Lists, Lists

Another week, another list of states – this time the list of “most stressed out states in the country,” from a real estate blog. In this list, factors such as length of commute, number of hours worked, population density, unemployment, percentage of income spent on housing and percentage of population without health insurance were crunched in order to give a numerical ranking that does not quite match up with the results of some other recent “studies.”

West Virginia, according to this list, is the 33rd most stressed out state. It was shown in a nice, relaxed green on the map. Remember, of course, that it has not been long at all since another report showed West Virginia was the most miserable state in the country. According to the folks who throw these things together, we here in the Mountain State are wretchedly miserable, but not terribly worried about it.

Ohio, though, fell in the middle of the stressed list – it was yellow, on the map. The Buckeye State ranked 25th, tied with Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, shown in a menacing red, the top ten most stressed states included Florida, California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Nevada. To give some idea of how confusing (and meaningless) all this studying can be, most of those states fell in either the second or third quintile for happiness, in the same report that showed West Virginia is the most miserable state. So, folks in places like Miami, Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, Chicago and Las Vegas are pretty happy, they are just too stressed out to notice?

While it may be amusing to briefly take a look at the results of these studies, the two sets of results demonstrate fairly clearly how dangerous it can be to base anything – be it casual conversation or public policy – on the numbers presented.


Speaking of stress, here is hoping today is stress-free for the Mid-Ohio Valley dads and granddads being celebrated on this Father’s Day.