These Are America's 10 Most Stressed Out Small Towns

Americans sure are a stressed bunch. But, according to a Bloomberg poll, we're not even close to being the most stressed out nation on earth. That dubious honor goes to Nigeria.

So, while we work ourselves to the bone every day, manage to mix in some time with the kids and try and stay in shape, things aren't all that bad around here. After all, most of us have a roof over our heads and food on the table.

Why do stress levels fluctuate here in the U.S.? Some places have to deal with more stressors: Dealing with ever-longer commutes, working longer and longer hours, and just trying to find a job. And when you live in a small town, those can be even harder to cope with than when you live in a larger city.

Which places in America take being stressed out to the next level? After analyzing key stress-inducing factors, here are the most stressed out small towns in America:

Read on to see why these American small towns could use a Xanax.

How We Measured Stress In America (Without Stressing Out)

In order to measure stress, we selected a set of six criteria and applied them to every place in America with a population under 25,000:

  • More than an hour-long commute
  • Unemployment rate
  • Hours worked
  • Population density
  • Percentage of income spent on rent
  • Population without health insurance

The higher any of these was, the more stressful the people of the place should be.

We ranked each place from 1 to 5,800 in the six individual criteria. These ranks were then averaged into a Stress Score, the lowest of which was the most stressed out small town in America. The data is from AreaVibes and the American Community Survey from 2010-2014.

Below, we'll take a look at the standout stressful statistics for each top 10 most stressed places.

1. Mendota, CA

Population: 11,032
Unemployment rate: 16.5%
More than half of income on rent: 35%
Uninsured: 35%

We begin our tour of the most stressed out small towns in America with the unassuming farming community of Mendota, located not too far from Fresno, in central California.

What makes this such a stressful place? First off, farming is never an easy profession, especially in the central valley of California, which has seen its share of ups and downs. According to the last data available, the unemployment rate here was hovering around 17%!

To make matters even more stressful, only two-thirds of the community has health insurance, and more than a third of the population spends more than half its income on rent.

2. Belle Glade, FL

Population: 17,597
Unemployment rate: 11%
More than half of income on rent: 34%
Uninsured: 25%

Living in Florida can be challenging enough, but Belle Glade is one of the tougher cities to make home. The hours worked each week is in the top 10% in the nation at 40.3 hours, and a third of the residents struggles just to pay rent.

25% of Belle Glade residents don't have health insurance, which can make dealing with a sudden illness all the more stressful.

3. Posen, IL

Population: 5,975
Unemployment rate: 9.4%
More than half of income on rent: 26%
Uninsured: 22%

The small village of Posen sits right on the edge of South Chicago, which is famous for being a really tough place to live. This is a densely populated place where 22% of folks aren't insured and 17% have a greater than 60-minute commute to work each day.

Odds are they don't have great jobs; a huge amount of people are out of work and a quarter of the population spends a majority of its living wage on rent.

4. Hapeville, GA

Population: 6,437
Unemployment rate: 9.5%
More than half of income on rent: 29%
Uninsured: 31%

Hapeville is one of four cities in the south to make this list. Located just outside of south Atlanta, Hapeville's biggest stressors are health insurance and jobs.

3 in 10 residents don't have any insurance, and almost 10% are out of work. You can imagine a lot of people are on edge here.

5. Guttenberg, NJ

Population: 11,166
Unemployment rate: 6.8%
More than half of income on rent: 37%
Uninsured: 32%

Directly across the Hudson from Manhattan is Guttenberg, New Jersey, the absolute most densely packed small town in the nation.

If living right on top of people wasn't nerve-wracking enough, more than 1 in 5 residents has an hour in the car each day, and nearly 40% of the folks who live here spend more than half their income on rent.

6. Asbury Park, NJ

Population: 16,081
Unemployment rate: 9.7%
More than half of income on rent: 33%
Uninsured: 27%

Right on the famous Jersey Shore, Asbury Park has its share of stressed out residents for sure. Like Guttenberg, it's very densely populated and the cost of living makes it tough for people to get ahead. Especially when close to 10% are out of work.

At least only 12% of the population has a long commute each day. More time with the spouse and kids can help relieve stress.

7. Jacinto City, TX

Population: 10,572
Unemployment rate: 9.1%
More than half of income on rent: 38%
Uninsured: 35%

On the east side of Houston is little Jacinto City, Texas, which has a 9.1% unemployment rate at last count. If that wasn't bad enough, 35% of the population is without health insurance.

8. Manorhaven, NY

Population: 6,553
Unemployment rate: 8.4%
More than half of income on rent: 33%
More than an hour commute: 25%

As lots of people can attest, living near people with money and not having it yourself can have another added stress level to your life. Here in Manorhaven, things aren't as 'nice' as they are in surrounding communities on Long Island.

Long commutes, a 8.4% unemployment rate, and expensive housing can sure overwhelm you with pressure.

9. Hallandale Beach, FL

Population: 37,343
Unemployment rate: 8%
More than half of income on rent: 35%
Uninsured: 26%

By far the largest city to make this list is Hallandale Beach, a jam-packed place south of Hollywood, FL.

While commute times aren't as bad as the cities listed above, more than a third of the population here can barely make rent, and more than a quarter of residents don't have a lick of health insurance. Additionally, 1 in 12 is without a job.

10. Marion, SC

Population: 6,924
Unemployment rate: 11.7%
More than half of income on rent: 43%
Unemployed: 11.7%

We round out the list of the most stressed out small towns in America with Marion, a teeny place in northern South Carolina.

Chronic unemployment (nearly 12%) and low incomes make this a place where people are most likely pushed to their limits. 43% of the population spends at least half its income on rent.

That folks, can stress anyone out.

That about wraps it up

If you're measuring small towns in America where a lot of people are without jobs or health insurance, where rent is high and commute times are long, this is an accurate list.

Where are the least stressed small towns of America? It looks like the midwest is pretty scott free. They are as follows:

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