America's 10 Most Stressful Cities

Forbes magazine has put together a list of America’s most stressful cities and as a product of Chicago, the winner of the dubious distinction of being America’s most stressful city, I have this to say: “Yeah, so? Shut up and let me eat my hot dog in peace for once, goddamn it. No, I’m not yelling. Why are you always saying that I’m yelling? It’s not like you never yell! Pass the sport peppers before this gets ugly.”

Without further ado…

America’s Most Stressful Cities:

10. Philadelphia, PA

9. Providence, R.I.

8. Salt Lake City, Utah

7. Cleveland, Ohio

6. San Diego, Calif.

5. San Francisco, Calif.

4. Los Angeles, Calif.

3. Detroit, Mich.

2. New York, N.Y.

1. Chicago, Ill.

The magazine considered unemployment rate, expensive gas, high population density and relatively poor air quality as its criteria for what made one city more stressful than another.

Chicago has a 7.3% unemployment rate, the eighth most polluted air in our ranking and in city where everybody drives to get around, a gallon of gas costs a nickel under $4 dollars.

Omitted from the calculations:

America’s Most Stressful Cities [Forbes]
(Photos: Meghann Marco & Meghann Marco)


Edit Your Comment

  1. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I’ll bet you the sandwich the folks on the boat don’t feel stressed out. Nice photos.

  2. lalaland13 says:

    I would have guessed NYC would be first, but second also makes sense.

    Three California cities are also on the list, although I have no idea what, if anything, that means.

    I have a book on “The Best Places To Live” because I’m a demographics/atlas nerd, and it ranks about 400 metro areas in stress factor. I believe my town got a pretty high stress rating because of poor healthcare, poor education and a declining industrial economy. And allergies and weather from hell. It’s not a big town either, so there’s no big-city amenities to offset things.

    Writing this out has made me wonder why I don’t move.

  3. FunPaul says:

    Way to torture the Chicago ex patriots with a picture of a Portillo’s Chicago Style dog.

  4. B says:

    What do people in San Deigo have to be stressed out about? Too many days of 75 degree sunny weather?

    • duffm4n says:

      @B: I live in San diego, and besides the traffic and it being cloudy by the beach 250 days / year, I have no idea what’s stressful about SD.

    • cubsd says:

      @B: Here’s what we have to be stressed out about:
      1.) Some of the worst public transportation ever.
      2.) The city has been so mismanaged, that it is now close to broke. Because of that, city services like filling potholes are few and far between.
      3.) The cost of housing makes the dream of owning a home, just that, a dream.

      The positive is, if you become homeless there is usually only a week out of the year you need to go into a temporary shelter to avoid freezing to death. Yea sunny weather!

    • banmojo says:

      @B: seriously! SD is one of the chillest places to live. I mean, ANY place is gonna suck if you’re poor, but even the homeless are happier in SD due to incredible weather as well as incredible nature. Oh, don’t forget the incredible ladiez!!!

    • @B: It’s considered an Army town. :)

    • mrearly2 says:

      It’s all those illegal Mess-kins they must support.

  5. Triborough says:

    These Forbes lists are utter crap designed to promote the Forbes brand. There I said it now can we all just ignore the Forbes advertising in the future?

  6. theblackdog says:

    I hope DC was number 11, it’s definitely up there.

  7. ratnerstar says:

    It seems to me that the best way to determine the country’s most stressful cities would be to, ummm, poll a random sample from each city about their stress level. But what do I know? Maybe air quality and unemployment are good proxies.

    Still, that would make Morocco much more stressful than the US, which is opposite my impression from living there. Maybe they should factor in the availability of marijuana.

  8. Wynner3 says:

    The parking in San Francisco is stressful. It once took me 40 minutes to find a damn spot. Now I take bart or caltrain and walk.

    • AdamG says:

      @Wynner3: more so with with a spouse, but often the silicon valley gets lumped into these things. in and of its self, SF, peace is only a short walk/bike/muni/bart away.

      @ceriphim: i think you are on to something. most of the people that suck are transplants from ohio and minnesota, though.

      @picardia: the answer is probably the same list. If you have the option and decide to live in a city, then can’t handle it, then you’re doing it wrong.

  9. Wireless Joe says:

    I’d imagine it’s pretty stressful to live in Galveston, TX right now.

  10. AskCars says:

    In other polls Chicago is also the unhealthiest eating, most number of bars/beer consumption and I think most ardent professional sports fans. These are off the top of my head from dimbulb morning news anchors.

