Laid-Back Living in America’s Less-Stressed Cities

by Bob Curley on December 8, 2010

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., may not be the best place to live if you hate the cold, but the city’s mix of low unemployment, easy commuting, and a culture that encourages regular exercise have it ranked atop Forbes’ list of America’s Most Relaxed Cities.

Forbes reported Nov. 2 that the rankings were based on “six metrics that are closely correlated with stress, or that result from stress,” including unemployment rate, time spent commuting to work and on the job, access to and satisfaction with healthcare services, and how much exercise residents get on a monthly basis.

Using those criteria, Milwaukee, Wis., ranked second on the list, followed by Boston, Mass., Portland, Ore., Columbus, Ohio, Denver, Colo.,  Seattle, Wash., Cincinnati, Ohio, Kansas City, Mo., and San Jose, Calif. Like Minneapolis, Milwaukee benefitted from great commuting times and short work hours, while cities like Portland, Denver, Seattle, and San Jose won points for their active lifestyles.

Boston ranked high because of its healthy population and good access to healthcare, which outweighed the city’s hellish commuting conditions.