The Most Stressed City in Alabama Has Been Revealed

Stress is a widespread issue that impacts people in various ways, affecting physical, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as relationships, work, and finances. Contributing factors to stress encompass high crime rates, low income, poor health, family issues, and job insecurity.

In Alabama, Birmingham emerges as the most stressed city, ranking fourth nationally, according to a recent WalletHub study. This blog post delves into the reasons behind Birmingham’s heightened stress levels and explores potential avenues for improvement.

Work Stress

One of Birmingham’s primary stressors is work-related issues. The city ranks 23rd out of 182 in terms of work stress, considering factors such as unemployment rates, job satisfaction, commute times, and work hours. Birmingham contends with a 6.4% unemployment rate, surpassing the national average of 5.4%. Job satisfaction is notably low at 45%, signifying dissatisfaction among more than half of the workforce. Additionally, the average commute time of 25 minutes adds to workers’ frustration and fatigue.

Financial Stress

Financial concerns constitute another significant stressor for Birmingham residents. The city ranks 20th out of 182 for financial stress, taking into account income, debt, poverty, bankruptcy, and foreclosure. Birmingham faces a low median household income of $33,770, less than half the national median. The poverty rate stands at 28.1%, well above the national average of 10.5%. Furthermore, a high debt-to-income ratio of 50.8% indicates widespread struggles with debt repayment. Birmingham also grapples with a 4.3 per 1,000 residents bankruptcy rate and a 0.9% foreclosure rate.

Family Stress

Family-related stressors significantly impact Birmingham residents. The city ranks 4th out of 182 for family stress, considering factors like divorce rates, single-parent households, childcare costs, and eldercare obligations. Birmingham experiences a high divorce rate of 13.8%, exceeding the national average. Single-parent households account for 46.9%, compared to the national average of 34.4%. High childcare costs, totaling $8,082 per year (24.3% of the median household income), and a significant percentage of adults caring for elderly relatives at 18.9% further contribute to family-related stress.

Health and Safety Stress

Health and safety stress is another critical aspect influencing Birmingham’s stress levels. The city ranks 5th out of 182 in this category, considering COVID-19 metrics, physical and mental health, life expectancy, and crime rates. Birmingham contends with a high COVID-19 case rate of 12,857 per 100,000 residents and a low vaccination rate of 36.9%. Physical and mental health indices are low, indicating chronic diseases and psychological distress. The city also faces a below-average life expectancy of 72.9 years and high rates of violent and property crime.


Birmingham stands out as Alabama’s most stressed city and one of the most stressed nationally. While facing challenges in work, finance, family, health, and safety, the city possesses positive aspects, including a rich history, culture, and diversity. Overcoming these stressors requires collaborative efforts from the resilient community, local and state authorities, businesses, and organizations, offering the potential for a more prosperous and peaceful future.

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