Tacoma, Wash., Named Most-Stressed City

Monday, January 12th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) _ More nerve-racking than New York, more vexing than Vegas, this port city of 195,000 is a new survey's pick for the nation's most stressed-out big city.

In a survey based on divorces, suicide rates and other factors, Tacoma topped the list of stressful cities _ followed by Miami, New Orleans, Las Vegas, New York City and Portland, Ore.

``Basically there wasn't one thing that stood out,'' said Bert Sperling, CEO of Fast Forward, Inc., which produces the BestPlaces Web site, which released the survey Friday.

``It's cloudy in Tacoma much of the time, and the suicide and property crime rates are high,'' the Web site states. ``On a brighter note, Tacomans can feel safe from bodily harm thanks to the low violent crime rate.''

Tacoma's unemployment rate, which was 7.7 percent last fall when the data was collected, was well above the survey's average rate of 5.8 percent. The city's divorce rate was also high, with 12.4 percent of adults divorced.

Sperling offered some consolation for Tacomans: ``You were just the worst out of the 100 biggest cities. There are a lot of smaller places that are more stressful.''

The survey evaluated 331 cities' performance in nine ``stress index'' categories: unemployment rate, divorce rate, commute time, violent crime, property crime, suicide rate, alcohol consumption, self-reported ``poor mental health'' and cloudy days.

Tying for the least stressful cities were the tri-city areas Albany-Schenectady-Troy in New York and Harrisburg-Lebanon-Carlisle in Pennsylvania.