Britain's most stressed cities

Woman and man with sweaty armpit on crowded subway train
Woman and man with sweaty armpit on crowded subway train

Anyone living in London could be forgiven for thinking that they have more stress to deal with than anyone. But long hours, long commutes, high prices, high crime and high-density living is apparently only enough to put the capital in 6th place. Five more UK cities are even more stressful.

In a study by, researchers looked at a range of factors, from job insecurity to pay, commutes, overtime, levels of happiness, crime rates and the cost of life compared to wages.

They found that London scored highly for stress - with an average commute of 1 hour and 11 minutes (making it the worst in the country), the highest density and worst crime rates, and putting in average weekly overtime of nine hours.

This won't come as a shock to anyone. What will come as a surprise is that these five cities are even harder places to live.

The Essex city was top of the pile. The researchers highlighted that anyone travelling to London for work is likely to face a long and stressful journey - while those trying to find employment more locally are having to deal with the second least flourishing jobs market in the UK (after Norwich). They also have low average wages and a high crime rate to contend with.

The Kent city is another long and uncomfortable commute from London, while those looking for work in the city face a struggling jobs market (the ninth worst in the country). Finances are also among the worst in the country (when you weigh up wages against the cost of living, it's fourth in the country).

Living in Stoke-on-Trent means dealing with the fifth worst job market in the UK, and the 7th worst for finances (wages versus cost of living), which may help account for the fact it's the 6th most unhappy city in the UK.

At 53 minutes, it's the third worst place to commute in the country. Meanwhile, the local jobs market is the 7th worst, and the high price of living means that finances are the 9th worst in the country. Then of course there's the legacy of the fact that ,The Office was based here.

This is officially the worst place to live in financial terms - as once residents have paid the bills, they are left with £20 at the end of the month. They are mid-table for most other things, and have a relatively short commute at 46 minutes - but it's not enough to make up for the fact it's so easy to run out of money in a typical month.

Most stressed
1. Southend-on-Sea
2. Chatham
3. Stoke-on-Trent
4. Sough
5. Sunderland
6. London
7. Rochdale
8. Brighton
9. Birkenhead
10. Dundee

Least stressed

At the other end of the spectrum Derby emerged as the least stressed city. It has a buoyant jobs market, high wages and a low cost of living, so there's plenty of money left at the end of the month.

This is followed by Middlesbrough, Preston, Hull and Nottingham - all of which benefit from relatively good wages and a low cost of living.

Least stressed
1. Derby
2. Middlesbrough
3. Preston
4. Kingston-Upon-Hull
5. Nottingham
6. Leeds
7. Barnsley
8. Aberdeen
9. Bolton
10. Blackburn

But what do you think? Do you live in one of these cities, and do you reckon the researchers are right? Let us know in the comments.

Living with Stress
Living with Stress