Life in Big Cities: How Stressful Is Your Neighborhood?

Life in Big Cities: How Stressful Is Your Neighborhood?A study has shown that South Africans still place the most emphasis on money. (Photo by Kelly Lacy on Unsplash)

Stress is an inevitable part of our life. Having lived through one of the most trying years, it’s interesting to see where South African cities stand on the stress meter. Johannesburg and Cape Town rank near last for safety.

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Johannesburg and Cape Town make the list of 100 cities with Jozi ranked 49e and the mother city 51st for stress. The two South African cities have found themselves sluggish in the last five with low scores for safety and security: Johannesburg (95e) and Cape Town (97e).

This is indicated by a recent study, The Least and Most Stressful Cities Index 2021, conducted by VAAY, which ranked around 100 cities taking into account a number of stress factors such as governance, finances and than environmental factors like pollution and traffic.

“Our aim with this study is to show what cities can achieve for their citizens through effective governance, strong environmental policies and well-resourced social protection systems,” said Finn Age Hänsel, co-founder of VAAY, a German company specializing in CBD. some products.

Rather, he said their aim was to highlight cities that are examples of what can be done to improve the well-being of their residents rather than singling out those that may be lagging behind.

The study began with governance-related factors that assessed the safety and security of citizens and socio-political stability as indicators of how comfortable people feel in their respective cities. Then, the physical environment which has a direct impact on our psychological health with research proving that overcrowded cities lead to higher rates of anxiety disorders.

Stress in South Africa: the local is not so “lekker”

According to the latest United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) survey of countries with reliable crime statistics, South Africa has the 14e highest murder rate in the world.

Johannesburg has a reputation of being a lawless city with high crime rates, so the sight of police and security guards is very common. But surprisingly, Cape Town was ranked the eighth most violent city in the world according to the global ranking released by the Mexican Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice in 2019.

Police Minister Bheki Cele last month revealed crime statistics which showed nearly 5,000 South Africans had been murdered in the first three months of 2021. That’s 387 more than the last year. Other violent crimes also increased, including carjacking (4.9%), home thefts (7.6%) and corporate thefts by 2.8%.

The physical environment was studied by assessing population density, as well as pollution levels, weather conditions and the extent of traffic jams in each city.

In terms of pollution, South Africa did not perform well, with Cape Town scoring low for air pollution and Johannesburg not faring much better for light pollution. The WHO estimates that air pollution kills more than seven million people a year worldwide.

Anxiety, health and finances

Next, the study assessed the impact of financial stress by assessing unemployment rates, social security structures and the amount of disposable income of a household after tax deducted. Other factors like accommodation costs and purchasing power parity – a price measure that uses the prices of specific goods to compare the purchasing power of the country’s currency.

According to Deloitte’s latest State of the Consumer tracker released in April, South Africans are the most worried about their finances, a trend evident even before COVID-19. Of the 100 countries, Johannesburg ranked 55efor financial stress.

The VAAY study also took a close look at health and wellness, looking in particular at mental health and access to healthcare as major influences on stress levels.

Hänsel reiterated that he hoped the study results would serve as a useful barometer for cities and citizens to reassess their environment by working to develop cities that are less stressful to live in.

Not a pretty picture

Johannesburg and Cape Town do not fare much better in the ranking of access to health care. Johannesburg ranked 87e and Cape Town 86e. This ties in with the World Health Organization (WHO) analysis – first published in 2000 – which measured 191 health systems around the world using five performance indicators. South Africa finished a modest 160e.

Most patients access health care through the public sector, which is the preferred government mechanism for the delivery of health care. The private sector serves only 16% of the population while the public sector serves 84%. Given the dismal rankings globally, South Africa still enjoys the highest standard of healthcare in Africa according to the latest healthcare index for 2021. South Africa is ranked 48th.e with Tunisia the second best at 69e.

The Least Stressful and Stressful Cities Index 2021 showed that the three least stressful cities were Reykjavik (Iceland), followed by Bern (Switzerland) and Helsinki in Finland, with the three cities in the top ten having a high score for gender equality.

At least South Africa wasn’t in the top five most stressful cities to live in. The main honors went to Mumbai in India, followed by Lagos (Nigeria), Manila (Philippines), New Dehli (India), Baghdad (Iraq) and Kabul (Afghanistan). – Health-e News


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