Cart
${ cartError }

Your cart is empty

Why not check out our other products?

Shop All Products Shop All Products Shop All Products

Cheers!

We noticed you're visting from the UK. Do you want to change regions?

Shop UK.VAAY.COM Shop UK.VAAY.COM

The Least and Most Stressful Cities Index 2021

Data study looks at the least, and most, stressful stressful cities in the world, analysing a variety of indicators across governance, environment, finance and health to determine which cities have the most and least stressful living conditions for their inhabitants.

Here at VAAY, we’re focused on promoting inner balance and mindfulness in our community, and we know the effect someone’s environment can have on their mental health. There's no doubting that we live in stressful times, dealing with circumstances that are often beyond our control, yet when we think about the sources of our daily stress it’s easy to focus on things that are small and fleeting. Likewise while we consider the significance of the daily pandemic news cycle, we can lose sight of the ever-present elements that surround us and impact our everyday lives. If we really are products of our environment, we wondered, why don’t we pay more attention to its influence on our state of mind?

With this question in mind, we carried out some research to determine the most and least stressful cities in the world, based on structural and environmental factors that are often ubiquitous, but sometimes overlooked, and can contribute to a person’s overall level of stress. The result is an index of 100 major global cities comprising over 15 factors, each ranked on a scale from most to least stressful. We hope to show which cities are leading the way in improving the wellbeing of their citizens and can be a source of inspiration to those cities lagging behind.

To begin the study, we considered which macro factors contribute to stress, narrowing them down to four broad categories. Next, we assessed over 500 cities from across the globe against a number of stress indicators in these categories, before removing those without reliable data, ending up with a final line-up of 100 cities. The selected cities are not necessarily the most and least stressful cities in the world; instead, they were chosen for their global comparability.

The first category looks at governmental factors that dictate levels of inclusion in a city, such as safety and security, gender and minority equality, and socio-political stability. These elements represent societal frameworks which are shaped by policy decisions and local laws, all of which can impact a person’s mindset.

Following this, we considered the effect of the physical environment around us, since it has been proven that high living density contributes to anxiety and stress. We did so by assessing population density, as well as pollution levels, weather patterns and the amount of traffic congestion in each city.

Some people say money is the root of all problems and, while we don’t completely agree - the pandemic has posed a few by itself - it is certainly a significant cause of stress for most people. To evaluate the impact of financial stress, we looked at unemployment rates, social security structures and the amount of disposable income a household has after tax and accommodation costs, adjusted for purchasing power parity, amongst other factors. Finally, we considered health and wellbeing, specifically looking at mental health and access to healthcare as influences on stress levels.

The final results show which cities overall have the most stressful social, environmental and economic conditions, and which cities lead the way in reducing the stress levels of their inhabitants.

The tables below display the global cities in the study ranked in order of most stressful to least stressful. Each individual column is filterable, and the full methodology explaining how each factor was evaluated is at the bottom of the page.

Note: In the initial position, the table shows the cities with the lowest stress factor from top to bottom (rank 1 = least stressful, rank 100 = most stressful) and is interactive: it can be sorted per factor in order from top to bottom and vice versa.