    BUT add those in and by being drunk, eating glutinous food and watching sports I’m totally not stressing.

    As a non-native Chicagoan I find it a very non-stressful city as big cities go. People are friendly which I think is a big attraction to folks like me when they relocate.

    And besides the Junk food there is a booming restaurant scene here. I dare any city to match it right now.

    • ClayS says:

      @Rabbi Dave:

      They also put too much stupid crap on their hot dogs.

    • DangerousLiberal says:

      @Rabbi Dave: I love Chicago. More bars and restaurants per square foot? Bring it on! Chicago is at the top of the list of places I’d like to live. Stressful? Maybe, but having put up with Anchorage and Albany winters, and Seattle and New Jersey traffic, how bad can it really be? Sure, the CTA is held together with baling wire and duct tape, but at least they have public transit–no such luxury here in the Southeast, where the buses simply exist to block traffic and soak up excess diesel fuel.

      This story is just another reason why journalists should leave the social science modeling and data gathering to professionals. We’re professionals, kids–don’t try this at home, or in Forbes.

  11. djhopscotch says:

    “There are 7.2 million residents in the City by the Bay, and they’ve got cause for stress.”

    The 2006 census says 744,041. Did they mean the entire bay area?

  12. chrisjames says:

    Detroit is not the most stressful? The Armpit of the Midwest? The Devil’s Navel? Well, maybe being resigned to both a life and death in hell is calming enough.

    I kid, though. Keep on rocking, Detroit.

  13. The Porkchop Express says:

    Salt Lake City??

  14. OldHack says:

    That is NOT a hot dog — it’s a goddammed salad.

  15. trinidon2k says:

    Chicago is #1 for stress…probably because the #1 worse airport is O’hare.

  16. OminousG says:

    Florida’s not on the list? :(
    Do they not understand how much it sucks to be tripping over old/dieing people 24/7?

  17. Nigromancer says:

    This is, as most people know, a meaningless poll. However, they are tons of ommitted variables that they should have considered like, “Average Work Week”, “Ratio of Single Parent/Multi-Parent Households”, “Divorce Rates”, Crime, and a Restructured Munical GDP.

    Anyhow, I don’t really buy this list.

    • Wally East says:

      @Nigromancer: Average commuting time. Number of rainy days. Violent and property crime rates. The ratio of average income to average expenses. The average savings/debt. The ratio of park space to size of the city or population.

      Forbes does some interesting lists that are sometimes well thought out. This was not one of those lists.

  18. iminneworleans says:

    How about NOLA? Crime, poverty, corruption, hurricanes, idiot politicians, the list goes on and on…..

    • Nik in Denver, formerly in NOLA says:


      Yeah really. I’ve lived in Chicago, and its way less stressful than post-Katrina New Orleans (aka America’s 3rd World). Even before the storm, there was really no point in living in New Orleans if you had anything higher than a high school diploma. Economy sucks, education sucks, transit sucks, infrastructure sucks, politicians suck, etc. Nothing gets done. A crater on a major street just gets dirt dumped into it. No jobs outside of hospitality. Horrible weather.

      At least the food is good.

      Sure Chitown has nearly 4/gallon gas, but when I lived there I just took the train/bus everywhere. And FWIW, I can find a decent place in Chicago for less than I can find a decent place in NOLA AND I won’t have to worry about getting mugged and murdered or have the place looted and ransacked. Plus no hurricanes. I’ll take a snowstorm over hauling ass and depleting my “oh shit” fund any day.

  19. oldtaku says:

    If you follow the links to the study methodology, this is based on housing prices and unemployment rates.

    So if you rent and want to buy a house and are unemployed, these are the most stressful cities to live in.

    On the other hand, if you already own your own place and are happily employed, there is near zero stress here in beautiful sunny San Diego except the occasional traffic snarl.

  20. Crabby Cakes says:

    The best think that has happened to me since I moved to godforsaken Los Angeles is the opening of a Portillo’s within 30 miles from here. I think I’ll be going there Saturday.

  21. PerlaChryseis says:

    Love visiting Chicago on business. Loved the people. Loved the food. O’Hare was one of the most efficient airports I’ve ever experienced up to three times a month for the two years that I used it on business trips. I’m just not buying Forbes’ conclusion.

    I’m 4th generation born and raised in California. Three California cities made the list! That I can buy. I’ve got some other cities in California that ought to get “honorable mention.” San Diego seems odd to me though.

