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American States Ranked by Stress Level

The Geography of Stress in the USA

The state that created the concept of hanging loose is unsurprisingly the least stressed-out state in the union. According to a CDC phone survey, involving 2.4 million Americans, fewer Hawaiians experience "frequent mental distress" than anywhere else in the US.

Participants were asked the total days, out of the previous 30, they would describe their mental health as being "not good." The term mental health includes stress, depression, and emotional problems. If they answered 14 days, participants were classified as having "frequent mental distress." According to the survey, only 6.6 percent of the folks living in the island state were considered frequently stressed, followed closely by South Dakotans — where only 6.7 percent of respondents reported experiencing two weeks of not-so-good mental health days.

Learn how stressed your state is when you


Here's the ranking of states according to the percentage of adults experiencing frequent mental distress, and states that "tied" with the same percentage are listed together.

1. Hawaii: 6.6%
2. South Dakota: 6.7%
3. Washington DC: 7.4%
4. Kansas, Nebraska, and North Dakota: 7.5%
5. Arizona: 7.6%
6. Iowa and Montana: 7.7%
7. Illinois: 7.9%
8. Connecticut: 8%
9. Wisconsin: 8.1%
10. Minnesota: 8.2%
11. North Carolina: 8.4%
12. Alaska, Maryland, Vermont: 8.5%
13. Ohio, Wyoming: 8.6%
14. New Jersey: 8.7%
15. New Hampshire, Oklahoma: 8.8%
16. Maine, Virginia: 9%
17. Washington: 9.2%
18. Colorado, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina: 9.3%
19. Idaho, Tennessee: 9.4%
20. Massachusetts, Georgia, Utah: 9.5%
21. New York: 9.6%
22. New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas: 9.7%
23. Delaware: 9.8%
24. Missouri: 9.9%
25. Oregon: 10%
26. Arkansas, Florida, California: 10.1%
27. Indiana: 10.3%
28. Michigan: 10.5%
29. Alabama, Mississippi: 10.8%
30. Nevada: 10.9%
31. West Virginia: 11.2%
32. Kentucky: 14.4%

I find it sad to see that so many of the residents of my golden state are frequently stressed. How did your state fare in the survey?


KMattes KMattes 8 years
I live in Hawaii and I'm stressed out all the time! :)
HaterTot HaterTot 8 years
At first I thought the DC number was weird. I've lived all over and people here generally spend more hours working than anywhere I've ever been, with the exception of NY, which is on par. But then it occurred to me that this is a city of Type A people who would be stressed if they WEREN'T constantly working.
kimmieb124 kimmieb124 8 years
From looking at this list, I'm wondering how much of the survey results are connected to the economic situation right now. DC is actually doing better economically than a large part of the country, so even though I live in the DC metro area and I know very few people who aren't stressed, maybe DC folks are less stressed than people in West Virginia because the job market has remained more stable.
opentypeA opentypeA 8 years
Iowa - number 6! :-)
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I don't think I'd be very stressed out either if I lived in Hawaii. Nice weather always cheers me up. Wisconsin didn't rank too bad though.
bethinabox bethinabox 8 years
#20 (MA)... Not too shabby. And I can tooootally see why Hawaii is #1. I don't see how anyone could be stressed with that weather year round. Boy, do I ever want to go back.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
Figures CA would be near the top. Simply shopping in the grocery store here stresses me the heck out.
KathleenxCouture KathleenxCouture 8 years
I'm surprised Illinois isn't higher as well. I live here and I'm stressed all the time lol
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
They're so close that I don't put much stock in this. Isn't the margin of error on these sorts of things usually + or - 3%?
imLissy imLissy 8 years
Why is Kentucky so stressed out?? I would think New Jersey would be more stressed
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
Wow. MS is #29. And I thought it was just me who was stressed.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I'm so surprised DC isn't higher.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i'm kind of surprised by this one. KY is the highest? that's just odd to me. it's nice to see though that NY isn't the top - close to it but not quite it. i would have assumed that it would be way up there given that we're all stressed all the time about the cost to live here and how much (little) money we're making
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
I am surprised that IL is # 7.
MrsRachel MrsRachel 8 years
Very interesting. I work in #3. I wouldn't have thought it would do so well! However, I grew up in states near the bottom.
supercoolnat supercoolnat 8 years
I read the same thing somewhere else before too. That's why it my goal to move back and raise a family there (I grew up there). Even with economic and other problems, there's still a positive feeling there that can't be matched anywhere else. My husbands theory: the great weather.
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