What makes a city stressful? Air pollution, hours of sunshine, unemployment rates, population density? These factors and more can either increase or ease the burden of everyday urban life. A study by German mortgage-broker Baufi24 has analyzed environmental and financial drivers of stress, as well as personal and social aspects, to identify which urban populations are most exposed to stress. Inhabitants of the Swiss city of Bern appear to be living the least stressful life, followed by residents of Oslo, Luxembourg, Stockholm and Madrid. At the other end of the scale is Santiago, Chile, due to its poor air quality and high population density. Included in the analysis are 33 capital cities of OECD countries.
The study looks at environmental stress-inducing and -alleviating factors such as air pollution, sunshine hours and availability of green spaces. It also considers financial aspects such as GDP, unemployment and income. The “city life” category investigates aspects such as rental expenses, traffic congestion and accidents, population density and working hours. Finally, the study explores health-related metrics such as life expectancy, health expenditure, depression and suicide rates, as well as the number of doctors. In the post-pandemic world, the availability of doctors and overall quality of medical care will likely play a crucial role when choosing which city to call home. Bern scores particularly well in the health category.