  22. JPinCLE says:

    I was going to be pissed if Cleveland didn’t make the list. We make EVERY bad list. We have the franchise on bad lists.

    7th? Eh… we’ll try harder next year.

  23. ThickSkinned says:

    Chicago was also the number 6 most miserable city in the country. []

    I’m so happy I moved here from San Jose. All that sunshine and awesome weed was a real bummer.

  24. sn0zc0r3 says:

    Meh. Really don’t care what the polls say, I still love Chicago and am happy to have lived here most of my life.

  25. bones11 says:

    I live in SLC and I’m not stressed, what is there to be stressed about?? The lowest average age group, largest families per capita, one of the highest gas prices in the country, large population of illegals, oppression of liquor laws, lake effect…..yeah I’m not stressed.

  26. picardia says:

    I would have much preferred the “least stressful cities” list, so I could check job offerings there.

  27. SpdRacer says:

    Wasn’t Chitown just ranked the 11th best city to live in? I guess not being in the top ten has really stressed us out! And how the heck is Detroit only 3rd, they need to be numero uno, dammit! I would much rather live in Chicago than Dtown.

  28. JosephFinn says:

    “and in city where everybody drives to get around”

    That would be a neat trick as Chicago is the city with the 2nd most public transportation riders. The “survey” fails right there.

    • kerry says:

      @JosephFinn: Yeah, most of my friends here *don’t* drive. I sold my car over two years ago after 3 years of not driving it. Also, since gas prices have gone up even more people rely on the CTA. I think LA is probably the city where everyone drives to get around.

    • Ubik2501 says:

      @JosephFinn: Seconding this. Everybody takes the El or the Metra unless they’re delivery drivers, have reserved free parking spaces at work, or are just dumb. I definitely wouldn’t live here if the public transportation weren’t adequate. List fails it.

      Now, about the CTA itself causing stress with spontaneous reroutings, delayed service and a large percentage of employees who just don’t give a damn, that’s another matter entirely.

      I like Chicago, dammit, warts and all.

  29. JPinCLE says:

    Hey, stressful and good aren’t mutually exclusive. I drive through lots of shitty areas on a regular basis where there isn’t a lot of stress.

    Sometimes, the good stuff comes with a lot of stress!

    Got no job, no house, no spouse, no money?

    Well, then you got no worries about promotions/raises, no mortgage payment, no nagging, no concern over the value of your 401(k), and no stress!

    A majority of the rich people I know with fabulous houses, cars, boats, etc… are always stressed, but they have the best “stuff.”

  30. Legal_Eagle_In_Training says:

    Mmm Portillo’s. One of the reasons I miss living in Chicago. Other reasons include Giordanno’s, Garrett’s Popcorn, and Heaven on Seven.

  31. MyPetFly says:

    San Diego… great weather, great activities… lousy traffic, high housing costs, and lousy pay.

    • EBone says:

      @MyPetFly: Lousy traffic only if you are going in the same direction as rush hour. If you’re going the opposite direction, like 15 north in the morning, and south in the evening, you’re fine, unlike LA, where it’s jammed in both directions at rush hour.

      And pay is fine.

  32. nicemarmot617 says:

    I’ve lived in NYC, Detroit (and I mean Detroit proper, as in, the view from my apartment was surrounding projects and arsoned lots), and LA. NYC is so much more stressful than either of the other two that I don’t even know how they can be on the same list. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather be stuck in traffic than jammed into a subway car with my nose stuck in someone’s armpit and some random person groping my ass because it’s so crowded I can’t turn around to confront them. Seriously. Give me a random LA traffic jam any day.

    I strongly dislike living in NYC. It’s a fun place to visit, but living here (3.5 years now) has begun to wear on me and my mental health. It’s sort of like if almost every day of your life is an overcrowded party. It’s fun for awhile, but sometimes you just want to kick back and watch a little TV and not be around so many damn people all the time. And forget about privacy – you can’t value your privacy and stay sane here.

    Yes, moving here less than a year after spending several months in rural Wyoming may have been a bit too big of a shock to the system…(by the way, I’d go back to rural Wyoming in a second, tweekers and oilmen be damned.)

