by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Most-stressed Cities in the US

These are the Most-stressed Cities in the US

by David Klemt

Deflated smiley face balloon in street

There’s a simple argument to be made that one characteristic the happiest cities share is being among the least stressful to live.

Yesterday we took a look at the happiest cities in the US, according to WalletHub analysis. Click here in case you haven’t yet read that article.

Today, let’s check out the most- and least-stressed cities in America. As with their happiest and least-happy cities list, WalletHub ranks 182 cities based on stress levels.

Of course, “least stressed” doesn’t mean “stress-free.” Nor should it—some stress is good for us. After all, stress can push us to perform our best, bring out our problem-solving creativity, and even energize us.

The rankings below may surprise you. Like me, you may even find yourself raising an eyebrow and disagreeing with some of them.

However, it’s a compelling list worth reviewing if you’re an operator, leadership team member, hospitality professional, or in the site-selection portion of opening a restaurant or bar.

The Top 25 Cities of Stress

When determining their results, WalletHub ranked 182 cities according to four main categories. Those categories are: work stress; financial stress; family stress; and health and safety stress. The categories consist of 40 key metrics in total.

I think it’s safe to assume that no city wants to be in the top 25 of this list, or even the top 50. Neither, I’m certain, does any city want to wear the crown of “Most Stressed US City.”

Unfortunately, someone must be number one. Below, the top 25 “Cities of Stress,” per WalletHub:

  1. Cleveland, Ohio
  2. Detroit, Michigan
  3. Gulfport, Mississippi
  4. Baltimore, Maryland
  5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  6. Memphis, Tennessee
  7. New Orleans, Louisiana
  8. Birmingham, Alabama
  9. Louis, Missouri
  10. Toledo, Ohio
  11. Augusta, Georgia
  12. Jackson, Mississippi
  13. North Las Vegas, Nevada
  14. San Bernadino, California
  15. Fayetteville, North Carolina
  16. Akron, Ohio
  17. Wilmington, Delaware
  18. Houston, Texas
  19. Montgomery, Alabama
  20. Shreveport, Louisiana
  21. Cincinnati, Ohio
  22. Newark, New Jersey
  23. Mobile, Alabama
  24. Columbus, Georgia
  25. Indianapolis, Indiana

Alas (I don’t get to use this word much), Ohio has four cities on this list. In fact, the Buckeye State has two cities in the top ten.

Of course, Ohio isn’t the only state with multiple cities in the top 25 stressed cities. Alabama has three cities among the top 25. Also, Mississippi and Louisiana each have two cities on this part of the list, unfortunately.

Cities 26 Through 91

As you’ll see below, Ohio shows up a couple of times in this portion of the list. However, so do a handful of other states.

For example, ten Texas cities land on this part of the list. That means Texas has 11 cities among the “top” half of the most-stressed US cities.

  1. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada
  3. Huntington, West Virginia
  4. Springfield, Missouri
  5. Dover, Delaware
  6. Norfolk, Virginia
  7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  8. Chicago, IL
  9. Newport News, Virginia
  10. Washington, DC
  11. Dallas, Texas
  12. Richmond, Virginia
  13. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  14. Chattanooga, Tennessee
  15. Bridgeport, Connecticut
  16. San Antonia, Texas
  17. Atlanta, Georgia
  18. Glendale, Arizona
  19. New York, New York
  20. Tucson, Arizona
  21. Columbia, South Carolina
  22. Columbus, Ohio
  23. Knoxville, Tennessee
  24. New Haven, Connecticut
  25. Brownsville, Texas
  26. Rochester, New York
  27. Casper, Wyoming
  28. Vancouver, Washington
  29. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  30. Jacksonville, Florida
  31. Corpus Christi, Texas
  32. Charleston, West Virginia
  33. Henderson, Nevada
  34. Phoenix, Arizona
  35. Modesto, California
  36. Wichita, Kansas
  37. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  38. Little Rock, Arkansas
  39. Moreno Valley, California
  40. Louisville, Kentucky
  41. Stockton, California
  42. Spokane, Washington
  43. Fresno, California
  44. Miami, Florida
  45. Kansas City, Missouri
  46. El Paso, Texas
  47. Salem, Oregon
  48. Hialeah, Hawaii
  49. Los Angeles, California
  50. Fort Smith, Arizona
  51. Fort Worth, Texas
  52. Denver, Colorado
  53. Arlington, Texas
  54. Buffalo, New York
  55. Greensboro, North Carolina
  56. Bakersfield, California
  57. Fort Wayne, Indiana
  58. Providence, Rhode Island
  59. Tacoma, Washington
  60. Port St. Lucie, Florida
  61. Lewiston, Maine
  62. Laredo, Texas
  63. Cape Coral, Florida
  64. Grand Prairie, Texas
  65. Garland, Texas
  66. Aurora, Colorado

