This City in Idaho Has Been Named the Most Stressful City in the State


Amidst Idaho’s famed natural beauty and affordability, there is a story of stress, particularly in cities dealing with unemployment, long commutes, housing affordability, and access to healthcare.

In this investigation, we look at the most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics to determine which Idaho community has the highest stress load and why.

Measuring Stress Methodology

Four major variables were examined using data from the American Community Survey 2017-2021, which included 33 Idaho localities with populations of more than 5,500.

Read more: Iowa’s Most Stressed City Has Been Revealed

  • Unemployment Rate: The unemployment rate reflects the proportion of the labor force that is actively seeking jobs.
  • Weekly Hours Worked: A measure of work-life balance, representing the average number of hours worked each week.
  • Commute Time: The average commute time to work for non-remote employees.
    The home value to income ratio demonstrates the affordability of property with income levels.
  • Home Value to Income Ratio: Each statistic illuminates prevalent stressors such as job stability, work-life balance, traffic congestion, and financial hardship, resulting in a comprehensive picture of urban stress levels.

Rathdrum, the Epitome of Stress

Rathdrum emerges as the city with the most stress. Rathdrum, a town of 9,305 people in Kootenai County, has a high level of stress.

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (No. 9)
  • Weekly hours worked: 39.7 (ranked eighth).
  • Commute Time: 24 minutes (#6)
  • Home Value to Income Ratio: 3.58 (No. 9)

Rathdrum’s scores across these parameters highlight the numerous obstacles that its citizens confront, including difficulties with job search, time management, commute, and home affordability. Notably, Rathdrum’s unemployment rate is roughly double the state average of 3.1%, and its home affordability ratio is above the national average, compounding financial constraints.

Uncovering Rathdrum’s Stressors

Rathdrum’s stress story is diverse, and shaped by its geographical and social context. Rathdrum, as part of the Coeur d’Alene metropolitan region, is dealing with the consequences of fast urbanization, such as rising housing demand, stagnating salaries, and increasing traffic congestion. Many Rathdrum residents drive to nearby Coeur d’Alene or Spokane, Washington, for work, which increases stress levels.

Also read: Kansas’s Most Stressed City Has Been Revealed

Furthermore, Rathdrum’s homogeneity and minimal amenities add to its stress dynamic. Rathdrum, with its primarily white population and low rates of higher education attainment, lacks the cultural variety and recreational opportunities seen in bigger urban areas. Residents feel isolated and dissatisfied since there are few entertainment places, food establishments, and recreational amenities.


In summary, Rathdrum, situated amidst the picturesque terrain of Idaho, becomes a focal point of stress due to its high unemployment rate, lengthy commutes, difficulties in affording housing, and restricted availability of cultural and recreational opportunities. Rapid urbanization in the Coeur d’Alene metropolitan area has resulted in a multifaceted interaction of economic, social, and geographical elements that contribute to the elevated stress levels experienced by the city’s inhabitants.

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