The Most and Least Stressful Cities in the World: Bucharest Ranks #72

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● The least stressful city is Reykjavik, Iceland, ahead of Bern, Switzerland and Helsinki, Finland. Mumbai, India, ranks as the most stressful city in the study, followed by Lagos, Nigeria and Manila, the Philippines.
● Manila is the most densely populated city in the study, ahead of Doha, Qatar and Kabul, Afghanistan.
● People living in Reykjavik, Iceland have the best air quality, followed by Edinburgh, United Kingdom and Wellington, New Zealand. The worst air quality was found to be in New Delhi, India, followed by Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Karachi, Pakistan.
● Citizens in Oslo, Norway have the best access to healthcare, ahead of Sydney, Australia and Tokyo, Japan.
● Tokyo has the highest score for its Covid-19 response, meaning that it had the lowest stress impact on its citizens. Bangkok and Montreal ranked second and third.
● Bucharest, Romania ranks 72 out of 100 cities.


Overall in the index, Bucharest ranks #72 out of 100 cities. The Romanian capital ranks #40 out of 100 for Safety and Security, comes the 60th out of 100 for Air Pollution. Bucharest has the lowest Unemployment Rate (1.2%), followed by Bangkok, Thailand (1.8%) and Warsaw, Poland (1.9%)., the CBD and well-being brand, has released a study which ranks cities by assessing how stressful their environments are for their inhabitants. As part of its mission to promote inner balance and mindfulness, the company decided to look into common external factors that make city-living stressful for urbanites. During this process, VAAY realised that it could directly compare multiple stress indicators in cities around the world to determine which cities are the least, and most, stressful for their citizens. The resulting index shines a light on the ever-present factors that influence a person’s stress levels, and gives insight into which global cities perform best in different areas and can be an example for their peers.
“Our objective with this study is to show what cities can achieve for their citizens through effective governance, robust environmental policies and well-resourced social welfare systems. The aim is not to single out the cities which may lag behind in any of these areas, but rather highlight those which are leading examples of what can be done to improve the wellbeing of their inhabitants,” comments Finn Age Hänsel, Co-Founder of VAAY. “We hope that the results of the study serve as a useful barometer for cities and citizens alike to reassess their environments and work together towards developing cities that are
less stressful places to live.”


To begin the study, VAAY considered which macro factors contribute to stress, narrowing them down to
four broad categories. Next, over 500 global cities were assessed against a number of stress indicators in
these categories, before those without reliable data were removed, leaving a final line-up of 100 cities.
The study started with factors related to governance – assessing safety and security, and socio-political
stability as indicators of how comfortable someone can feel in a city. In order to include stress indicators
for all segments of society, levels of gender and minority equality were also scrutinised, as these
demographics often have a higher chance of experiencing stress due to societal frameworks shaped by
local laws and policy decisions.
Following this, VAAY compared how stressful each city’s urban environment is by looking at population
density statistics in addition to air, light, and noise pollution levels, the amount of traffic congestion and
weather conditions. These indicators were included in order to capture the stress-inducing effect of
atmospheric contamination and extreme weather conditions, for example wildfires, heatwaves, and
periods of extended darkness, which are strongly associated with both physical and mental health
Next, a number of financial factors were evaluated, including unemployment rates, social security
structures and local purchasing power. These indicators were included to reflect that economic problems
are a cause of significant stress for many people, and have become increasingly widespread since the
beginning of the pandemic.
Data regarding the quality and accessibility of healthcare in each city was then collated, including the
level of mental healthcare access. Finally, a Covid Response Stress Impact score was calculated by
analysing how stressful the pandemic response of each government has been for its citizens in addition to
its effectiveness. The study reveals which cities have the most stressful environments for their citizens,
and which lead by example as the least stressful cities.



Socio-Political Stability (Score)
● Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand, have the best Socio-Political Stability score (both 100),
followed by Reykjavik, Iceland (97.8) and Bern, Switzerland (96.8).
● Kabul, Afghanistan has the lowest Socio-Political Stability score (1.0), followed by Baghdad, Iraq,
(2.4) and Karachi, Pakistan (15.4).
Population Density (persons/km2)
● Manila, the Philippines, has the highest population density (20,784), followed by Doha, Qatar
(18,045) and Kabul, Afghanistan (16,126).
● Sofia, Bulgaria has the lowest population density (156), followed by Bern, Switzerland (174) and
Oslo, Norway (179).
Weather (Score)
● São Paulo, Brazil, has the highest Weather score (100), meaning it has the least stressful weather
conditions, followed by Los Angeles, USA, (89.6) and Cape Town, South Africa (88.8).
● Mumbai, India, has the lowest Weather score (1.0), meaning it has the most stressful weather
conditions, followed by Lagos, Nigeria (2.1) and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (6.0).
Traffic Congestion (Score)
● Abu Dhabi, UAE, has the highest Traffic Congestion score (100), meaning it has the lowest
amount of congestion, followed by Madrid, Spain and Boston, USA (both 88.8).
● Moscow, Russia, has the lowest Traffic Congestion score (1.0), meaning it has the highest
amount of congestion, followed by Manila, Philippines and Mumbai, India (both 3.3).
Noise Pollution (Score)
● Reykjavik, Iceland has the highest Noise Pollution score (100), meaning the least noise pollution,
followed by Helsinki, Finland (90.6) and Zurich, Switzerland (83.6).
● Lagos, Nigeria has the lowest Noise Pollution score (1.0), meaning the most noise pollution,
followed by Lima, Peru (3.5) and Cairo, Egypt (9.3).
Light Pollution (Score)
● Bern, Switzerland has the highest Light Pollution score (100), meaning the least light pollution,
followed by Munich, Germany (98.9) and Stuttgart, Germany (98.7).
● Doha, Qatar has the lowest Light Pollution score (1.0), meaning the most light pollution, followed
by Kuwait City, Kuwait (32.8) and Cairo, Egypt (53.0).
Unemployment Rate (%)
● Bucharest, Romania, has the lowest Unemployment Rate (1.2%), followed by Bangkok, Thailand
(1.8%) and Warsaw, Poland (1.9%).
● Lagos, Nigeria, has the highest Unemployment Rate (37.1%), followed by Johannesburg, South
Africa (35.1%) and Cape Town, South Africa (26.0%).

Social Security (Score)
● Brussels, Belgium, has the best Social Security score (100), followed by Paris, France (98.0) and
Munich, Germany (97.8).
● New Delhi, India has the lowest Social Security score (1.0), followed by Mumbai, India (1.0) and
Hong Kong (17.4).
Mental Health (Score)
● Singapore has the highest Mental Health score (100), meaning the lowest prevalence of mental
health disorders, followed by Jakarta, Indonesia (97.2) and Tokyo, Japan (97.1).
● Athens, Greece has the lowest Mental Health score (1.0), followed by Lisbon, Portugal (10.5) and
Madrid, Spain (14.1).
Covid Response Stress Impact (Score)
● Tokyo, Japan, has the highest Covid Response Stress Impact score (100), indicating the response
with the lowest stress impact on its citizens, followed by Bangkok, Thailand (96.5) and Toronto,
Canada (92.8).
● Prague, Czech Republic, has the lowest Covid Response Stress Impact score (1.0), indicating the
response with the highest stress impact on its citizens, followed by Buenos Aires, Argentina
(43.0) and Boston, USA (47.1).

More details here.

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