7.  Miami

stressed cities
  • Population: 5.8 million
  • Zen factor: Lots of sunny days
  • Stress factor: High poverty

It may have tropical weather, beautiful beaches and a cool art scene, but Miami's residents are dealing with plenty of stresses: poverty, a high cost of living and terrible traffic.

Almost 18% of metro area residents, which includes a large immigrant population, live below the poverty line. Plus, affordable rents are hard to come by, leaving many families priced out of the housing market, according to the local Habitat for Humanity.

Local nonprofit Catalyst Miami provides a number of services for low-income residents, including financial coaching to help with everything from buying a home or dealing with debt collectors to enrolling in health insurance.

"What we encounter with a lot of our clients is a lack of familiarity with the American system, not understanding how to access benefits and services they are entitled to," said Gretchen Beesing, the organization's chief executive officer. "Certainly it causes stress."

And don't forget about the traffic. Commuters here deal with some of the most stress-inducing gridlock in the country. It's so bad on one common route, US-1, that it's been dubbed "Useless 1" by the locals.

On the bright side, residents enjoy plenty of sunny days, and according to the CDC, they are also less likely to be binge drinkers.

First published July 15, 2014: 8:35 AM ET
Source: See sourcing and methodology here.
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL Metro Area

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