Audrey Fraizer

Audrey Fraizer

Story Vault

By Audrey Fraizer

Salt Lake City is ranked first among the top 10 least stressed out cities in the United States, according to the results of a study posted by CNN Wire.

I don’t know who conducted the study or who did the voting. I don’t know if the study is scientifically valid or just someone’s idea of what to judge in a contest to choose the top 10 least stressed cities. The article doesn’t say. All I know is that Salt Lake City was at the top due to variables—cost of living, employment, and healthy lifestyles—that, according to the article, give Salt Lake City residents minimal stuff to stress about.

The one contrary that the article cites is the city’s high property crime rate. Further research (quick Google search) paints a fairly dismal picture: property crime (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson) in Salt Lake City is 167 percent higher than the state’s average and 156 percent higher than the national average; statistically, anyone living in Salt Lake City has a one in 15 chance of falling victim to property crime.

Our city mayor attributes the higher-than-average property crimes to their relation to drug offenses.

Unfortunately, a few people I know have been in that “one” slot more than once. My own fairly minor brushes with property crime include a road bike stolen from a rack where it had been locked outside the downtown city library and a metal gnome holding a desecrated pink flamingo stolen from our vegetable patch. Metal garden gnomes, fashioned by a local artist, are apparently hot items in Salt Lake City.

On the up side, which isn’t even noted in the article, Salt Lake City boasts amazing scenery and almost immediate access to incredible outdoor recreation.

I don't mean to diminish the property crime rate, but like many cities, Salt Lake City has its share of good and bad. It’s a matter of perspective based on the quality of life a city affords despite the drawbacks. There are many things worse than a missing garden gnome, such as the “more time [spent daily] on the job” in Raleigh, N.C., which is ranked third on the least stressed city list. This is compared to most other major metro areas as a whole.

Of course, no city fits all, and stress—which is the indicator in this selection—depends on the individual. If you’re the person dispatching response to 9-1-1 calls, there might be very few days that any city makes the cut.

The cities, according to ranking 1–10:

•Salt Lake City, Utah

•Rochester, N.Y.

•Raleigh, N.C.

•Minneapolis, Minn.

•Richmond, Va.

•Buffalo, N.Y.

•Hartford, Conn.

•Pittsburgh, Pa.

•San Jose, Calif.

•Sacramento, Calif.