You know that tight feeling in your chest when you have to pay the rent at the end of each month and it’s a bit more than you’d like? That’s stress.
And there are certain places in Kansas that know that feeling in their chest a little too intimately. These are the places where keeping up with the Joneses takes a back a seat to other forms of stress.
There are things like dealing with ever-longer commutes, working longer and longer hours, and just trying to find a job. But which places in Kansas take being stressed to the next level?
It turns out the good people of Liberal have earned the dubious distinction of being the most stressed out place in Kansas. The city tops the 10 most stressed out places in the Sunflower State:
- Dodge City
- Great Bend
- Garden City
- Junction City
Read on to see why these places in Kansas could use a Xanax.
How We Measured Stress In Kansas (Without Stressing Out)
In order to measure stress, we selected a set of six criteria that reflect root causes for most people and used them to look at the 91 places in Kansas with a population over 3,000, according to the 2013 American Community Survey:
- Percentage of population with a long commute (over 20 minutes)
- Unemployment Rate
- Hours worked
- Population density
- Percentage of income spent on rent
- Percentage of population without health insurance
The higher any of these was, the more stressful the people of the place are.
Our data is from the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey for 2009-2013.
We ranked each place from 1 to 91 for the six individual criteria. These ranks were then averaged into Stress Score, the lowest of which was the most stressed out place in Kansas.
Below, we’ll take a look at the standout stress stats for each top 10 most stressed places, and wrap the whole thing up with a detailed ranking of all 91 places we analyzed.
Unemployment Rate: 11.4%
No Health Insurance: 23.97%
Liberal, the county seat of Seward County, has let that heavy responsibility rock its core to the point where it ranks as the most stressed place in Kansas.
In a more measurable sense, Liberal’s stress originates from having the 6th highest unemployment rate in Kansas and the second highest population of uninsured people.
Basically, the town has to worry about getting sick while looking for a job, and that’ll turn your hair grey very quickly.
2. Dodge City
Unemployment Rate: 7.12%
No Health Insurance: 20.53%
Will Ferrel’s blood pressure might rise at the thought of driving a Dodge Stratus, but Dodge City’s blood pressure is constantly high — the city ranks as the second mot stressed out place in the Sunflower State.
The city has the fifth highest percentage of uninsured households and commute times in the top 20% of places in Kansas. To top it off, about a quarter of the households spend over the recommended amount of their income on rent each month.
Sitting in your car, on the way to your division manager job, thinking about paying too much for rent is a sure fire way to be overly stressed out.
3. Great Bend
Unemployment Rate: 9.55%
No Health Insurance: 21.58%
Much like the Arkansas River, life rushes by in Great Bend to the tune of being the third most stressed place in Kansas.
The city is basically a slightly less stressed version of Liberal. It has the third most uninsured households per capita and the 14th highest unemployment rate.
The population density of Great Bend saves it from being the most stressed place in Kansas, so you can rest a little easy knowing that at least your neighbors can’t see the stress on your face.
Unemployment Rate: 9.19%
No Health Insurance: 14.22%
The inflatable dragons at the Battle of the Brisket mask the underlying stress battle faced by the people of Mission on a daily basis, the 4th most stressed place in Kansas.
And the main cause of stress of Mission? The insane population density (2nd highest in Kansas).
The bright side of everyone knowing your business? Relatively short commute times. So I guess you win some and lose some.
Unemployment Rate: 8.79%
No Health Insurance: 13.93%
Eudora may be the smallest place on our list, but it still packs one heck of a stressed out punch — it places as the 5th most stressed in the Jayhawk State.
As you can see by the statue of Pascal Fish and his daughter Eudora, you need to hold on for the sake of your sanity in Eudora. Why is that? You’re probably working too much as Eudora ranks in the top 15% of places in Kansas when it comes to average hours worked per week.
Unemployment Rate: 9.51%
No Health Insurance: 16.00%
In stark contrast to Eudora, the biggest city in Kansas won’t save you from stressing out either — Wichita ranks as the 6th most stressed place in Kansas.
And Wichita has one main reason for stressing the heck out, it has the highest percentage of income spent on rent of any place in Kansas. A staggering 45 percent of people spend over the recommended amount of their income on rent each month.
When you’re that worried about paying for a roof over your head, it doesn’t leave a lot of time (or money) to have enjoy the little things in life.
Unemployment Rate: 8.62%
No Health Insurance: 13.73%
Life isn’t totally peachy in the “Peach Capital of Kansas”. Haysville ranks as the 7th most stressed out place in the Sunflower State.
Population density takes the sweetness out of this Wichita suburb as it ranks as the 12th most densely packed place in the state. So you’ll be all up in your neighbors business relative to most other places in Kansas.
Unemployment Rate: 12.45%
No Health Insurance: 13.09%
Even getting an ice cream at Miller’s wont take the sting off of your level of stress in Augusta — it ranks as the 8th most stressed out place in Kansas.
And there’s a reason people are stressed, this city has the 4th highest unemployment rate in Kansas. Add to that a population density in the top 20% of places, and it’s even more stressful when everyone knows you’re looking for work.
9. Garden City
Unemployment Rate: 3.73%
No Health Insurance: 17.43%
Garden City suffers from garden variety stress and proves that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side as it ranks as the 9th most stressed place in the Sunflower State.
The city has the 5th highest population density in Kansas, and an uninsured percentage that ranks in the top 15% of the state.
But at least you can cool off in the “Big Pool” when life in the garden gets too overwhelming.
10. Junction City
Unemployment Rate: 7.8%
No Health Insurance: 13.25%
And rounding out the top ten most stressed out places in Kansas is Junction City.
The intersection of working too much (2nd most in Kansas) and the amount spent on rent (14th highest) is the cause of stress in Junction City.
However, the city has some of the shortest commutes in Kansas. So at least you don’t have to stress out about getting to the job you’re probably working too many hours at.