Cities 92 Through 137

This is where things begin to turn around, at least mathematically. This is the “bottom” half of the list.

Or, to phrase it another way, this section starts identifying the least-stressed cities in America.

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Ontario, California
  3. Lubbock, Texas
  4. Reno, Nevada
  5. Huntsville, Alabama
  6. Sacramento, California
  7. Amarillo, Texas
  8. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  9. Tampa, Florida
  10. Long Beach, California
  11. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  12. Fontana, California
  13. Tallahassee, Florida
  14. Las Cruces, New Mexico
  15. Worchester, Massachusetts
  16. Orlando, Florida
  17. West Valley City, Utah
  18. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  19. Peoria, Arizona
  20. Riverside, California
  21. Mesa, Arizona
  22. Nashville, Tennessee
  23. Des Moines, Iowa
  24. Nampa, Idaho
  25. Tempe, Arizona
  26. Irving, Texas
  27. Oakland, California
  28. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  29. Charlotte, North Carolina
  30. Rancho Cucamonga, California
  31. Boston, Massachusetts
  32. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  33. Honolulu, Hawaii
  34. Oceanside, California
  35. Pearl City, Hawaii
  36. Anchorage, Alaska
  37. Warwick, Rhode Island
  38. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  39. Cheyenne, Wyoming
  40. Petersburg, Florida
  41. Chesapeake, Virginia
  42. Billings, Montana
  43. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
  44. Durham, North Carolina
  45. Santa Ana, California
  46. Jersey City, New Jersey

Cities 138 through 182

Finally, we reach what cities, according to WalletHub analysis, experience the least amount of stress.

  1. Salt Lake City, Utah
  2. Aurora, Illinois
  3. Santa Clarita, California
  4. Glendale, California
  5. Manchester, New Hampshire
  6. Paul, Minnesota
  7. Garden Grove, California
  8. Pembroke Pines, Florida
  9. Yonkers, New York
  10. Chandler, Arizona
  11. Oxnard, California
  12. Juneau, Alaska
  13. Anaheim, California
  14. Santa Rosa, California
  15. Chula Vista, California
  16. Charleston, South Carolina
  17. Raleigh, North Carolina
  18. San Francisco, California
  19. Huntington Beach, California
  20. Omaha, Nebraska
  21. San Diego, California
  22. Gilbert, Arizona
  23. Scottsdale, Arizona
  24. Rapid City, South Dakota
  25. Austin, Texas
  26. Seattle, Washington
  27. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  28. Missoula, Montana
  29. Boise, Idaho
  30. Nashua, New Hampshire
  31. Plano, Texas
  32. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  33. Lincoln, Nebraska
  34. Portland, Maine
  35. Irvine, California
  36. Burlington, Vermont
  37. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  38. Bismarck, North Dakota
  39. San Jose, California
  40. Columbia, Maryland
  41. Fargo, North Dakota
  42. Overland Park, Kansas
  43. Madison, Wisconsin
  44. South Burlington, Vermont
  45. Fremont, California

Twelve of the cities on this part of the list are in California. Further, the least-stressed city in California: Fremont. If you read yesterday’s article, you know that WalletHub ranked Fremont, California, the happiest city in the US.

Image: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Which Cities and States are the Happiest?

Which US Cities and States are the Happiest?

by David Klemt

Yellow smiley face ball

As an entrepreneur and operator evaluating a market for a first location or expansion, it can help to know where people are happiest.

Equally as helpful: Knowing the cities and states that are the least happy. Not, necessarily, so an operator can avoid these markets.

