Wallethub recently released a new study that ranked how stressed 150 of America’s major cities were. Furthermore, the website ranked them in order of least to most stressed out. Although Grand Rapids ranked 119th, Detroit topped the list at number one. Although Michigan seems to be divided in terms of stress levels, Wallethub’s data may show why the two cities differ so greatly.
Factoring In Divorce
Wallethub determined the stress level of major cities using 27 different factors. They assigned numerical values to categories which included credit scores, divorce rates, and the percentage of single parents in a given city.
Not only was the study able to rank the cities overall, but it also showed how they ranked in specific categories. For example, Grand Rapids was the 130th for cities with adults in poor health. They also were tied for the 146th ranking for the shortest work week. Inversely Detroit had the third highest divorce rate and the worst credit scores in the country.
Interpreting The Data
The organizers of the study chose factors in people’s lives that directly impacted their stress. For example, the percentage of single parents may show stress in a city because raising children without a spouse can be complicated and is oftentimes difficult. Parents who raise kids on their own often have to worry about transporting children to school, hiring a daycare, among many other duties. Single parents assume all of the responsibilities that two parents traditionally share, which may lead to a higher stress level.
According to the overall rankings in each category, Detroit had the most family-related stress in the country. Divorcing can further complicate one’s life and add stress. Legal separations can involve quite a bit of time, money, and usually represent the end of a serious relationship. With Detroit having one of the highest divorce rates, it’s no wonder the city topped the ranking board.
Why Is Grand Rapids So Relaxed?
While Detroiters were the most stressed out, West Michigan placed relatively low in the rankings. This may be due to the fact that Grand Rapids was noted as having good health and short work weeks. Although having fewer hours on their time cards may be coincidental when thinking about geography, their health may have something to do with the landscape.
Although the study excluded Grand Rapids’ metropolitan areas and suburbs, it is surrounded by beautiful destinations that are full of outdoor activities. There are several bike paths that run between West Michigan’s smaller towns, myriad beaches along Lake Michigan, and people can easily make it to Sleeping Bear Dunes if they want to hike. Comparatively, Detroit has Windsor across the river and gigantic metro area. Southeast Michigan could be viewed as less scenic and therefore its denizens may be subjected to the negative effects associated with displeasure in their surroundings.
Health Has Power Over Stress
Detroit’s scenery may not be the only thing affecting it’s overall stress level. This may be associated with exercise as well. In a city surrounded by busy roads and tall buildings, there are less opportunities for outdoor exercise.
An article from Rapid Growth discussed how helpful running has been to some Michiganders. One mother of two decided to commit herself to doing a 5K after her divorce. She told the publication, “Running and exercise was that one thing that I felt like I was able to control in my life.” During her turbulent time, fitness was what helped her conquer the stress of her failing marriage.
Although it’s unclear whether or not Michigan’s actual geography played a factor in Wallethub’s study, health seemed to contribute to stress. The national rankings could then be seen as an invitation for Detroiters to leave their troubles behind and, when possible, take a trip to the west side of the state. Grand Rapids would be happy to help their fellow Michiganders beat the blues.
Bernardo, R. 2016’s Most & Least Stressed Cities In America. Wallethub. Retrieved on July 21, 2016, from https://wallethub.com/edu/most-least-stressed-cities/22759/
Carlson, L.F. (2016, July 21). Why I Run: Renewal, Recovery, & Redemption. Rapid Growth Media. Retrieved on July 21, 2016, from http://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/features/072116-why-I-run-renewal-recovery-redemption.aspx