    • veronykah says:

      @nicemarmot617: Hm, I’ve lived in NYC and now live in LA. I thought that too about the subway, but enduring a 2 hour commute in first gear the entire time I long for the subway.
      Driving in NYC sucks, but driving in LA sucks more.
      I think both cities have a lock on being stressful though. NYC is stressful just because of the sheer number of PEOPLE in your way, in your face, in line, everywhere all the time.
      LA is stressful due to the shitty transportation infrastructure and LACK of personal relationships.
      I put them at a tie…
      In NYC you can go out and party with your friends all night to relieve stress.
      In LA, I can relax at the rooftop pool in the sunshine all day.
      My goal is to be bicoastal, enjoying the good of each and hopefully mitigating the bad.

      • nicemarmot617 says:

        @veronykah: My personal circumstances in LA meant I didn’t have much of a problem with the freeways because I could get to most of the places I needed to go without leaving surface streets. It was significantly slower than an uncrowded freeway, but low stress and faster than rush hour freeways. I am also sort of a loner, so the disconnect you feel in LA doesn’t really bother me. Being around tons of strangers constantly does.

        In other words, I should move back to LA! I liked it there. Ah, if only.

    • intellivised says:

      @nicemarmot617: I move TO Wyoming (not rural) from NYC and after a minor “OMG there is nothing to do?!” freakout I adjusted, took a hike and am never. ever. setting foot in NYC again unless it’s to visit. Short term.

  33. EBone says:

    How come Houston and New Orleans aren’t on the list? If I had hurricanes bearing down on my ass all summer long I’d be pretty stressed…

  34. GothamGal says:

    I’ve lived in #1, 2, 4 and 5, and I now live in blissful Miami. I must say that LA sucks the most. It takes you an hour to drive 10 miles, the people are awful and the air is gross.

  35. YvesBusiris says:

    How did DC not make this list?!

    On a different note, one of my best girlfriends recently moved to NYC
    straight out of college from the University of Michigan. When I checked
    in with her, she (very nonchalantly) said she is seeing a shrink now. I
    asked her what was wrong and she informed me that everyone in NYC sees a
    shrink because “living there is very stressful.” Which begs the
    question, why would anyone do it?

  36. Eldritch says:

    Who wants to send a Chicago ex-pat some Portillo’s?


  37. JulesNoctambule says:

    Atlanta didn’t make it into the top ten? I’m shocked! I used to live there and can vouch that its traffic, people, government and general atmosphere made every aspect of daily life far more difficult that it needed to be.

  38. I’ve lived in both NY and Chicago and it’s a toss-up. In NY paying the rent alone should put it at the top of the stressful cities, but Chicago’s shitty weather is also a big factor. I know a lot Chicagoans who get very stressed coming the end of august.

  39. antirem says:

    minneapolis ftw?

  40. TechnoDestructo says:

    Philadelphia: “What time is it? What time does the sun go down today? OMG gotta get this work finished, must be back to the suburbs by sundown or I’m gonna get stabbed.”

  41. Chongo says:

    I think the only thing thats stressful about living in Chicago is that there is only 1 portilllos in it.

    seriously though, it would be so much more stressful for people after they leave here because the food is so plentiful that I can smell a stuffed pizza even as I type this.

    I shoulda never quit smoking

  42. timmus says:

    “Sport peppers”??

  43. ElPasoAgresso says:

    I never stressed much for the 8 years I was in Chicago. Its a fun town. Tons of taxis. There’s always affordable housing to buy or rent. Its not very snobby (usually). Plenty of work if you are in the financial industry.

    Good times.

  44. GiordanoAloeus says:

    @ TechnoDestructo
    It’s always sunny in Philadelphia.

  45. thelushie says:

    Chicago is awesome! I can’t wait to go back and live there! And I live in small town nowhere and I just paid $4.05 for gas.

  46. MariaOzawa says:

    thr’s ht dg n tht pc? ktchp ∓ mstrd FTW

    • ARP says:

      @MariaOzawa: No Ketchup, only mustard. Some Chicago hotdog places don’t even have ketchup out, you have to ask them for it. And they’re not thrilled to give it to you.

  47. Zanorfes says:

    I can see why SF is listed as a stressful city. When it comes to gas prices, they’re ahead of the curve. Also, it’s not too pedestrian friendly. It was once considered the most dangerous city because of the number of fatal accidents for pedestrians and cyclists. Add that to the parking scarcity, the filthy buses with its rude drivers, the nation’s highest gas prices, skyrocketing rates with a crime rate to match and the lack of space, I’m surprised it wasn’t higher on the list.

  48. Julia789 says:

    Salt Lake City, Utah? Stressful? I thought the Mormons were really happy there?