Rather, one’s concept may be a ray of stress-free sunshine for a given community. Providing a great workplace with a positive culture can work wonders for both the happiest and least-happy places. And as the cornerstones of the communities they serve, restaurants and bars can improve their guests’ quality of life.

We’ve looked at the US cities with the greatest inflow and outflow (which can reveal happiness levels), as identified by Redfin. And we’ve checked out the best US retirement cities, researched by Clever.

Now, we’re taking a look at which US cities and states are the happiest and least happy, according to WalletHub. In case you’re unaware, personal finance site WalletHub researches a vast array of topics. You can browse them here.

Happiest Cities

While determining which are happiest, WalletHub identified the happiest 182 cities. Obviously, that’s a far cry from how many cities are in the US.

According to one source, there 19,495 cities, towns, and villages across the country (per data from 2018). Of those, 4,727 cities have populations of 5,000 or more. A total of 310 cities have populations of at least 100,000, and only ten are home to one million people or more.

So, living in any of the 182 cities WalletHub suggests one is pretty happy. However, these are the ten happiest cities, in descending order:

  1. Fremont, California
  2. Columbia, Maryland
  3. San Francisco, California
  4. San Jose, California
  5. Irvine, California
  6. Madison, Wisconsin
  7. Seattle, Washington
  8. Overland Park, Kansas
  9. Huntington Beach, California
  10. San Diego, California

As you can see, six of the 10 cities are in California. In fact, 29 of the 182 cities on this list are located in the Golden State.

To create their list, WalletHub analyzed several metrics that make up three main categories: emotional and physical well-being; work environment; and community and environment.

Fremont, CA, is number one for emotional and physical well-being. The top spot for work environment goes to San Francisco, CA. And the number-one city for community and environment is Casper, Wyoming, which is number 79 on the list overall.

Least-happy Cities

Again, understanding that there are more than 19,400 cities, towns, and villages in the US alters the context of this list a bit.

Living and operating in one of these 182 cities indicates a person is living in a happy city. Basically, it isn’t the worst place to live if it’s on this list.

At any rate, let’s look at the 10 cities that make up the bottom of WalletHub’s list. Or, the “least-happy” cities, at least as far as these rankings are concerned.

  1. Detroit, Michigan
  2. Gulfport, Mississippi
  3. Memphis, Tennessee
  4. Huntington, West Virginia
  5. Montgomery, Alabama
  6. Cleveland, Ohio
  7. Augusta, Georgia
  8. Fort Smith, Arizona
  9. Mobile, Alabama
  10. Shreveport, Louisiana

Happiest States

WalletHub also ranked 50 states to determine the happiest and least happy. I checked, and, yep, that’s all of ’em! I will say it’s a bit disappointing they didn’t include Puerto Rico, but it isn’t the 51st state (yet).

WalletHub focused on 30 metrics to rank the states, which make up three main categories: emotional and physical well-being; work environment; and community and environment.

In descending order, the happiest states in America are:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Maryland
  3. Minnesota
  4. Utah
  5. New Jersey
  6. Idaho
  7. California
  8. Illinois
  9. Nebraska
  10. Connecticut

Hawaii doesn’t just take the top spot overall, it also claims number one for emotional and physical well-being. Utah takes first for work environment, and community and environment.

Rounding out the “happiest half” of the US are:

  1. Virginia
  2. South Dakota
  3. North Dakota
  4. Massachusetts
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Iowa
  7. Delaware
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. North Carolina
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Washington
  13. New York
  14. Maine
  15. Wyoming

Least-happy States

Conversely, the following are the least-happy states, starting with the unhappiest:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Louisiana
  3. Arkansas
  4. Kentucky
  5. Alabama
  6. Mississippi
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Tennessee
  9. New Mexico
  10. Missouri

Filling out the least-happy half of the country are:

  1. Alaska
  2. Michigan
  3. Ohio
  4. Indiana
  5. Texas
  6. Nevada
  7. Vermont
  8. South Carolina
  9. Kansas
  10. Arizona
  11. Colorado
  12. Montana
  13. Rhode Island
  14. Pennsylvania
  15. Oregon

In terms of the three metrics WalletHub analyzed, West Virginia is ranked last for emotional and physical well-being. Unfortunately, Mississippi is last for work environment. And Texas comes in last for community and environment.

