Augusta Business Daily

Wed, September 27, 2023

Stress test: One website ranks Augusta as being full of stress

If you’re feeling relaxed and at ease, maybe you know something the folks at the personal finance website WalletHub don’t. They just ranked Augusta as the 11th-most stressed city in the country.

Augusta just missed the top 10, coming in slightly lower than Toledo, Ohio, but well ahead of Atlanta, which ranked 42nd. This may be a little confusing for any local residents who’ve had to drive in the traffic melee in our capital city. How could we be more stressed than that?

To figure out what’s going on, we need to look at the metrics WalletHub used. They ranked the cities in four categories: Work stress, Financial stress, Family stress, and Health and Safety Stress.

Augusta ranked 60th among the 182 cities in work stress, well back of Atlanta in 35th place (we might have been even better had we not scored second place in lack of job security). The Garden City came in at number 55 in family stress, again behind Atlanta.

But when it came to financial stress, Augusta made the top 20, in at 19. Financial stress is considered factors such as income, debt, housing costs, delinquent bills and mortgages, bankruptcy, and food insecurity.

What really pushed Augusta to the forefront of stressed cities was the Health and Safety category. Augusta came to the fourth-most stressed city for health and safety. Atlanta ranked 75th. Are we really less safe than Atlanta?

Here’s what the “experts” looked at in the Health and Safety category: The health status of the adult residents, mental health, depression diagnoses, suicide rate, insurance, smokers, binge drinkers, obesity, lack of sleep, physical activity, crime rate, mass shootings and something called the well-being index.

Augusta may have earned its low health and safety score because of low vaccination rates.

But the thing that probably pushed the Augusta area over the edge is that this category gave double weight to the coronavirus vaccination status of the residents. Both Richmond and Columbia counties barely have half the residents fully vaccinated, while Cobb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties are close to 60 percent. The experts apparently didn’t factor in that Columbia County had 31 percent fewer covid deaths than Georgia in general and Richmond County had nearly 23 percent fewer.

There are many good things about the Augusta area, as shown by the growth in both population and businesses, so this ranking by WalletHub shouldn’t be anything to stress over.

You can read WalletHub’s report here.

Top 11 Most Stressed Cities
1. Cleveland, OH
2. Detroit, MI
3. Gulfport, MS
4. Baltimore, MD
5. Philadelphia, PA
6. Memphis, TN
7. New Orleans, LA
8. Birmingham, AL
9. St. Louis, MO
10. Toledo, OH
11. Augusta, GA

Top 10 in Health & Safety Stress
1. Detroit, MI
2. Cleveland, OH
3. Charleston, WV
4. Augusta, GA
5. Fort Smith, AR
6. Huntington, WV
7. Memphis, TN
8. Gulfport, MS
9. Springfield, MO
10. Shreveport, LA

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