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How stressed is Sacramento? A recent survey says we’re worse than Chicago and LA

Sacramento residents are more stressed on average than people from Los Angeles, Chicago, Manhattan, Phoenix and more than 60 other cities, one recent social media-based study claims.

Survey results analyzing the language in more than 5 million tweets from the 100 most populous cities in the U.S. ranked Sacramento at No. 30 in the nation and No. 11 in California, according to London-based Babylon Health.

Approximately 11.03 percent of tweets based out of Sacramento contain language indicative of moderate to high stress levels, according to the study, which took random samples of tweets from July 2015.

A computer-based system called TensiStrength is designed to look at “general short social web texts, such as tweets” and search them for “terms used that are related to stress, frustration, anxiety, anger and negativity,” Babylon Health said in a news release Monday.

TensiStrength found six of the Top 10 stressed-out cities are in California: San Bernardino (No. 2), Chula Vista (No. 5), Bakersfield (No. 6), Stockton (No. 8), Santa Ana (No. 9) and Riverside (No. 10), ranging between 11.86 and 12.87 percent stressed.

The most stressed city was Hialeah, Fla. (13.03 percent), and the least stressed was St. Paul, Minn. (just 2.56 percent).

Sacramento was a few ticks above Los Angeles and San Jose, and virtually tied with Oakland.

The study does not delve into what specifically makes each city so stressful. Additionally, by its methodology, only the stress of active Twitter posters is observed.

So what was making Sacramento Twitter users anxious in July 2015? Triple-digit heat? Bad drivers on Highway 50? We may never know.

Despite rising rent, considerable traffic and reports that folks are leaving the Bay Area for places like Sacramento, San Francisco ranked in the bottom 10 for stress levels (8.67 percent).

Babylon Health’s study methodology explains how TensiStrength measures stress and its correlation to language. One major source of short-term stress for most people is travel, including daily commute periods, as well as any associated delays.

What causes long-term stress? Babylon Health refers to recent nationwide surveys by the American Psychology Association, which in 2017 found that 63 percent of Americans were anxious about “the future of the nation” and 43 percent responded that they were stressed about health care.

Last year’s APA study said about 75 percent of Generation Z respondents said mass shootings are a significant source of stress, and that more than half of Gen Z students said they were worried about the possibility of a shooting at their own school.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.
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