    According to their TV commercials, belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means you will have wonderful, happy families and communities, and a loving God that takes all your worries away. What could be so stressful? Did the TV commercials lie? I’ve never heard of a TV commercial lying before…

    • BillsBurg says:

      @Julia789: Last time I was in SLC, 20 years ago for a school trip, I recall there was not much to do after about 8PM. Think about it, Mormons, not much drinking, dancing, etc. To me that stressful. Plus it’s cold in the winter. On the other hand, usually these surveys include the surrounding suburbs, Park City is a pretty happening party place. The ski bums there don’t seem that stressed out to me…

      • Julia789 says:

        @BillsBurg: Ah, that explains the stress – No outlets for it!

        ; )

      • bones11 says:

        @BillsBurg: Much has changed in 20 years, I was being a little sarcastic when I listed all of those things. You can’t get in to a dept store without some rich soccer mom toting 5 kids around in her Escalade that takes up 4 parking spots. The booze is watered down, the liquor store closes at ten, that’s right liquor store, you can’t even buy it at the grocery store. The mormons sorta keep the crime rates down and we honestly don’t have a ghetto, just rednecks. Employment is up and so is home ownership so I’m thinking the only reason we made the list is pollution, drug use, and the high rate of depression/suicide. Go figure.

    • bones11 says:

      @Julia789: The TV commercials do not lie because the LDS Bishop endorses them and he is all-knowing.

  49. vondruska says:

    Why am I not shocked that Cleveland is on that list? Yet another list we made it on…

  50. humphrmi says:

    Even though Chicago gas is around $4 a gallon, as a previous Consumerist post pointed out, when you factor in wages Chicago actually has nearly the lowest “fuel cost as a percentage of income” in the country.

    I was however surprised to see that Chicago has such a high unemployment rate. I guess I’m sheltered.

    Still, I don’t feel that much stress.

  51. madanthony says:

    How did Baltimore not make the list?

    I need to go drown out my disappointment with some Natty Boh.

  52. airren says:

    Bah! Chicago is the most stressful city?

    Come ON. That’s crazy. LA has it beat by the sheer amount of time wasted driving.

    Although I must admit that the Cubs playoff games are gonna stress me out even from 650 miles away. You know they’re gonna do something to mess it up…oh please no!

  53. Star A.D. says:

    After 13 years in NYC I’m ready to move. Despite the opportunities to see and do things you couldn’t in other cities, the novelty has worn off.

  54. I agree, New Orleans should be at the top of the list. Followed closely by Washington, DC.

    Add commute time to the list, and factor in the number of decent sports teams, then talk about stress.

  55. OrsonWolf says:

    I have lived in both Chicago and Nashville and I would choose Chicago in a
    heartbeat. I cannot tell you how many times we had stuff stolen in Nashville.
    My husband and I each had checks stolen and cashed. A thief who had done some
    work for us tried to make off with my husband’s scooter, and he knew my
    husband’s condition and that he needed the scooter to get around. When we were
    moving into our house, the door was kicked in about 9 p.m. and it was 2 in the
    morning before the police got there. The last time I was there, when I was
    getting ready to sell the place, the door was again kicked open and I had to pay
    for a motel room rather than stay in the house I owned.

    When I was in an accident in 90-degree heat, we could not get the police to
    come out. A Tennessee trooper called Metro for us and they wouldn’t even tell
    him when someone would be out. When I finally walked into my office, I was so
    sick that my boss took one look and told me to go home.

    Last January, on the day the temperature dropped 40 degrees in just an hour
    or so, I left downtown Chicago at 5:15 and got to I-57 about an hour later.
    Despite the rain and heavy traffic, we did not see a single accident. In
    Nashville, you cannot drive 15 miles on a sunny day without seeing at least one and
    usually more, mostly due to people who cannot look where they are going and
    hit the car in front of them.

    When I lived in Chicago and had occasion to call the police, they were there
    within just a few minutes. I never owned a gun until I lived in Nashville;
    now I have two of them.

    **************Looking for simple solutions to your real-life financial
    challenges? Check out WalletPop for the latest news and information, tips and
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  56. nerdychaz says:

    This explains a lot! OMFG, I live so very close to Chicago. Lovi’n the burbs.

  57. lastingsmilledge says:

    probbydense disproves that there is an inverse relationship between consuming alcohol and lowering stress levels. i love how recently we’re in the top 10 of all these nationwide city surveys.

