Newton ranked one of the least stressed cities in U.S.

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Though Newton, Massachusetts sits just outside Boston, it might be a way more relaxed place to live.
Though Newton, Massachusetts sits just outside Boston, it might be a way more relaxed place to live. National Geographic/Getty

If you live in Newton, Massachusetts, you might be more relaxed than the rest of us, according to a recent report by financial advice website SmartAsset.

SmartAsset found Newton residents exhibit a number of behaviors associated with low stress levels. They sleep just shy of seven hours per night, and work around 38 hours per week. Their average commute is just 26 minutes, and 58 percent of those surveyed exercise regularly.

Using city- and county-level data on the 500 largest cities in the country, SmartAsset ranked each city using nine metrics that were subdivided into two categories: stressors and stress-relievers. The city with the best average ranking scored 100, while the city with the worst average ranking receiving zero, with the scores distributed evenly in between.

After being considered for factors like average workweek, commute time, divorce rate, physical activity, and average sleep per night, Newton made the No. 14 spot with a total score of 85.20.

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What makes Newton so great? Settled in 1630, Newton is a community comprised of 13 distinct villages, according to the city’s website. Home to about 80,000 residents, Newton sits just outside Boston and borders Brookline, Brighton, Watertown, and Waltham, and is home to Boston College.

“Newton is well-respected for the quality of education, community life, exceptional homes, and beautiful spaces,’’ the city’s website states. “Newton has frequently been voted as one of the 10 best communities to live in.’’

Newton is “somewhat walkable,’’ according to Walk Score, which gave the city a score of 51. There are roughly 251 bars, coffee shops, and restaurants nearby, and residents can use the city’s 15 bus lines, light rail, and rail lines to travel with ease.

Common trends

Iowa City, Iowa took the top spot on SmartAsset’s list with a score of 100, followed by Madison, Wisconsin, Duluth, Minnesota, and Boulder, Colorado.

SmartAsset reported that there were some similarities among the least-stressed cities.

Each of the top 10 was home to a major public university, suggesting that universities provide stable employment with reasonable work hours and good wages, in addition to culture and entertainment for residents.

Another trend was that states in the Midwest tended to be less stressed overall, with Midwestern states taking eight of the 10 top spots. Florida appeared to be one of the most-stressed states, with Miami earning the title of “most stressed.’’ Three other South Florida cities (Hialeah, Kendall, and Miami Gardens) were in the bottom five.