51.  Richmond, VA

stressed cities
  • Population: 1.3 million
  • Zen factor: Plenty of jobs
  • Stress factor: Unhealthy lifestyles

A hub of financial and state government jobs, Richmond's unemployment rate is among the lowest of all 55 metro areas. As a result, less than 12% of residents live below the poverty line.

And even though there are plenty of jobs, work's not too much of a grind for most residents. Workers spend less time getting to work and fewer hours on the job once they're there.

"We've had a lot of people who have moved here from more stressful cities comment on... the light traffic and how their tab at dinner is a lot lower than they're expecting," said Lesley Bruno, marketing director at the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce.

One downside: residents aren't in the best shape -- thanks to an above-average smoking rate and lower-than-average exercise rate. But the city has been working to change that with the mayor's "Healthy Richmond" campaign, which promotes active lifestyles among residents, Bruno said. There is also a growing cycling community in the city.

First published July 15, 2014: 8:35 AM ET
Source: See sourcing and methodology here.
Richmond, VA Metro Area

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