# City Country Sicherheit (Score) Soziale und politische Stabilität (Score) Gleichstellung der Geschlechter (Score) Gleichstellung von Minderheiten (Score) Dichte (Personen/km2) Aufkommen von Verkehrsstaus (Score) Wetter (Score) Luftverschmutzung (Score) Lärmbelastung (Score) Lichtverschmutzung (Score) Arbeitslosenquote (%) Finanzielle Belastung (Score) Soziale Sicherheit (Score) Psychische Gesundheit (Score) Zugang zu Gesundheitsversorgung (Score) Stressauswirkungen der Covid-Hilfen (Score) Total
1 Reykjavik Iceland 98.8 97.8 100.0 91.2 480 86.5 27.0 100.0 100.0 78.9 8.2 81.4 88.0 71.4 96.3 92.0 100.0
2 Bern Switzerland 83.3 96.8 80.7 75.3 174 82.0 37.1 97.1 71.0 100.0 2.8 100.0 95.9 40.1 96.3 74.8 96.6
3 Helsinki Finland 94.4 93.4 90.6 100.0 404 88.8 31.2 97.9 90.6 93.7 7.1 74.4 96.8 40.6 91.8 86.4 95.0
4 Wellington New Zealand 81.2 100.0 83.4 91.2 314 61.8 59.6 99.3 77.6 97.0 4.6 85.2 89.4 51.1 92.0 90.9 95.0
5 Melbourne Australia 64.3 91.5 70.0 91.2 497 70.8 70.6 94.5 66.9 93.6 6.8 87.9 86.8 33.8 96.6 91.4 94.2
6 Oslo Norway 85.7 96.5 92.6 100.0 179 77.5 31.3 96.7 75.2 95.1 4.8 82.1 96.0 59.8 100.0 81.8 93.9
7 Copenhagen Denmark 88.6 93.5 77.2 91.2 1,165 82.0 48.6 94.9 75.9 94.4 6.4 72.6 95.4 52.4 90.7 82.4 92.6
8 Innsbruck Austria 80.0 89.4 76.3 75.3 1,263 84.3 43.9 96.5 62.7 95.8 10.4 79.8 97.3 58.9 89.6 81.4 92.2
9 Hanover Germany 66.8 85.2 81.2 75.3 210 79.8 41.4 95.9 66.3 93.7 8.0 96.8 97.8 51.2 92.1 75.7 92.0
10 Graz Austria 78.4 89.4 76.3 75.3 2,310 70.8 40.9 92.4 58.9 95.9 9.2 91.4 97.3 58.9 90.1 81.4 90.0
11 Liverpool UK 67.5 83.4 77.0 91.2 11,208 70.8 49.3 98.5 61.4 89.6 5.3 96.7 90.5 38.4 95.7 84.4 89.9
12 Montreal Canada 76.7 91.1 75.7 83.5 890 77.5 37.2 95.6 46.9 68.5 8.1 90.7 90.9 68.4 93.5 92.8 89.9
13 Vienna Austria 78.7 89.4 72.8 75.3 283 64.0 54.2 94.9 73.8 98.1 17.2 88.3 97.3 58.9 90.3 81.4 88.5
14 Auckland New Zealand 72.9 100.0 79.3 91.2 1,424 57.3 64.6 98.9 59.1 91.9 5.3 75.6 89.4 51.1 91.6 90.9 88.2
15 Amsterdam Netherlands 77.0 90.9 71.6 91.2 961 82.0 48.9 95.5 52.8 90.0 4.8 69.2 96.4 47.9 95.0 78.5 87.5
16 Montevideo Uruguay 61.8 80.9 67.6 100.0 1,188 68.6 70.9 95.4 37.1 83.2 8.4 89.4 85.2 74.2 74.8 82.7 87.5
