These Are the Most Stressed out People in the United States

February 16th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

Stress in the United States was gradually declining for years, but then a monumental event rocked the collective anxiety levels of the nation: the 2016 presidential election. 

Stress levels are now the highest they've been in years, and millennials are feeling it the most, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association. 

"The stress we're seeing around political issues is deeply concerning, because it's hard for Americans to get away from it," Katherine Nordal, APA's executive director for professional practice, said in a press release on Wednesday. "We're surrounded by conversations, news and social media that constantly remind us of the issues that are stressing us the most."

A survey of more than 1,000 people in the U.S. conducted in January showed the first significant increase in stress levels since 2007, with millennials reporting the highest levels of significant stress at 58 percent, the increase tied to the presidential election and the new administration of President Donald Trump. 

Young people also reported higher levels of stress overall, and were more likely to say that their stress levels have recently increased. 

Why are millennials so stressed out?

President Donald Trump's presidency maybe be causing millennials more anxiety because less of them voted for him. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won 55 percent of the millennial vote, though this was less than President Barack Obama received in 2012. But it's not just that.


Another reason the millennial generation is stressed is debt, with 42 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds reporting at least one person in their household with student loan debt, according to the Harvard Kennedy School. Whether or not they have it, 57 percent of millennials also told the Kennedy school that student loan debt is a "major problem for young people." And in addition to debt, young people also consistently face higher rates of unemployment compared to older generations. 

Young Americans may also have a harder time managing stress. 

They're the most stressed out and they're doing the least about, according to an APA survey in August 2016 that found millennials were more likely to say that they're not doing enough to manage their anxiety.

The APA recommends a simple stress reliever: unplug. 

"For many, the transition of power and the speed of change can cause uncertainty and feelings of stress, and that stress can have health consequences. If the 24-hour news cycle is causing you stress, limit your media consumption," Nordal said. "Read enough to stay informed but then plan activities that give you a regular break from the issues and the stress they might cause. And remember to take care of yourself and pay attention to other areas of your life."

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