Emeryville named “Most Stressful Community in California”

Published On October 15, 2014 | By Rob Arias | Commentary, News & Commentary

If you’ve been feeling a bit more “stressed out” these days, well now you know why. Emeryville has been named “The most stressful community in California” according to the relatively obscure website CreditDonkey.com. I can’t vouch for the source of their data, but according to Credit Donkey blogger Cassy Parker, Emeryville leads all California cities in an aggregate “Stress” score based on five criteria that include the likelihood of being a victim of a violent crime, daily commute length, average weekly work hours, divorce rate and percentage of income spent on housing.

It’s not the first time we’ve landed a dubious honor at the top of an internet Top-10 list. Another was this 2012 FBI report that listed us as having the highest violent crime rate in the Bay Area (numbers apparently skewed by our high density). On a more positive note, we were also named as having the highest walkability-to-affordability score in the Bay Area last year by Emeryville-based Zip Realty.

Author Parker surely is familiar with our city having earned a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from UC Berkeley. She identifies herself as a content manager for Credit Donkey with a “focus on the intersection of technology and social issues”. Credit Donkey identifies itself as a website for small business owners to compare credit card offers.

According to the study, Emeryville’s dubious distinction is based on:

  1. Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 59 inhabitants
  2. Commute time: 27.2 minutes
  3. Average hours worked per week: 41
  4. Percentage of divorcees: 11.8% of males, 14.8% of females
  5. Percentage of income spent on housing: 30.4%

The author then makes a distinction that Pixar might be part of the reason as “Working for Pixar Animation Studios must be difficult, but it’s even more stressful when you’re a newbie in the industry”. Who knows how many Pixar employees actually live in Emeryville but unlikely more than 10% which would account for about 100 of our 10,000 population (Not exactly enough to move the needle). Other cities listed in the study include (most of these I had to look up on a map): Hollister, Laguna Beach, Patterson, Avenal, Hemet, Adelanto, Chowchilla, West Hollywood and Desert Hot springs. Her breakdown of our city:

Situated right next to Oakland and across the bay from San Francisco, it goes without saying that Emeryville would be a high-stress community. Although it’s a small city that’s just over one square mile, it still suffers from big-city problems that affect its neighbors. Oakland is no stranger to crime, and some of it probably trickles into Emeryville and contributes to its high crime rate of 1 in 59 inhabitants, the highest crime rate on our list. While Emeryville residents don’t have to endure a very long daily commute, they still put in long hours at the office and work harder than residents of other cities on our list. The high number of female divorcees indicates that love doesn’t always come easy to Emeryville residents. Crime, work, and dysfunctional relationships earned it its place as the #1 most stressful community in California.

I don’t give the post too much credence because it fails to look beyond the surface of the data … but it is worth pondering. As for divorce, she may be on to something as 56% of Emeryville housing is single-resident occupied. Housing costs in E’ville continue to surge and last month saw a more than 14% year-over-year increase in rents in our neighboring cities of Oakland & SF according to Trulia.com. Emeryville’s high percentage of corporate-owned housing continue to raise rents with impunity because of our lack of rent stabilization controls or tenant protections. This alone may be leaving residents, well … stressed!

Read the complete list on CreditDonkey.com →

Photo Credit: Marcella Campbell

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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