17 Zurich Switzerland 83.0 96.8 77.2 75.3 789 61.8 37.4 94.1 83.6 98.5 3.4 83.7 95.9 40.1 96.2 74.8 87.1
18 Cologne Germany 66.1 85.2 76.8 75.3 1,470 75.3 43.4 95.5 58.3 96.8 9.7 84.2 97.8 51.2 92.1 75.7 87.1
19 Sydney Australia 69.2 91.5 70.0 91.2 423 59.5 69.7 96.9 69.5 92.7 6.1 68.4 86.8 33.8 97.3 91.4 86.7
20 Stockholm Sweden 81.4 94.3 83.0 100.0 365 70.8 33.5 96.5 82.0 94.9 8.0 70.8 93.3 38.3 95.6 70.0 86.3
21 Madrid Spain 70.3 70.9 79.3 91.2 846 88.8 61.6 94.3 43.0 82.7 13.5 72.0 88.6 14.1 95.4 78.1 86.1
22 Lisbon Portugal 70.9 82.4 72.1 91.2 938 70.8 79.7 90.6 67.2 89.1 7.7 74.2 91.6 10.5 87.7 57.8 85.9
23 Geneva Switzerland 78.2 96.8 80.7 75.3 1,785 57.3 42.9 95.5 54.1 95.1 5.7 85.9 95.9 40.1 95.7 74.8 85.7
24 Frankfurt a. M. Germany 65.9 85.2 81.2 75.3 379 79.8 43.8 93.6 43.7 98.2 7.1 75.6 97.8 51.2 91.9 75.7 85.6
25 Houston USA 45.8 76.1 67.6 74.1 327 86.5 48.4 94.5 36.8 82.8 8.4 97.9 82.5 39.9 87.4 55.8 85.2
26 Manchester UK 60.6 83.4 77.0 91.2 2,204 73.0 47.2 93.6 36.3 87.4 5.3 83.6 90.5 38.4 94.1 84.4 84.2
27 Stuttgart Germany 73.1 85.2 77.1 75.3 344 66.3 42.6 93.2 56.0 98.7 4.9 81.5 97.8 51.2 91.5 75.7 84.2
28 Abu Dhabi UAE 96.7 70.2 54.6 25.8 1,492 100.0 56.3 53.8 51.5 83.2 5.0 89.0 77.6 44.0 68.9 80.3 83.6
29 Vancouver Canada 73.8 91.1 75.7 83.5 856 55.0 51.5 97.7 61.6 84.7 7.4 64.2 90.9 68.4 95.8 92.8 82.7
30 Toronto Canada 72.1 91.1 75.7 83.5 1,004 73.0 38.8 95.5 49.3 66.7 10.7 64.0 90.9 68.4 95.8 92.8 82.4
31 Brussels Belgium 66.1 80.6 72.7 83.5 1,549 57.3 47.8 92.7 36.5 90.0 14.7 84.6 100.0 52.9 92.6 74.4 81.8
32 San Jose Costa Rica 57.8 70.2 74.3 82.9 1,056 79.8 49.6 92.5 36.9 77.0 19.6 88.4 72.8 68.7 71.4 71.1 80.9
33 Singapore Singapore 97.2 94.9 69.0 58.2 7,770 61.8 32.2 92.9 45.1 62.7 3.3 93.0 85.8 100.0 93.4 89.1 80.8
34 Tokyo Japan 79.5 86.7 56.6 91.2 2,810 30.3 57.0 88.9 51.8 89.4 2.7 79.8 92.1 97.1 97.0 100.0 80.8
35 Hamburg Germany 65.5 85.2 77.1 75.3 196 57.3 42.2 95.6 49.0 98.6 8.0 78.6 97.8 51.2 92.0 75.7 80.7
36 Berlin Germany 65.4 85.2 77.8 75.3 202 55.0 40.8 91.9 54.2 96.3 10.5 82.3 97.8 51.2 90.9 75.7 80.4
37 Seoul South Korea 77.5 73.6 60.7 82.9 2,194 63.6 46.9 72.4 48.6 85.3 5.3 79.3 89.2 96.0 94.4 89.7 80.0
