Manila among most stressful cities in the world – German study

Stress is unavoidable. While there are so many sources of stress in our daily lives, living in a less problematic environment may help you avoid potential stressors.

Unfortunately, that may not be the case for those living in Manila, as the city was named among the most stressful cities in the world according to a study by a German company.

In the Least and Most Stressful Cities Index 2021 study by wellbeing brand Vaay, Manila ranked 98th out of 100 global cities with a score of 29.4, making it the third most stressful city following Lagos in Nigeria and Mumbai in India, with scores of 19.9 and 1.00, respectively.

Results of the study also show that Manila is the most densely populated city, ahead of Doha in Qatar and Kabul in Afghanistan, with a population of 20,784 persons per square kilometer.

Manila was also among the cities with the highest amount of traffic congestion as it tied with Mumbai with a score of 3.3.

In addition, Philippine city ranked 93rd in the safety and security category and 90th in the access to health care category.

The city was also among those with the highest financial stresses and air pollution, as it ranked 91st and 87th, respectively.

In contrast to Manila, Reykjavik in Iceland ranked first on the list with a score of 100, making it the least stressful city to live in.

This was followed by Bern in Switzerland and Helsinki in Switzerland with scores of 96.6 and 95.0, respectively.

“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,”said VAAY co-founder Finn Age Hänsel.

“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,”he added.

The index scores the  global cities on 15 macro factors that contribute to stress, which are classified into four broad categories particularly governance, city, finance and health.

The governance category looks at governmental factors that dictate levels of inclusion in a city, such as safety and security, gender and minority equality, and socio-political stability.

“These elements represent societal frameworks which are shaped by policy decisions and local laws, all of which can impact a person’s mindset,”Vaay said.

Under the city category, VAAY looked at the effect of the physical environment by assessing population density, as well as pollution levels, weather patterns and the amount of traffic congestion in each city.

Meanwhile, the study also evaluated the impact of financial stress by looking at unemployment rates, social security structures and the amount of disposable income a household has after tax and accommodation costs, adjusted for purchasing power parity, amongst other factors.

VAAY also assessed health and wellbeing factors by specifically looking at mental health and access to healthcare as influences on stress levels.

“In line with our mission to promote people’s wellbeing, we wanted to provide an analysis of which global cities are the safest for their citizens and therefore boast a less stressful environment. Along with data on crime, we incorporated economic security, domestic stability and the likelihood of natural disasters, among other factors, to reveal which cities are some of the safest cities in the world, and which are some of the most dangerous,”Hänsel said.