September 25, 2008

Forbes Declares Chicago America’s Most Stressful City

It's been a while, but b5media's Travel & Culture Channel is celebrating another Theme Day soon, centered on 'Changes.' Change is necessary, but it can be stressful, and we Chicagoans certainly know stress. In fact, last week Forbes declared Chicago as America's Most Stressful City. Eep!

stressChicago has had to endure plenty of changes recently: flood-inducing rains, a depressing economy, expensive gas prices, and an unbelievable sales tax. Combine all this with the country's second-highest population density, and you have the formula for a stressful situation.

Forbes examined the country's 40 largest metropolitan areas and looked at things like unemployment rates, housing affordability, cost of living, air quality, weather, and population density. The Windy City topped the list in anxiety issues, followed by New York City, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

However, despite these worries, Chicago recently ranked highest in resident satisfaction. Plus, as Edward Hallowell, M.D., (of the Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health) told Forbes, some stress can be a good thing. It inspires us to work harder, which can lead to accomplishment and self-satisfaction.

Here's hoping the changes in your life don't cause too much stress. If you need to relax, check out one of Chicago's spas, enjoy a cocktail, or treat yourself to some retail therapy.

Photo credit: (c/o SXC) carl dwyer

5 comments

5 comments to Forbes Declares Chicago America’s Most Stressful City

  1. Brendan
    September 25th, 2008 at 9:16 am

    “Combine all this with the country's second-highest population density, and you have the formula for a stressful situation.”

    Do you? Do you really? Explain to me how that works, that formula, because it sounds like a load of horse manure to me. This was one of the shoddiest city ranking methodologies I’ve seen in a long time, and the ludicrous negative density factor was a major factor in that. But one of the most frustrating things has been watching blogs that I normally enjoy take Forbes’ list and run with it unquestioningly. And this is yet another disappointment.

    And just to nitpick, because seeing good blogs run bad stories makes me cranky: Chicago is the third most densely populated city, after NY and San Francisco.

  2. Matt B
    September 25th, 2008 at 9:26 am

    While I agree that ALL rankings of any sort are highly subjective and debatable, the fact is, it’s still Chicago-related news and I thought it interesting enough to write about (as did the Sun-Times). People can react positively or negatively to it, but their reactions show that it is grabbing people’s attention.

    Yes, stress is really an individual thing, and to rank it according to city is odd. After all, as the Times’ article pointed out, I actually LIKE population density. If I had to move to a rural, sparsely populated area, THAT would stress me out.

    Finally, whenever a “news” article emerges, I trust that the writers did their research, and I don’t always double-check every factoid they use. If the info IS wrong, I do apologize, but that should probably be taken up with Forbes itself.

  3. Brendan
    September 25th, 2008 at 9:39 am

    It certainly is interesting to write about, and it is grabbing attention; but more writing that fails to question the methodology of the list is exactly the problem. The Forbes article gets recycled without criticism, and yet another media outlet promotes the list. If you can see a major flaw, call it out, especially on a blog of all things.

    Using density as a prominent negative factor is inherently biased, because such a large number of American cities have sub-urban density levels. This puts older cities — cities that are actually cities, instead of agglomerations of sprawl, which seem to pass for cities today — at a very distinct disadvantage. The evidence is right there in the Forbes list: other than Salt Lake, which one of the cities listed isn’t a very dense, older town? San Diego is probably less so than its peers, but its immigration rate has given it a very high level of density.

    I would never tell a blogger not to cover a story that was interesting to them; but to do so without getting critical seems purposeless. I don’t mean to be confrontational. I’m upset because I think this is a great blog.

  4. Matt B
    September 25th, 2008 at 9:41 am

    Thanks for the input, honestly. It’s good to get feedback from readers, and I will definitely keep what you have said in mind for future stories.

  5. Chicago Prints
    September 29th, 2008 at 9:09 am

    It may get al little stressful but its still one of the best cities to live in.

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