38 Edinburgh UK 73.9 83.4 77.0 91.2 523 50.5 43.3 99.8 66.2 88.8 4.4 78.6 90.5 38.4 94.8 84.4 79.9
39 Seattle USA 53.2 76.1 68.0 74.1 259 79.8 63.9 98.2 44.1 92.4 5.8 51.5 82.5 39.9 88.7 77.8 79.4
40 Chicago USA 43.7 76.1 67.9 74.1 339 84.3 51.3 93.1 38.0 81.8 8.3 70.8 82.5 39.9 86.8 63.0 78.9
41 Munich Germany 77.3 85.2 77.6 75.3 216 68.5 37.3 95.6 66.5 98.9 4.9 60.2 97.8 51.2 92.7 75.7 78.8
42 Rome Italy 57.8 66.2 67.0 82.9 811 61.8 73.1 91.3 33.1 74.8 9.5 68.9 90.4 43.4 90.1 72.2 77.7
43 Boston USA 59.2 76.1 67.9 74.1 396 88.8 53.5 95.3 53.6 92.5 6.5 46.2 82.5 39.9 89.1 47.1 77.2
44 Miami USA 50.3 76.1 67.5 74.1 388 70.8 59.1 94.8 45.0 87.4 6.3 66.6 82.5 39.9 86.0 68.1 77.2
45 Los Angeles USA 54.0 76.1 68.2 74.1 1,045 61.8 89.6 91.1 18.9 84.5 9.9 54.4 82.5 39.9 85.9 76.6 76.8
46 Dublin Ireland 75.6 86.3 79.4 91.2 1,459 37.0 51.0 96.9 55.7 89.5 6.2 73.5 90.7 37.1 83.7 86.7 76.8
47 Washington USA 49.1 76.1 67.6 74.1 365 84.3 54.7 94.9 44.7 89.8 5.7 46.8 82.5 39.9 86.9 72.5 76.3
48 Buenos Aires Argentina 50.1 50.9 68.7 91.2 3,278 68.5 67.9 94.2 36.2 61.3 12.6 86.6 80.1 88.0 65.5 43.0 75.6
49 Johannesburg South Africa 24.7 53.7 73.9 82.4 2,383 75.3 87.5 68.3 48.8 89.8 35.1 78.2 56.3 54.5 47.4 75.7 75.5
50 Zagreb Croatia 72.5 68.2 66.4 66.5 373 43.1 47.0 90.8 63.4 87.5 4.7 94.2 79.4 62.0 73.7 75.0 75.2
51 Cape Town South Africa 22.8 53.7 72.0 82.4 1,627 70.8 88.8 91.4 64.5 94.4 26.0 74.2 56.3 54.5 49.6 75.7 75.2
52 Prague Czechia 80.7 77.9 64.8 75.3 2,670 70.8 36.9 93.9 51.6 88.2 3.7 75.6 87.8 70.3 84.1 1.0 74.6
53 Santiago Chile 55.7 72.2 66.4 82.9 9,781 52.8 74.9 73.6 34.9 71.7 11.4 82.2 79.6 51.8 66.9 80.3 74.0
54 Budapest Hungary 71.1 66.9 59.5 66.5 395 61.8 46.0 91.3 47.8 98.2 3.6 79.1 82.9 68.1 69.7 56.2 73.7
55 Tel Aviv Israel 78.1 57.9 67.0 58.2 2,542 39.3 87.0 78.9 41.2 54.0 6.0 70.4 83.6 52.6 86.7 77.2 71.3
56 Ulaanbaatar Mongolia 44.6 59.1 58.7 91.2 307 68.7 40.2 42.8 46.4 84.8 4.3 87.1 86.2 68.5 39.0 76.8 71.1
57 Belgrade Serbia 64.3 50.4 70.2 74.1 524 66.7 49.9 87.1 35.9 93.8 9.1 77.9 76.0 72.8 56.5 65.8 71.0
58 Athens Greece 61.3 62.1 63.9 66.5 1,282 46.0 76.3 83.8 37.1 69.9 14.2 88.3 82.6 1.0 78.2 71.5 70.2