  58. You know what’s NOT on the list? Minneapolis-St. Paul! That’s because the Twin Cities rock. Except during Republican National Conventions. Tear gas and riot police tend to elevate one’s stress levels. Who knew?

  59. cheera says:

    Oh Detroit. I still love you.

  60. Trai_Dep says:

    Regarding the stressfulness of CA cities: were the measurements made before or after the spliff was lit? These lil’ locals-only tricks make ALL the difference.

  61. J-Mac says:

    A lot of different factors can cause stress. I disagree with the criteria used for the list. Those items are not that high on the list of things that DO cause stress – relationships, relocations, deaths/illnesses of loved ones, etc.


  62. There’s a Portillos in L.A. (sorta).
    It’s in Buena Park, just down the street a couple blocks from Knott’s Berry Farm (still in L.A. county). Been open over a year or so.

    Now, the only thing stressing me out is a coworker gave me a Portillo’s gift card a few months back – for my birthday – and i can’t seem to find the damn thing (arrgggh!)

  63. lars2112 says:

    San fran is stressful????? Dude if you live in or near the city high fuel prices don’t mean anything cause we all walk or take public trans to work. If you do drive, you are gonna pay a ton to park which means you should also make a ton and live outside the city. SF also has pretty clean air, at night you get all the fresh pacific air that cools off the city.

    The factors on this list are not all equal in each city. Everyone in LA drives to work, most in SF don’t, thus gas is not a big issue.

    Cleveland??? High population? They have some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, now that should be counted as stressful.

    Stupid poll to fill a few pages of the magazine and get a 15 spot on the nightly news.

  64. BadAxe says:

    This doesn’t even come close to passing the sniff test. Chicago more stressful than Detroit? San Diego more stressful than DC or Boston? That’s some bad criteria they’ve got there.

  65. ppiddyp says:

    Detroit would be higher if the population density hadn’t been cut in half by white flight.

    Not that I don’t love it for what it is (60 miles away, source of political amusement, delicious cheap food, great architecture, hockey and colorful characters), but I can’t really imagine a city in worse shape than D-town.

  66. Barney_The Plug_ Frank says:

    Tht Sndwch lks lk hll! Wh n th wrld wld t sch thng?

  67. Elhigh says:

    I’ve got to ditto the guys saying DC should be on the list or crowding its margins. It’s an awesome place to grow up in. When it came time to marry and raise kids, though, I made sure to be somewhere else.

    Try living in the Southeast, guys. Folks say “please” and “thanks,” older women call you honey, the fried chicken brings tears to your eyes and so does the five-alarm chili. Mild winters, slow, relaxed summers and all the country music your head can handle.

    Well, that last one might not be much of a draw. Thank God for CDs of something else.

  68. Ben Popken says:


  69. caveman1428 says:

    whats a sport pepper?

  70. Robobot says:

    Is D.C. not considered a city anymore, or something?

    I agree with Forbes on many of their city-ranking lists, but not this one. The problems with D.C. are more than just statistical. You have to visit to understand how ridiculously stressful everything here can be. I love living in the D.C area, but it’s definitely the most stressful American city I have ever been to.

  71. blackmage439 says:

    The cabbies in Chicago are just as reckless and psychotic. The Chicago Transit Authority is in shambles. The mayor is a moronic mob boss wanna be, who can’t be bothered to look at how other large cities in the nation aren’t swimming in a cesspool of millions of dollars in debt. The county (Cook) is run by an arrogant, ignorant, soulless, I-give-jobs-to-family-members-like-they’re-candy bastard (Fuck you, Stroger!). Our governor (Double FUCK YOU, BLAGOBITCH!) prefers to waste thousands in tax payer funds by flying his private jet to and from work on a weekly basis, instead of staying in the government-provided mansion.

    Chicago, this title is well deserved.

  72. stre says:

    mmmmm, portillo’s.

  73. reefer says:

    mmm… portillos. I feel sorry for you poor bastards that miss out on chicago hot dogs and italian beef.

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      @reefer: I know, I’m totally hungry for a Chicago dog now. I’m over in NW Indiana but we have a Portillo’s in Merrillville now which is about 20 minutes away.

      I never find Chicago that stressful when I’m in it. Yeah, traffic sucks but traffic in Lake County, Indiana is more stressful than Chicago traffic.

  74. TJBeck says:

    I’m stressed that Philly barely made the list.

