The World’s Most Stressed-Out Cities

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The world is becoming more urban. According to a 2018 report from the United Nations, 68% of the global population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050. While greater density can put residents closer to restaurants, theater, clubs, banks, and grocery stores, and while more people taking mass transit can reduce the carbon footprint, increased density combined with poor planning can lead to such outcomes as traffic congestion and air and noise pollution. Here are the most polluted places on Earth.

Opportunities created by established and emerging industries, the exposure to diverse cultures, and cultural attractions like museums and art galleries all contribute to the growth of cities. This expansion creates challenges such as providing housing, transportation, infrastructure, education, and health care, and with them, putting greater stress on urban dwellers.

24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the world’s most stressed-out cities. We created an index of eight city- and country-level measures of the population’s health, financial well-being, and happiness, among other indicators of stress to identify the most stressed-out cities.


While these urban meccas have many positive features, the more residents they attract, which can create stressful and tense conditions, making city living difficult. Some of even the most desirable cities have long commutes, pricey monthly transportation passes, and steep housing affordability costs, requiring workers to work long hours to afford to live in these cities.

While these urban meccas have many positive features, the more residents they attract, which can create stressful and tense conditions, making city living difficult. Some of even the most desirable cities have long commutes, pricey monthly transportation passes, and steep housing affordability costs, requiring workers to work long hours to afford to live in these cities.

The U.N. predicts the planet will add 2.5 billion people by 2050, with about 90% of this surge occurring in Africa and Asia. To underscore the worldwide shift toward cities, by 2030, Earth will have 43 megacities — those with more than 10 million residents — and most of these places will be in the developing world. These are the megacities in the world today.

Opportunities created by established and emerging industries, the exposure to diverse cultures, cultural attractions like museums and art galleries, and the overall excitement of urban living all contribute to the growth of cities. This expansion creates challenges such as providing housing, transportation, energy systems, infrastructure, education, and health care for city populations, and with them, putting greater stress on urban dwellers.