59 Tbilisi Georgia 72.8 55.5 61.4 50.5 2,046 66.7 50.1 83.7 15.3 91.9 22.2 90.0 83.2 62.4 51.3 54.8 70.1
60 Sofia Bulgaria 64.8 61.8 67.4 66.5 156 55.0 49.9 86.0 38.6 84.3 4.0 76.7 88.3 71.8 60.3 71.3 69.0
61 Quito Ecuador 47.6 44.9 65.8 74.1 748 48.1 67.2 90.4 32.7 87.8 6.3 80.0 62.9 71.9 62.1 74.8 68.9
62 Paris France 57.1 76.9 77.1 75.3 730 50.5 49.6 91.3 28.8 68.6 7.7 56.0 98.0 41.8 91.0 78.6 68.9
63 Warsaw Poland 75.4 69.0 69.9 91.2 508 52.8 29.0 86.9 41.7 83.1 1.9 62.5 84.1 89.3 70.7 67.2 68.0
64 San Francisco USA 50.3 76.1 68.2 74.1 518 75.3 88.8 96.2 26.9 91.9 6.3 1.0 82.5 39.9 86.8 76.6 67.9
65 Doha Qatar 100.0 67.6 39.9 24.6 18,045 81.2 59.6 38.7 30.9 1.0 3.5 91.3 34.3 38.6 71.4 69.3 67.0
66 Kuwait City Kuwait 79.1 55.2 44.5 42.2 15,000 84.3 50.7 27.7 42.6 32.8 6.8 90.6 76.8 39.6 78.8 63.8 65.9
67 Rio de Janeiro Brazil 30.2 45.6 59.6 74.1 2,705 50.5 87.7 87.6 20.2 77.8 19.4 79.8 72.4 44.9 60.3 63.7 65.3
68 Sao Paulo Brazil 34.4 45.6 59.6 74.1 2,714 55.0 100.0 90.4 10.5 84.0 14.6 62.2 72.4 44.9 64.0 63.7 64.6
69 London UK 62.8 83.4 77.0 91.2 5,672 52.8 46.9 91.7 35.9 90.4 7.2 29.1 90.5 38.4 93.2 84.4 64.4
70 Hanoi Vietnam 47.2 48.2 60.9 25.8 814 70.7 12.6 66.0 14.0 97.7 2.4 97.5 71.0 95.2 55.2 76.8 63.7
71 Taipei Taiwan 75.4 78.7 65.8 91.2 7,487 39.3 7.8 86.1 42.7 88.1 3.7 79.2 91.3 76.6 85.6 89.7 62.9
72 Bucharest Romania 66.8 63.7 65.8 75.3 1,278 28.0 45.5 87.9 31.2 78.9 1.2 74.2 84.5 75.9 63.6 80.1 62.4
73 Panama City Panama 60.6 56.5 64.0 82.9 3,203 43.0 30.3 92.7 10.5 86.5 18.5 80.6 63.1 83.2 67.0 53.6 61.5
74 Hong Kong Hong Kong 73.0 70.4 65.8 82.9 6,753 55.0 40.9 82.4 15.3 89.3 6.7 93.0 17.4 59.7 71.5 91.9 60.8
75 New York USA 53.7 76.1 68.4 74.1 579 64.0 54.1 93.1 11.0 86.1 9.6 12.9 82.5 39.9 85.9 72.3 59.7
76 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 54.9 60.5 59.5 34.0 3,210 59.5 6.0 79.0 56.9 85.7 4.8 80.7 39.3 65.3 63.3 80.3 59.4
77 Riyadh Saudi Arabia 64.8 46.1 46.4 1.0 3,891 73.0 52.9 19.4 40.9 71.9 5.8 79.2 72.7 38.4 68.7 79.8 59.0
78 Algiers Algeria 51.6 29.4 44.4 34.5 6,636 47.6 79.2 85.6 60.3 54.6 14.0 73.0 83.0 52.4 61.5 75.6 58.3
79 Casablanca Morocco 47.9 45.2 26.0 33.4 212 60.0 85.8 81.3 28.3 63.8 16.3 78.5 72.6 26.3 47.3 73.9 57.1