Image: chaitanya pillala on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Is Your Business in a Top Time Out City?

Is Your Business in a Top Time Out City?

by David Klemt

The Bean aka Cloud Gate in Chicago

Hot off the presses, Time Out is now revealing the results of their Time Out Index 2022, an annual list identifying the world’s top cities.

The global publication, founded in the late 1960s, surveyed 20,000 “city dwellers.” Time Out focuses on cities’ restaurant, bar, nightlife, entertainment, and art scenes.

For 2020 and 2021, Time Out put emphasis on the pandemic and how cities maintained resiliency and kept communities together. In 2022, priority is given to flourishing nightlife, dining, and drinking, along with culture.

Additionally, Time Out gives weight to a city’s sustainability, safety, walkability, and affordability. To learn more about how Time Out analyzes data, click here.

Compelling Rankings

Below, you’ll find Time Out’s ranking of the best 53 cities in the world for 2022. I’ve broken the list into sections: 53 to 11, and ten to number one.

Interestingly, the 20,000 survey respondents note the dining, drinking, and nightlife of the top five cities. In fact, the nightlife scene of number three is “the world’s best.”

And city number two? Survey takers think it’s the most fun—”funnest,” according to Time Out—in the world.

Now, I know our audience is largely American and Canadian, so I’ll get to how both rank. Six cities—the usual suspects, basically—in the US are on the list. Only one American city is in the top ten, and it’s likely not the one you think. As for Canada, one city claims the 27 spot, another is number nine.

You’ll find the Canadian and American cities in bold below. Champing at the bit to see the results? Scroll down!

Time Out Cities 53 to 11

  1. Doha, Qatar
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Bangkok, Thailand
  4. Istanbul, Turkey
  5. Johannesburg, South Africa
  6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  7. Auckland, New Zealand
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  10. Singapore
  11. Accra, Ghana
  12. Los Angeles, California, USA
  13. Rome, Italy
  14. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  15. Barcelona, Spain
  16. Miami, Florida, USA
  17. São Paulo, Brazil
  18. Dublin, Ireland
  19. Athens, Greece
  20. Manila, Philippines
  21. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  22. Paris, France
  23. Tel Aviv, Israel
  24. Mexico City, Mexico
  25. Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  26. Lisbon, Portugal
  27. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  28. Delhi, India
  29. San Francisco, California, USA
  30. Tokyo, Japan
  31. Stockholm, Sweden
  32. Birmingham, England
  33. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  34. New York, New York, USA
  35. Lyon, France
  36. Porto, Portugal
  37. London, England
  38. Taipei, Taiwan
  39. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  40. Mumbai, India
  41. Manchester, England
  42. Madrid, Spain
  43. Cape Town, South Africa

The Top Ten Time Out Cities

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Montréal, Québec, Canada
  3. Berlin, Germany
  4. Marrakech, Morocco
  5. Prague, Czech Republic
  6. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  7. Glasgow, Scotland
  8. Medellín, Colombia
  9. Chicago, Illinois, USA
  10. Edinburgh, Scotland

Congratulations to the top 53 cities in the world! We expect big things from their dining, drinking, and nightlife moving forward.

Image: Christopher Alvarenga on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

People are Returning to Cities

People are Returning to Cities

by David Klemt


Aston Martin DB5 on freeway in Phoenix, Arizona

It seems the people fleeing big cities in a “mass exodus” are throwing their moving trucks and vans into reverse.

Millennials and Gen Z are apparently leaving the suburbs and rural areas.

Analysts are looking at significant increases in rent as proof of the shift.

Climbing Rent

Anyone following along with real estate is aware that the housing market is off-the-charts hot right now.

Bidding wars for houses and condos are driving prices up by tens of thousands of dollars in many cases.

Well, those bidding wars aren’t only affecting housing sales.

In some markets, rates for rental properties are climbing by more than 40 percent. Per reports, rent is up 7.5 percent across the nation.

Now, bidding wars are taking place for rental properties. As is the case with homes and condos, there’s less inventory than demand.