  75. Drowner says:

    But Rhode Island’s so tiny…

  76. SFDCLAnowinCHI says:

    Wow, having lived in LA, SF, DC and now Chicago, I’m shocked Chicago is no. 1 on this list. Never have I lived in a major city where people are so friendly, lots of green space, good public transportation, low rents and housing in decent neighborhoods, great restaurants, fun festivals, great sports teams (Go Cubs), I could go on and on…

    I grew up bicoastal in SF and DC. Present day DC is a nightmare from horrific commutes, taxation without representation, rents rivalling NYC and SF, exorbitant housing prices, idiot cabbies (thank God for the newly instituted meter system), too many transplants who think they own the place, and if your party’s not in office multiply the stress and frustration level times 10.

    Not too much bad to say about SF that people don’t already know, except why are there so few cabs? You can rent a limo easier than hailing a cab in SF, makes no sense.

    I guess I’m one of the few people that enjoyed living in LA, but I lived in the city proper, and went to school there. God, I miss taking the Santa Monica busline to the beach for $.75, unreal. Watching the sunset in Venice, the dive bars, the crazy Jimi Hendrix wannabe on the boardwalk…Yeah, you need to find your niche, but once you do, LA is a very chill place.

  77. zyodei says:

    Chicago, I will always love you…it really has some wonderful people, amazing creative energy, a blooming spiritual face, when you get below the surface, the amount of raw creative energy here is wonderful.

    But, shit, there’s a reason I left it to move to an island off of Asia ;)

    For the record, not everyone drives in Chicago! It’s a great city to be without a car-the CTA is decrepit but wide-ranging, and I could smoke cars like crazy on my $50 mountain bike. Once travelling from edgewater to pilsen straight down damen at breakneck speed I passed 60 more cars than passed me ;)

    Someday, I will return. But you know what makes a city 100 x more stressful? Lack of access to real nature! Lack of access to mountains! Lack of access to clean rivers, to clean air, to the real world!

  78. Sparerib says:

    NOLA? Crime, poverty, corruption, hurricanes, idiot politicians

    Stress comes from giving a shit about where you live. Don’t give a shit? No stress.

    I imagine the stress in Salt Lake City is religious guilt and San Diego is stressed from trying to look so damn good. I’m from Philly, where the stress is just clogged arteries.

  79. cubejockey says:

    The people who run Forbes just have it for us in Cleveland. Did one of the reporters get dumped there or something?

    But with a city run by back door deals and slimy politicians…

  80. Streakist says:

    Salt Lake City? I’m from Fresno and I’m insulted by this presumption!

    Fresno has 11%
    Salt Lake City has 3.5%

    Fresno – 5th worst air quality(also top 5 for ozone)
    Salt Lake City – Not on the list

    Fresno – $3.60
    Salt Lake City – $3.60

    Frenso 111 people per Sq. Mile
    Salt Lake City 984 People per Sq. Mile

    Population density shouldn’t count because Fresno is surrounded by commercial agriculture which skews the numbers. We’re actually the 6th largest City in CA based on population. Besides Mormons don’t get stressed by cramming a huge family into a medium house, they enjoy it.

  81. kolacek says:


    People would have to be born here to really know how it feels…and 90 percent of the douchebags living here aren’t. I’m not gonna go out on a limb and be a target.

    “Disneyland for degenerates” is all I have to say.

    Thanks a lot America.

    • mythago says:

      @kolacek: But you live in SF, right? Does that make you Mickey Mouse, or one of the drawings on the teacup ride?

      I’m going to be a Bay Area snob and chime in that it’s amusing they think SF is more stressful than, oh, Riverside.

  82. GW2K says:

    People from NY when they visit Chicago say it is cleaner and the people are more friendly. Chicago should be #2 on that list. Make a poll and let the people vote.

  83. SubPrimeLender says:

    Chicago has many problems – but the reasoning for being on this list is retarded.

    7.3 % unemployment rate ?? Maybe but it is terribly skewed , there are several areas in chicago where the unemployement rate is more like 35% which skews the whole city. This goes for just about every other statistic they can come up with.

    Crime is the same way, pockets of south and west side are so bad that , from the news you would think that people are being gunned down everywhere. When in reality most of it is happening in a few gang infested areas.

    If you want some good statistics on chicago Read the book Freakonomics

    These forbes lists are utter crap

  84. southernbitch says:

    as a new orleanian, i would like to express my sadness that my illustrious city is not represented. i mean, come ON, people! murder rate = incredibly high. poverty rate = incredibly high. knowledge that someday the city is doomed to sink into lake pontchartrain and we will all drown like trapped rats in a sewer = always present.