80 Nairobi Kenya 24.5 32.8 52.3 41.7 6,318 46.6 73.5 89.3 30.0 94.5 7.2 78.3 36.5 69.9 27.8 75.6 56.1
81 Mexico City Mexico 30.0 38.1 70.0 65.4 6,202 41.5 77.5 60.3 18.6 69.1 8.0 63.3 67.2 66.9 62.8 56.7 54.4
82 Beirut Lebanon 56.5 21.6 25.3 49.4 11,000 58.6 75.9 82.1 12.8 65.2 6.6 67.4 88.5 34.6 67.3 52.8 54.3
83 Shanghai China 54.7 42.7 59.5 1.0 4,267 73.0 43.0 72.7 26.5 88.9 5.3 28.6 77.8 75.9 70.6 79.9 54.3
84 Dakar Senegal 50.8 54.6 46.8 74.1 7,200 73.6 21.4 53.0 36.3 94.9 7.1 93.0 50.8 85.7 21.5 85.8 53.8
85 Lima Peru 36.1 49.1 64.1 65.9 3,573 28.0 50.8 81.7 3.5 81.3 15.3 85.1 48.4 95.4 65.5 48.6 53.6
86 Tehran Iran 44.8 18.1 34.2 18.1 7,159 56.3 56.2 72.2 35.5 66.6 11.0 86.8 60.7 19.7 62.0 69.7 50.6
87 Bangkok Thailand 42.9 43.7 62.8 49.9 5,578 23.5 7.9 74.8 28.9 93.4 1.8 71.4 83.1 71.9 70.9 96.5 50.0
88 Cairo Egypt 51.9 29.7 48.5 34.0 6,912 41.5 75.1 44.1 9.3 53.0 7.3 80.4 71.8 64.9 44.9 82.0 49.5
89 Bogota Colombia 29.7 41.0 69.1 74.1 4,671 3.3 50.3 84.3 32.3 90.2 16.3 83.3 57.5 95.1 67.7 62.9 46.1
90 Istanbul Turkey 52.3 32.5 51.8 33.4 5,879 7.8 66.5 85.2 19.6 64.9 14.7 79.3 80.7 46.2 66.4 73.9 44.9
91 Kiev Ukraine 54.2 28.1 66.0 66.5 249 7.8 35.5 86.3 32.6 93.3 9.1 59.4 87.0 38.1 51.1 68.9 42.8
92 Jakarta Indonesia 46.7 44.7 59.8 34.0 4,733 41.5 19.2 68.3 25.4 85.2 11.0 62.3 33.0 97.2 31.0 74.0 41.8
93 Karachi Pakistan 17.9 15.4 11.9 25.8 4,246 65.4 56.1 21.3 11.0 93.3 4.7 78.8 22.7 85.3 17.2 82.2 36.6
94 Moscow Russia 49.3 35.4 63.7 17.0 7,967 1.0 30.6 91.9 40.8 77.5 3.6 30.6 87.1 69.3 68.5 74.7 36.1
95 Kabul Afghanistan 1.0 1.0 44.6 34.0 16,126 46.9 66.6 27.4 34.7 93.7 11.7 83.9 58.7 63.6 1.0 86.6 34.3
96 Baghdad Iraq 31.3 2.4 1.0 17.0 12,075 40.9 55.6 39.4 39.7 82.8 13.7 69.6 51.1 63.7 35.8 67.1 31.7
97 New Delhi India 30.1 44.9 54.2 50.5 11,313 16.8 47.6 1.0 19.7 87.2 9.4 73.9 1.0 72.7 31.4 51.9 31.5
98 Manila Philippines 29.8 38.1 74.3 65.4 20,784 3.3 14.2 65.7 13.6 88.2 8.8 49.3 51.2 94.9 42.4 85.6 29.4
99 Lagos Nigeria 18.3 17.7 49.2 34.0 7,877 33.2 2.1 76.3 1.0 95.0 37.1 34.5 25.6 94.8 6.1 79.1 19.9
100 Mumbai India 36.71 45 54.16 50.50 4764.00 3.25 1.00 60.10 10.34 89.12 3.60 19.65 1.00 72.73 31.12 51.88 1.00