Obviously, that drives up prices.

Who and Where?

Millennials and Gen Z are driving the journey back to the cities.

Many in those generations moved out of cities to live with friends or family. During the pandemic, doing so was a sound in terms of physical, mental, and financial health.

According to data from, the following markets are seeing year-over-year increases in one- and two-bedroom apartment rent:

  • Tucson, AZ
  • Santa Ana, CA
  • Henderson, NV
  • Las Vegas, NV

For the full report, click here.

Another market is, per several outlets, seeing an influx in younger, wealthy renters and buyers: Phoenix, AZ.

In fact, the wealthy have been investing in property throughout Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver and Dallas.

Of course, the nation’s biggest cities are also drawing more people. For example, New York City is experiencing an influx of residents.

This is largely due to the relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions and an increase—in some cities and states—in vaccination rates.

It’s important to meet guests where they are. Those looking to expand or open new venues should give serious consideration to booming secondary markets.

Image: iStrfry , Marcus on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Meet Customers Where They Are

Meet Customers Where They Are

by David Klemt

Suburban community

If news stories are to be believed, Americans are fleeing big, expensive cities en masse.

Are those stories accurate or examples of sensationalism?

Mass Exodus?

The pandemic is, without any doubt, reshaping the United States. It is, in fact, transforming any nation on which it has gained a significant foothold.

Several sources claim that a mass exodus to the suburbs and rural towns is taking shape across America.

The authors of these stories often cite survey results, housing and rental price fluctuations, financial struggles and the cost of living in many cities, and anecdotal “evidence” to make their points.

On its face, just the argument that cities like Los Angeles and New York City are too expensive to live in with so many people struggling financially makes sense. And stories about astronomically high rent compared to square footage and median income in dense, expensive cities are commonplace.

Haute Exodus?

Still other stories tell tales of the wealthy migrating from major cities to “wait out” the pandemic.

Since wealthy people have the means, they’re able to leave densely populated areas for destinations with smaller populations. The logic being, the less people in an area, the lower risk of infection.

There are reports referring to NYC as a “ghost town” and describing San Francisco as a shell of its former densely-populated, well-heeled self.

Again, much of the reporting is supported by anecdotal and social media “evidence.”


Forbes, which has published articles supporting mass exodus claims and also disputing them, has made the argument that the situation is nuanced.

Eric Martel, a Forbes Councils Member, analyzed U-Haul Migration Index (UMI) and uncovered some interesting data. Martel finds that net migration in San Francisco and Los Angeles is lower—significantly so in LA—than it was in 2018. In NYC, net migration looks higher.

More reasonable conclusions regarding Americans and the pandemic seem to be:

  • Large numbers of people have moved out of some major cities. NYC seems to be a good example.
  • Some of the wealthy have temporarily left highly-populated cities, choosing to stay in places normally considered vacation destinations for longer periods of time.
  • People appear to be moving toward the outskirts of larger cities where rent and prices tend to be lower than that of city centers.
  • Suburbs near the outskirts of major cities appear to be popular migration targets.
  • Some of this “migration” is temporary, driven by the ability to work remotely. It’s likely that some people who have moved out of cities will return when they perceive things have returned to “normal.”


Jack Li, co-founder and CEO of Datassential, suggests operators check out so-called second-tier cities—Austin, Nashville and Charlotte, for example—and the areas where cities meet suburbs. The reasons are simple:

  • Innovation and food trends tend to start cities, reaching rural areas last. That means second-tier cities, city outskirts, and suburbs are quicker to embrace trends and innovations. (Location.)
  • Less-expensive commercial real estate prices. (Cost.)
  • Potential increase in the number of families. (Customer density.)
  • Potential increase in the number of seniors with financial means. (Customer density.)

The impact the pandemic has had makes informed decisions that much more critical to success in this industry. Demographic and feasibility studies are more important now than ever.

Both are cornerstones of the KRG Hospitality approach, whether an operator has several years’ experience or is a neophyte. Click here to learn more about how KRG Hospitality can help you and your concept, click here to learn about KRG Mindset Coaching, and click here to download the KRG 2021 Start-up Cost Guide & Checklist.

Image: The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels