The Most Stressed City in South Carolina Has Been Revealed

South Carolina, also known as the Palmetto State boasts charm, history, and hospitality. However, it harbors one of the most stressed cities in the nation, according to a recent report. Port Royal, a small town with a population of under 15,000, has claimed the title of the most stressed city in South Carolina and the sixth most stressed in the U.S., as per findings from Zippia, a career resource website. In this blog, we’ll delve into the reasons behind Port Royal’s stress, its impact on residents and the state, and potential solutions to alleviate stress levels.

Why is Port Royal so stressed?

Zippia evaluated cities using data from the U.S. Census American Community Service 2013-2017 and BLS, considering factors like unemployment, hours worked, commute times, income-to-home-price ratio, and the percent of uninsured population. Unfortunately, Port Royal scored poorly across the board, reflecting a heightened level of stress for its residents. Here are key statistics illuminating why Port Royal is under stress:

  • Port Royal residents averaged a 52-hour work week, the highest in the state and second-highest in the country. This demanding schedule leaves little time for leisure, family, or personal care.
  • With a 22-minute commute time, Port Royal had the longest in the state and the 18th longest in the country, adding to stress and reducing residents’ quality of life.
  • The income-to-home-price ratio in Port Royal was 11.23%, the lowest in the state and the 13th lowest in the country. This indicates financial strain as residents spend over 10% of their income on housing.
  • A high unemployment rate of 16.9% in Port Royal, the highest in the state and the 12th highest in the country, contributes to financial hardship, insecurity, and uncertainty.
  • The uninsured rate in Port Royal stood at 14.4%, the highest in the state and the 19th highest in the country, making access to healthcare challenging.

How does the stress affect Port Royal and South Carolina?

The stress in Port Royal reverberates negatively, impacting residents’ health, happiness, and productivity, as well as the broader economy, society, and environment. Some effects of stress include:

  • Physical and mental health problems, leading to increased healthcare costs and reduced well-being.
  • Impaired cognitive and emotional functions, hindering personal and professional development and affecting the state’s innovation and competitiveness.
  • Behavioral and social problems, undermining community safety, stability, and harmony.

What can be done to reduce the stress levels?

While stress is not unavoidable, addressing its root causes and consequences requires collaborative efforts from various stakeholders. Potential solutions include:

  • Improving economic and employment opportunities, such as job creation, minimum wage adjustments, training, and benefits.
  • Enhancing transportation and infrastructure systems, including public transit expansion, traffic reduction, affordable housing initiatives, and road safety improvements.
  • Increasing access and affordability of healthcare through Medicaid expansion, premium subsidies, wellness promotion, and improved quality and availability of care.
  • Promoting stress management and coping strategies, such as encouraging physical activity, relaxation, hobbies, and social support, and providing counseling and therapy.
  • Raising awareness and understanding of stress and its solutions through research, education, outreach, and engagement with the media, the public, and policymakers.


Port Royal stands out as the most stressed city in South Carolina and one of the most stressed in the nation. High levels of work, commute, housing, unemployment, and uninsured stress affect the town’s residents and the state’s economy, society, and environment. By improving economic, transportation, healthcare, and stress management conditions, and raising awareness, Port Royal and South Carolina can work together to reduce stress and foster prosperity.

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