Which Are the Least and Most Stressful Cities in the World

Delhi ranks as the second-most stressful city in the world according to a survey by a global insurance provider
Delhi is the second-most stressed city in the world
Delhi is the second-most stressed city in the world

Most of us plan in advance before embarking on a journey, especially if we are travelling overseas. After all, the more stress-free we can travel, the better the enjoyment. However, deciding on which place is better than others is not an easy task as there are many aspects involved.

Thankfully, for 2022, we have a ready reckoner put together by William Russell, a global provider of international health, life- and income-protection insurance, with members in more than 160 countries. They have drawn up a list of the most and least stressed cities as well as countries, ranked according to air pollution levels, green spaces, cleanliness, financial stress, LGBTQ safety, and suicide rates.

According to the survey, the least stressed cities in the world are Helsinki (Finland), Vienna (Austria), and Munich (Germany).  


The Finnish capital, with an enviable set of parameters, topped the list of least stressed cities in the world. Among the cities surveyed, it has the lowest pollution index at just 13.65 and a noise- and light-pollution level of just 25.21. Poverty has taken a backseat (World Bank reported that zero per cent of people in Helsinki live in poverty) while the monthly cost of living for a single person is &pound700 without rent.


The capital of Austria has been able to keep its poverty level in check with just one per cent of the population surviving at a poverty level of $5.50 a day. The cost of living in Vienna (&pound660 per month on living costs without rent) is even lower than that of Helsinki. According to the report, Vienna&rsquos LGBTQ safety rating is 300, higher than most cities on the list and has the third-highest cleanliness rating of any city at 83.57.

Munich 2.59/10

The German city comes third on the list with its cost of living pegged at &pound750 per month for a single person. However, it has been able to restrict its poverty level at one per cent of the population. The cleanliness rating shows that it&rsquos the fifth-cleanest city on the list, with a score of 82.42. Interestingly, Munich is the best city for the quality of green areas and parks. It has a green area quality rating of 85.6, which is the highest on the list.


If you are curious to know how India fared in the survey, be prepared for some heartbreaking news. The Indian capital of Delhi ranks second on the list of most stressed cities in the world, sandwiched between Cairo (Egypt) and Karachi (Pakistan).

Cairo 7.67/10

Based on the factors used, the survey found Cairo to be the most stressed city in the world. One of the world&rsquos most acclaimed historic cities, the capital of Egypt is one of the busiest cities on earth, and the second-largest in Africa. Probably, this has also affected the city&rsquos cleanliness quotient. Cairo has the second-lowest cleanliness rating of all cities on the list at 17.22. In Cairo, the LGBTQ safety rating is also one of the lowest in the world at -96. However, Cairo has one of the lowest suicide rates per 100,000 of the population, at just 3.41&mdasha likely indicator that people here are able to find a way through their hardships. Estimated monthly cost of living (single person) is $435.

Delhi 6.96/10

The Indian capital fares better than Cairo where cleanliness is concerned, with a score of 28.78. While the LGBTQ safety rating is 65, Delhi has one of the highest suicide rates per 100,000 people, at 12.91. Although the cost of living in Delhi is just $373 per month for a single person, over 17 per cent of the population lives in poverty. It also suffers from a high level of air pollution.

Apart from Delhi, three more Indian cities &ndash Mumbai (4th), Kolkata (7th) and Bengaluru (9th) also figure among the top 10 most stressed cities in the world. All the cities have a LGBTQSafety rating of 65 each, and suicide rate of 12.91 each per 100,000 population. However, estimated monthly cost of living (single person) is $396 in Mumbai, $336 in Kolkata, and $367 in Bengaluru.

Karachi 6.47/10

Karachi has a cleanliness rating of 20.26, and a high level of air pollution, which can be a matter of concern. The LGBTQ safety rating in Karachi is -89, while the suicide rate is 9.77 per 100,000 people. The cost of living in Karachi is lower than in Delhi, at $308 per month for a single person, while 4.47 per cent of the population lives in poverty.

(For more details, or information regarding methodologies, sources, etc., click here.) 

Although quantitative studies are dependent on many factors, such as methodology, data collection, population, etc. and may differ from one survey to another, they offer useful clues in planning for the future. The William Russell study provides solid clues which will help travellers plan a stress-free itinerary. And even if they have to visit the stressful cities or countries, they know what to expect and prepare accordinginly. After all, forewarned is forearmed.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller