15 U.S. Cities With the Most Stressful Jobs in 2022

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Smartest Dollar.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly exacerbated stressful work conditions for frontline and essential workers, workers in a wide range of other occupations must also contend with stress at work on a regular basis.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), nearly 8% of U.S. workers are employed in occupations requiring the highest degrees of stress tolerance.

Stress on the job can be caused by high risks, demanding customers, and tight deadlines among other factors. O*NET ranks occupations on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how much a job “requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.” With a score of 100, urologists are thought to face some of the most stressful work conditions.

Many of the other higher-scoring jobs, such as nurse anesthetists and physician assistants, are in the health care field as well.

While many high-stress occupations command high wages — such as those in health care, business, and law — not all do. For example, telephone operators, public safety telecommunicators, and retail sales managers are all among the most high-stress occupations, but their wages are at or slightly below the national median.

To determine the U.S. metropolitan areas with the most stressful jobs, researchers at Smartest Dollar analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*NET. The researchers ranked metros according to the percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations.

Here are the large metros (population 1 million or more) with the most stressful jobs.

15. St. Louis, MO-IL

St. Louis, Missouri
KENNY TONG / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 7.6%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 98,270
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $42,060
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $63,085

14. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL

Miami, Florida
littleny / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 7.6%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 190,340
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $38,690
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $65,902

13. Kansas City, MO-KS

Kansas City, Missouri
Scruggelgreen / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 7.7%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 79,790
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $43,200
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $62,882

12. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

New York City
Taiga / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 7.7%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 684,020
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $52,020
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $84,360

11. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD

Baltimore, Maryland
Hethers / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 7.9%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 102,340
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $48,470
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $71,688

10. Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY

Buffalo, New York
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 8.1%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 40,310
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $42,040
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $71,477

9. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

Providence, Rhode Island
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 8.1%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 42,940
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $46,000
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $74,967

8. Tucson, AZ

Tucson, Arizona
Sean-Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 8.2%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 30,130
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $38,900
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $58,521

7. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Philadelphia, downtown evening rush hour.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 8.2%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 220,690
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $46,500
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $72,606

6. Rochester, NY

Rochester New York
TarnPisessith / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 8.3%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 39,630
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $42,430
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $66,228

5. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City skyline
Natalia Bratslavsky / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 8.4%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 51,330
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $39,080
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $60,689

4. Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh
esb-professional / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 8.4%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 90,130
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $43,200
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $66,731

3. New Orleans-Metairie, LA

New Orleans
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 8.5%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 43,700
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $38,280
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $60,015

2. Cleveland-Elyria, OH

Cleveland, Ohio
Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 8.5%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 83,650
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $42,740
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $68,794

1. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

Birmingham, Alabama
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations: 9.8%
  • Total workers in the most high-stress occupations: 48,770
  • Median annual wage across all workers: $39,530
  • Median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations: $56,895

Methodology

Man using too much data on his phone, tablet and laptop
Bacho / Shutterstock.com

To determine the U.S. metropolitan areas with the most stressful jobs, researchers at Smartest Dollar analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’s 2020 Occupational Employment Survey and O*NET’s Occupational Stress Tolerance data.

The researchers ranked metros according to the percentage of workers in the most high-stress occupations, defined as the share of workers in jobs with O*NET stress scores of 90 and above.

In the event of a tie, the metro with the larger total number of workers in the most high-stress occupations was ranked higher. Researchers also calculated the median annual wage across all workers and the median annual wage across workers in high-stress occupations.

To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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