest stressor for the West Tennessee city is financial – #4 among all U.S. cities, but closely followed by health and safety at #6 and family stress at #15. Work stress ranks much lower at #53.

To determine where Americans cope the best, WalletHub compared cities across 39 key metrics. The data set ranges from average weekly work hours to the unemployment rate to divorce and suicide rates.

Knoxville is the second highest-ranked Tennessee city among four in the listing at #57 followed by Chattanooga (#91) and Nashville (#101). Breaking down the data by stress category provides some interesting insights.

  • Work stress is less of a concern to residents in Knoxville (#153) and Chattanooga (#173) than it is to those who live in Nashville (#33).
  • For both East Tennessee cities, financial factors rank in the top one-third of stress factors – Knoxville (#65) and Chattanooga (#66). In the case of Nashville, those concerns are even less, ranking #95.
  • Health and safety are judged to be issues in both Knoxville (#21) and Chattanooga (#28), but less so in Nashville (#80).

Cleveland, OH topped the rankings, followed by Detroit, MI; Baltimore, MD; Memphis; and Gulfport, MS. Click here to review the rankings. As far as the methodology used, it is described below.

Work Stress – Total Points: 25

  • Average Weekly Work Hours: Full Weight (~2.94 Points).
  • Job Security: Full Weight (~2.94 Points).
  • Traffic Congestion: Full Weight (~2.94 Points).
    Note: This metric measures the annual hours spent in congestion per auto commuter.
  • Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~2.94 Points).
  • Underemployment Rate: Full Weight (~2.94 Points).
  • Share of Households where No Adults Work: Full Weight (~2.94 Points).
  • Average Commute Time (in Minutes): Half Weight (~1.47 Points).
  • Income Growth: Full Weight (~2.94 Points).
    Note: “Growth” compares income levels in 2022 versus in 2021.
  • Job Satisfaction Ranking: Full Weight (~2.94 Points).
    Note: This metric is based on Indeed Job Happiness Index.

Financial Stress – Total Points: 25

  • Median Annual Household Income: Full Weight (~2.50 Points)
    Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
  • Share of Households Behind on Bills in Past 12 Months: Full Weight (~2.50 Points).
  • Foreclosure Rate: Full Weight (~2.50 Points).
  • Personal-Bankruptcy Rate: Full Weight (~2.50 Points).
  • Median Debt per Median Earnings: Full Weight (~2.50 Points).
  • Median Credit Score: Full Weight (~2.50 Points).
  • Poverty Rate: Full Weight (~2.50 Points).
  • Food Insecurity: Full Weight (~2.50 Points).
    Note: Food Insecurity is the percentage of the population who did not have access to a reliable source of food during the past year.
  • Housing Affordability: Full Weight (~2.50 Points).
    Note: This metric was calculated as follows: Housing Costs (accounts for both rental and sale prices) / Median Annual Household Income.
  • Share of Seriously Underwater Mortgages: Full Weight (~2.50 Points).
    Note: This metric measures the proportion of seriously underwater mortgages, where the combined estimated balance of loans secured by those properties was at least 25 percent more than their estimated market value.

Family Stress – Total Points: 25

  • Separation & Divorce Rate: Full Weight (~5.00 Points).
  • Share of Single Parent Households: Full Weight (~5.00 Points).
  • Median Duration of Current Marriage: Full Weight (~5.00 Points).
  • Availability of Childcare Workers per Total Number of Children: Full Weight (~5.00 Points).
  • Child Care Cost: Full Weight (~5.00 Points).
    Note: Monthly Cost of Preschool (or Kindergarten), Full Day, Private for 1 Child (proxy for childcare cost).

Health & Safety Stress – Total Points: 25

  • Share of Adults in Fair or Poor Health: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Share of Adults Who Could Not See a Doctor Because of Cost: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Share of Adults Diagnosed with Depression: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Mental Health: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Suicide Rate: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Share of Insured Population: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Share of Adult Binge Drinkers: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of adults consuming four or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion.
  • Share of Adult Smokers: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Physical-Activity Rate: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Share of Obese Residents: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Share of Adults with Inadequate Sleep: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
    Note: This metric measures the percentage of adults sleeping fewer than seven hours per night.
  • Community Well-Being Index: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
    Note: This metric is based on Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index Score, which is a measure that evaluates health risk across 10 domains, five domains to represent well-being tied to individuals and five domains to contextualize the social determinants of health that define environment and surroundings.
  • Crime Rate: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Hate-Crime Incidents per Capita: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).
  • Number of Mass Shootings: Full Weight (~1.67 Points).


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