The Most Stressed City in Arkansas Has Been Revealed

Stress is a prevalent issue impacting individuals in diverse ways, affecting physical, mental, social, and professional aspects of life. Factors contributing to stress encompass work, finances, family, health, and the environment. This blog post explores stress variations across different cities in Arkansas, revealing the most stressed city in the Natural State based on data from WalletHub and other sources.

How Stress Was Measured

WalletHub, a personal finance website, conducted a study titled “2022’s Most & Least Stressed Cities in America,” ranking 182 cities across four dimensions: work stress, financial stress, family stress, and health and safety stress. Indicators like average hours worked, unemployment rate, divorce rate, crime rate, and suicide rate were considered. The total stress score reflected higher stress levels.

The Most Stressed City in Arkansas

According to WalletHub, Fort Smith holds the title of the most stressed city in Arkansas, ranking 16th nationally with a total stress score of 57.67. Scores in each dimension are as follows:

  • Work stress: 53.67
  • Financial stress: 63.33
  • Family stress: 58.33
  • Health and safety stress: 55.00

As the second-largest city in Arkansas, Fort Smith faces challenges such as poverty, crime, and health issues contributing to its elevated stress levels.

Factors Contributing to Fort Smith’s Stress Levels

Several factors explain Fort Smith’s distinction as the most stressed city in Arkansas:

  • High unemployment rate (6.1% vs. state average of 4.4% and national average of 5.4%)
  • Low median household income ($38,012 vs. state average of $48,952 and national average of $62,843)
  • High poverty rate (22.7% vs. state average of 16.2% and national average of 12.3%)
  • High divorce rate (15.4% vs. state average of 13.0% and national average of 10.9%)
  • High violent crime rate (566.9 per 100,000 people vs. state average of 543.6 and national average of 366.7)
  • High suicide rate (21.4 per 100,000 people vs. state average of 20.8 and national average of 14.2)

How to Reduce Stress in Fort Smith

While stress is not inevitable, strategies can help residents cope and reduce stress:

  • Seek professional help from resources like Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center, the Harbor House, and Fort Smith Behavioral Health.
  • Manage finances with assistance from programs and organizations like Crawford-Sebastian Community Development Council, Fort Smith Housing Authority, and Fort Smith Salvation Army.
  • Strengthen family bonds through communication, conflict resolution, and support from services like Family Resource Center, Fort Smith Family YMCA, and Fort Smith Parenting Education.
  • Improve physical health by utilizing facilities and providers such as Baptist Health-Fort Smith, Mercy Hospital Fort Smith, and Fort Smith Wellness Center.
  • Enjoy life through relaxation, socialization, and pursuing hobbies, with events like Fort Smith Symphony, Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, and Fort Smith Riverfront Blues Fest.


Despite being the most stressed city in Arkansas, Fort Smith has numerous resources and opportunities to enhance well-being and happiness. Stress, while challenging, is not a permanent condition, and Fort Smith can overcome its stressors and thrive.

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