Methodology

The Least and Most Stressful Cities Index 2021 compares and analyses 100 global cities for indicators related to stress. The cities were chosen for their size and significance, as well as for their availability of reliable and comparable data. The study consists of 4 broad categories - governance, city, finance and citizens’ health - each made up of individual stress indicators that determine how stressful a city is to live in:

Governance

Governance

Safety and Security (Score)

Socio-Political Stability (Score)

Gender Equality (Score)

Minority Equality (Score)

City

Density (persons/km2)

Traffic Congestion (Score)

Weather (Score)

Air Pollution (Score)

Noise Pollution (Score)

Light Pollution (Score)

Finance

Unemployment Rate (%)

Financial Stress (Score)

Social Security (Score)

Citizens' Health

Mental Health (Score)

Access to Healthcare (Score)

Covid Response Stress Impact (Score)


The methods used to find each factor are described in detail below.

Each factor consists of one or more indicators which were scored and averaged. The equation for scoring is as follows:

z-Score = x - mean(X)Standard deviation(X)in short x - μσ

For columns where a low value is better, for example, air pollution, the score is inverted such that it is attributed a higher score:

z-Score inverted = -1*x - mean(X)Standard deviation(X) in short -1 *x - μσ

Where present for a factor, scores are normalised such that 1 equals the lowest value in the final dataset and 100 the highest value in the final dataset. Therefore, the higher the score, the better the city ranks for that factor in comparison to the other cities in the index. The equation for normalization is as follows:

score = (100-1) *x - min(X)max(X) - min(X)+1

The final score was determined by calculating the sum of the weighted average score of all of the indicators. Below you can find a detailed description of each factor within the study, and the source used.


Governance

Safety and Security (Score)

An assessment of a city’s levels of safety and security, expressed as a score. This factor is a combination of the following risks:

Environment: fatalities, economic losses and GDP-impact of extreme weather.

Crime: homicides and personal security.

Infrastructure: physical and communications infrastructure security.

Domestic stability: conflict risks, socio-economic vulnerability, inequality and governance.

Transport: traffic fatalities.

Natural disasters: likelihood of earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, droughts and other such events.

The score includes public opinion data on the perceived risk of being a victim of crime, and local media coverage of conflicts. A higher score indicates a safer environment and a less stressful city.

Sources: Economist Intelligence Unit; European Commission/Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre; Germanwatch; Igarape Institute; Numbeo; Vision of Humanity; World Health Organisation; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Socio-Political Stability (Score)

An assessment of a city’s socio-political stability, expressed as a score. This data column is a combination of the following factors:

Voice and accountability: the extent to which a country’s citizens can participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association and a free media.

Political stability and absence of violence/terrorism: the likelihood of political instability and/or politically-motivated violence, including terrorism.

Regulatory quality: the ability of the government to implement sound policies that enable private sector development.

Rule of law: the extent to which citizens have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, including the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the police, courts, and the likelihood of crime and violence.

Control of corruption: the extent to which public power is exercised for private gain, including both small- and large-scale corruption, as well as the ‘capture’ of the state by elites and private interests.

A higher score indicates a stronger level of socio-political stability and a less stressful city.

Source: World Bank.

Gender Equality (Score)

The degree to which men and women have equal rights and opportunities in the economic, laboural, social and health areas, expressed as a score. A higher score indicates more gender equality and a less stressful city.

Sources: World Economic Forum; United Nations Development Programme.

Minority Equality (Score)

The degree to which minorities have equal opportunities in the political, religious and legal areas, expressed as a score. A higher score indicates more equality for minorities and a less stressful city.

Source: Freedom House.

City

Density (persons/km2)

The population density of the built-up urban area, displayed as the number of people per square kilometre. A higher density indicates a more stressful city and contributes negatively to the total score.

Sources: Demographia; OECD; local authorities.

Traffic Congestion (Score)

The amount of traffic congestion, expressed as a score. Congestion caused by temporary construction work was not taken into account. In some cases, official statistics from city councils were used when not featured in the source indexes. A higher score indicates less traffic congestion and a less stressful city.

