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The Least Stressful Cities in the World in 2021

by Olivia Harden Jun 25, 2021

Have you ever wondered whether life would be more or less stressful if you lived in another city or another country? A recent study conducted by VAAY looked into 500 cities and then narrowed down the search to about 100 cities worldwide to find out (they trimmed the cities for which they could not obtain reliable data). The study looked into 15 different factors to determine which cities are the least stressful, including safety and security, gender and minority equality, social and political stability, pollution levels, unemployment rates, and access to health care, congestion, and more.

The top ten least stressful cities are:

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland
  2. Bern, Switzerland
  3. Helsinki, Finland
  4. Wellington, New Zealand
  5. Melbourne, Australia
  6. Oslo, Norway
  7. Copenhagen, Denmark
  8. Innsbruck, Austria
  9. Hanover, Germany
  10. Graz, Austria

Although no US cities made the top 10 (or even the top 20), some cities scored relatively well, including Houston, Texas at 25; Seattle, Washington at 39; and Chicago, Illinois at 40.

The good news is that none of the cities at the bottom of the list are US cities either. Starting at the most stressful, they are:

  1. Mumbai, India
  2. Lagos, Nigeria
  3. Manila, Philippines
  4. New Delhi, India
  5. Baghdad, Iraq
  6. Kabul, Afghanistan
  7. Moscow, Russia
  8. Karachi, Pakistan
  9. Jakarta, Indonesia
  10. Kiev, Ukraine

“Our objective with this study is to show what cities can achieve for their citizens through effective governance, robust environmental policies, and well-resourced social welfare systems,” VAAY cofounder Finn Age Hänsel said in a statement. “The aim is not to single out the cities which may lag behind in any of these areas, but rather highlight those which are leading examples of what can be done to improve the well-being of their inhabitants.”

The full list is also broken down into categories. Iceland’s perfect scores for gender equality and air and noise pollution are partially why the country ended up so high on the list. Helsinki, Finland, which placed at number three, and Oslo, Norway, which placed at six, had a perfect score for minority equality.

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