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Study Reveals The Most Stressful Cities in the Nation

 Washington D.C. offers a better quality of life than other major capitals

Study ranks 33 major capitals in the OECD for factors including congestion levels, average rent, and availability of green space to reveal the most and least stressful cities to live

  • Santiago de Chile ranks the most stressful city in the world
  • Least Stressful Cities: Washington D.C. ranks 12th
  • Swiss Capital City Bern is the least stressful city in the world


Germany, 12/28/2020 - The online mortgage advisor, Baufi24, has released a study that uncovers the most stressful cities in the OECD. As the world rapidly changes, rising rents, climate change as well as  rural to urban migration are just a handful of the challenges cities need to urgently address with proactive investment and planning. As a platform that aims to alleviate stress in mortgage lending, Baufi24 has commissioned this study to highlight the multiple sources of stress in cities that play a huge role in reducing mental and physical well-being.

Santiago ranks first as the most stressful capital city in the world. With a population density that ranks second behind Jerusalem and the poorest quality air, it’s clear that the Chilean capital needs major investment in its urban landscape. In contrast, Bern ranks last as the least stressful city. The Swiss capital scores highly for Health factors, with Switzerland investing the most in health services per capita.

“As this study reveals, depression and suicide are strongly correlated with stress. As costs rise and overpopulation exacerbates environmental concerns, we need more awareness about how our surroundings impact our well-being. We commissioned this study to highlight the cities that offer the best quality of life - such as Bern and Oslo - and to reveal the multiple factors behind their success. The study ultimately aims to raise awareness of our complex health needs in urban landscapes, and to encourage some of the most prosperous capitals in the world to invest in the well-being of their citizens” says  Tomas Peeters, CEO and chairman of the board at BAUFi24. “At Baufi24, we believe that digital solutions can alleviate many sources of stress prevalent in urban hubs, such as traffic congestion and air pollution, but also the burdens of money and time” 

The study analysed 33 capitals in the OECD for 16 factors split across four categories: City, Environment, Finance, and Health. City factors include congestion levels and population density;Environmental factors include air pollution and hours of sunshine; Finance factors include unemployment levels and disposable income, and Health factors include the availability of doctors and rates of depression. All of the factors were weighted equally, with the actual numbers for each score standardised on a scale from 0 to 100. These scores were then averaged to calculate the final ranking of the most and least stressful cities.


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The full findings from the Stressful Cities Index, including scores across all 16 factors, can be found on the Baufi24 website.


Further findings:

  • Washington D.C., USA, ranks 22nd overall - less stressful than London, Tokyo, and Paris. However, the U.S. capital has the highest rates of depression out of all OECD capitals, at 4.84%, but the lowest levels of air pollution.
  • Ottawa, Canada, ranks the 15th most stressful city in the OECD. The Canadian Capital is much more stressful than Washington D.C., the United States Capital.
  • Oslo, Norway, ranks the second least stressful city to live in the OECD. The city has few road fatalities and relatively low weekly working hours.
  • Madrid, Spain, ranks 29th and less stressful than Berlin, Germany. Despite fewer doctors and a higher unemployment rate, Madrid has less congestion and more available green space.
  • Paris, France, ranks the 10th most stressful city in the OECD. Paris has an unemployment rate of 7.8%, higher than Santiago, Chile.
  • London, United Kingdom, ranks the 13th most stressful city in the OECD, but ranks first for population density, with 1785 people per square kilometer.
  • Lisbon, Portugal ranks 19th overall. Despite low scores for disposable income, the city is pulled up in the ranking for  its hours of sunshine. Annually, Lisbon has double the hours of sunshine of Luxembourg City and Dublin.
  • Tokyo, Japan, has the longest life expectancy at 84.2 years, while Riga, Latvia, has the shortest, at 74.7.
  • Vienna, Austria, ranks the 27th most stressful city in the OECD. Despite scoring poorly for Health factors, Vienna has the most available doctors, with 5.18 doctors for every 1000 people.

- Ends -

About BAUFfi24: Baufi24 Baufinanzierung AG is one of the largest German real estate financing brokers specialising in home loans, building society savings and low-cost loans. Baufi24 was founded in 2006 and in January 2020 the company changed its legal form to Baufi24 Baufinanzierung AG. Baufi24 is independent of banks and groups and compares the offers of more than 450 banks for its customers. The aim is to achieve faster loan commitments and less bureaucracy. The offer also includes the brokerage and valuation of houses and apartments. Baufi24 has already received several awards for its services - among others for the fairest product offer, for customer confidence and as price champion. Chairman of the Management Board is Tomas Peeters. The company is based in Hamburg.