Sources: TomTom; Inrix; Numbeo; local authorities.

Weather (Score)

An assessment of how pleasant the weather in a city is, expressed as a score. A higher score indicates less extreme weather and a less stressful environment. The factor was calculated using the following indicators:

Total annual hours of sunshine.

Annual precipitation in millimetres. To avoid scoring very dry cities too highly, the score penalises higher-than-average values but does not favour cities with very low annual precipitation.

Number of ‘extreme’ weather days (below 0°C and over 30°C) in each city.

Source: Weatherbase.

Air Pollution (Score)

An assessment of a city’s air quality, taking into account data from annual average air quality indexes, survey data on people’s perceptions of air quality as well as the average annual measurement of pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, NO2, O3), shown as a score. A higher score indicates better air quality and a less stressful environment.

Sources: Plumlabs; Numbeo; World Health Organisation.

Noise Pollution (Score)

An assessment of noise levels in a city, using hearing loss statistics and survey data on people’s perceptions of noise pollution, shown as a score. A higher score indicates less noise pollution and a less stressful environment.

Sources: Mimi; Numbeo.

Light Pollution (Score)

An assessment of light levels in a city, calculated using average annual radiance data, statistics on artificial sky brightness and survey data on people’s perceptions of light pollution, shown as a score. A higher score indicates less light pollution and a less stressful environment.

Sources: Numbeo; Science Advances.

Finance

Unemployment Rate (%)

The latest reported unemployment rate for each city’s metropolitan area or region, as a percentage. Due to differences in reporting dates and methodologies, this factor is not part of the total score but is presented as a barometer of inhabitants’ financial stress.

Sources: local authorities.

Financial Stress (Score)

An assessment of the financial stress experienced by residents of a city, based on disposable income after tax and accommodation costs, as well as the city’s price level relative to the country average. The score is calculated from two indicators:

Disposable income: the average income in a city less taxes and the average rent, converted to international dollars using Purchasing Power Parity exchange rates. A higher disposable income indicates less financial stress, adding positively to the factor score.

City-to-country price level ratio: a comparison of the price of a basket of household expenditures in each city compared to its country’s average. A higher ratio indicates that prices are higher than the national average, and therefore contribute to stress, adding negatively to the factor score.

A higher score indicates a lower level of financial stress and a less stressful city.

Sources: OECD; Numbeo.

Social Security (Score)

A score representing the availability of social security and support structures on a national level. This data column is a combination of the following factors:

Share of population above retirement age and receiving a pension.

Share of population covered by social protection benefits.

Share of unemployed receiving unemployment benefits.

Share of GDP spent on healthcare.

Income and wealth inequalities, as measured using the Gini coefficient.

A higher score indicates a better social security system and a less stressful environment.

Sources: International Labour Organisation; OECD; United Nations University; World Health Organisation.

Citizens’ Health

Mental Health (Score)

A measurement of the prevalence of major depressive disorders, including dysthymia, bipolar and anxiety disorders as well as disability-adjusted life years related to these illnesses, presented as a score. A higher score indicates a lower prevalence of mental health disorders, contributing positively to the total score.

Source: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Access to Healthcare (Score)

An assessment of a city’s healthcare system using data on access, quality and satisfaction, as a score. Calculated using country-level data as well as city-level satisfaction survey results. For US cities, state-level data was also used. A higher score indicates a better healthcare system and a less stressful city.

Sources: European Commission, Numbeo, World Health Organisation, The Lancet.

Covid Response Stress Impact (Score)

An assessment of each government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, looking at investments in healthcare, support for the local economy and the degree of social liberty the country has been able to maintain since January 2020, calculated as a score. The outcome of this response was also considered by including Covid case rates and deaths per capita. A higher score indicates a response with a lower stress impact, contributing positively to the total score.

Source: University of Oxford.