Cover Reykjavik, Iceland, the least stressful city in the world (Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash)

Stressed? The Least and Most Stressful Cities Index 2021 will show you where you can move to for a happier, less stressful life

If you’re really looking to escape from Hong Kong’s demanding city stress, perhaps it’s time to consider a change of environment. 

According to The Least and Most Stressful Cities Index 2021, which analyzed and ranked a hundred global cities according to how stressful they are, Hong Kong ranked at number 74, placing just above New York and Kuala Lumpur—a non-shocker to most Hong Kongers seeing that the city has been named one of the unhappiness places on Earth time and time again. Hong Kong’s ranking took a hit from the city’s low social security score of 17.4 out of 100, placing it as the third worst city for social security. 

The title of the least stressful city in the world was won by Reykjavik, Iceland’s coastal capital city. Reykjavik offers sweeping nature views of the sea and green hills while also being home to the famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. In March, Iceland was named the second happiest country in the world, falling behind Finland, which won four consecutive years in a row since 2018.

See also: Hong Kong Is The Second Most Expensive City For Expats 2021

Following Reykjavik, Bern, Switzerland came in second place as the least stressful city in the world, while Helsinki, Finland came third. The study, which was commissioned by CBD brand Vaay, looked at fifteen stress indicators based on structural and environmental factors including safety, unemployment rate, air pollution, density, social security, mental health, access to healthcare and more. Researchers began their study with 500 cities in the world before removing those without reliable data, narrowing it down to the top chosen 100 cities.

On the other side of the spectrum, Mumbai, India’s largest city, was the most stressed city. Mumbai is followed by Lagos, Nigeria, and Manila, Philippines. Shanghai, the only Chinese city that made it to the list, ranked at number 83, making it the 18th most stressful city to live in worldwide. 

"Our objective with this study is to show what cities can achieve for their citizens through effective governance, robust environmental policies, and well-resourced social welfare systems," said Finn Age Hänsel, co-founder of Vaay.

"The aim is not to single out the cities which may lag behind in any of these areas, but rather highlight those which are leading examples of what can be done to improve the well-being of their inhabitants."

The pursuit of a simpler, well-rounded life has led to the wellness industry boom in recent years, bringing us trends such as CBD, meditation camps, and even ice baths. If you’ve tried it all and stress seems to be following you no matter what you do, maybe it’s time to give Iceland a try.

The top 10 least stressful cities in the world, according to Vaay: 

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland
  2. Bern, Switzerland
  3. Helsinki, Finland
  4. Wellington, New Zealand
  5. Melbourne, Australia
  6. Oslo, Norway
  7. Copenhagen, Denmark
  8. Innsbruck, Austria
  9. Hanover, Germany
  10. Graz, Austria

The top 10 most stressful cities in the world, according to Vaay: 

  1. Mumbai, India
  2. Lagos, Nigeria
  3. Manila, Philippines
  4. New Delhi, India
  5. Baghdad, Iraq
  6. Kabul, Afghanistan
  7. Moscow, Russia
  8. Karachi, Pakistan
  9. Jakarta, Indonesia
  10. Kiev, Ukraine

See also: The World’s 10 Most Liveable Cities For 2021