Thursday, May 21, 2009

How Stressed Out Are We? Map Tells the Tale

Feeling stressed by the Great Recession? You've got reason to be. According to a new map put together by The Associated Press, Central Oregon is

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Feeling stressed by the Great Recession? You've got reason to be. According to a new map put together by The Associated Press, Central Oregon is one of the most stressed-out places in the country.

The AP's "Stress Index Map" shows the stress level in every county in America, as calculated on the basis of the unemployment rate, the foreclosure rate and the bankruptcy rate. The map, which The AP plans to update monthly, indicates each county's stress index score by color, ranging from beige (under 5) to very dark brown (25 or over).

Crook County is the most stressed county in Oregon, according to the map, with an index score of 23.1. Jefferson County is not far behind, scoring 21.39. Deschutes County racks up a score of 20.45.

The only other Oregon counties with a stress index score higher than 20 are Douglas at 20.33 and Harney at 22.10.

On the bright side, Central Oregon looks positively mellow compared with some places in California, including Imperial County (stress index 28.13), Merced County (28.07) and Colusa County at 28.23.

But even poor Colusa isn't the most stressed-out county in the USA. That dubious honor goes to Mackinac County on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with a score of 28.44

Looking at the overall map, one striking thing is how pale (low-stress) the central portion of the country is and how dark (high-stress) the West Coast is. In general, the areas that saw the biggest boom are the ones that got hammered hardest by the bust.

A quick eyeball scan seems to show that Nebraska is the least-stressed state in the country; we couldn't find a single county there with a stress index in double digits. So if you're thinking about loading up the U-Haul and heading for greener pastures, that's one possibility to consider.

The downside, of course, is that you'd be in Nebraska.

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