53.  Raleigh, NC

stressed cities
  • Population: 1.2 million
  • Zen factor: Plenty of jobs
  • Stress factor: Long work hours

State capital and home to North Carolina State University, Raleigh offers plenty of jobs, low crime and a great quality of life.

The city is part of the Research Triangle, which generates lots of tech, medical and academic jobs. In fact, Raleigh's unemployment rate has hovered around a low 5%.

Despite the influx of workers, home prices have remained fairly stable. At a median of $215,000, homes are just above the national average.

There's also an extensive network of greenways and public parks and the city is only a few hours away from both beaches and mountains.

"It's an easy-to-live-in climate," said Adrienne Cole, senior vice president of economic development at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. "It creates a very low-stress, healthy environment for people."

Of course, no place is perfect. Raleigh's workers spend more time on the job than those in most other major metro areas.

First published July 15, 2014: 8:35 AM ET
Source: See sourcing and methodology here.
Raleigh-Cary, NC Metro Area

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