  85. thrashanddestroy says:

    Anyone pissing and moaning about Detroit not being as stressful as Chicago should consider the following; try driving someone during rush hour in downtown Detroit as opposed to Chicago. The difference?

    You’ll travel three times the distance in Detroit as you would in Chitown within the same time frame. That right there is enough to make me swill cheap whiskey if I had to commute to work in Chicago.

  86. SubPrimeLender says:

    The big difference here in chicago – is you dont have to drive.

    On my way home from work I take a nap

  87. Soulgenesis says:

    you can get one of those Chicago Dogs here in Hawaii courtesy of Hank Haute Dogs. XD

    less stress, more sexy food xD

  88. usaevo8 says:

    I find it strange that Miami, Fl. isnt there considering the 7-10 results.

  89. Ann-Marie says:

    NO WAY Chicago is more stressful than Detroit! I’ve lived in both cities and Chicago is a dreamy garden of Eden compared to the faltering Michigan state economy, misguided reliance on the auto industry, just-been-booted outta office Mayor “Felon” Kilpatrick, lack of public transportation downtown (unless you count the People Mover, ha!), sorry excuse for a football team Detroit Lions and one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country.

    Beat that Chicago! But yeah, I’m sure the Windy City is way more stressful. Ha!

  90. Wynner3 says:

    Even Philadelphia? Weird. I am leaving San Francisco to Philadelphia for a vacation. Just my luck, both stressful.

  91. sicknick says:

    I don’t get this. I live in Detroit, have a lot of friends in Chi-town/travel there a few times a year, and honestly, the overall gloom-and-doom feeling we have here in the D isn’t around in Chi. Things are more expensive, sure, but it’s not like it is here with this permeating sense of “OHGAWD, WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!”

  92. a1aparrot says:

    Well, amazingly enough, my home town of Pittsburgh, and my current residence, Columbia SC, are not listed. And as an extra bonus, neither are of them mentioned in the comments. I must be soooo chillin about now. I think I’ll have another toddy and chill out some more. Portillos? What’s that? Is it a who or a what? I guess since I don’t know I’m soo not missing it. Time for that toddy.

  93. Kitteridge says:

    I find it hard to believe that New Yorkers are more stressed out than Los Angelenos.

    I mean, we’re completely (or almost so) spared of having to drive. L.A. has the 405. ‘Nuff said there, I think.

  94. b612markt says:

    Eff that noise! I live in and love Chicago. I have been to every major city in our country and many other cities in other countries and I STILL and will probably ALWAYS think Chicago is the fairest of them all. It’s the best city on Earth.

    Forbes can suck it.

    GO CUBS!

  95. SweetVenom says:

    I can’t believe Chicago is #1…who conducted this study anyway? They need to spend some time out here in Chicago and REALLY see how it is…once they taste the Chicago hot dog, italian beef and stuffed pizza, they’ll feel stressed that they didn’t know how wonderful it was to live here!

    But seriously, most cities can have lots of stress, especially if a person doesn’t like their job and has a long commute, but there are many other modes of transportation in Chicago. The transit system (CTA) can get you mostly anywhere in the city.
    I agree with the person who said that New York is usually #1…standard of living is pretty high there…

    For those who don’t like the busy city life, the suburbs of Chicago are just minutes away and not as “busy” as downtown and the (full-of-fun but parking sux) neighborhoods like Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park, etc.

    I love Chicago because there is always something to do out here and to get to one cool place to the next is usually not too far away.

    Go Cubs! Go Bears! Go Sox!

  96. CubFanGal says:

    Let me get this straight:
    L.A. = traffic james, fires, earth quakes, floods and people who have one job while waiting to become an actor / actress, writer, director etc.

    New York = noise levels that are causing hearing damage to most residents, triple parked trucks making deliveries so streets are one lane, garbage bags piled up on the sidewalks until the Sanitation Dept decides to pick them up,invariably during rush hour, rents, restaurants, public transportation costs that are through the roof

    Chicago = a beautiful, clean city, convenient shopping, good public transportation, alleys so the garbage doesn’t pile up and trucks can make deliveries while off the streets, great museums and theater, and really friendly people.

    I’ve lived in all 3 cities…no way is Chicago the most stressful….but who cares what the poll says…if you are lucky enough to live in Chicago you already know it!