Study: Most Stressful Cities in Texas

Read more about Stress Statistics

If everything truly is bigger in Texas, then Texans must have their hands full when it comes to stress. Texans may not outwardly show it, but stress is just as much a part of their life as a New Yorker's. Read on to learn which Texan cities made the list.

Nestled in between the Deep South and the Southwest, Texas has a proud heritage of rugged frontierism and overcoming the odds. However, the laidback Texan drawl belies the frenetic lifestyle and daily worries that affect some Texans just as much as other people. Some cities are more stressful than others because of work demands, traffic, and high costs of living, but our research shows that some of the most stressful cities in Texas aren’t the usual suspects.

The CreditDonkey team researched the most stressful cities in Texas based on measures that are known to cause more tension and a lower quality of life.

10 Most Stressful Cities in Texas

Study Methodology

  1. Odds of being a victim of violent crime
  2. Commute time
  3. Average hours worked per week
  4. Percentage of divorcees
  5. Percentage of income spent on housing

We first looked at crime statistics from the FBI to calculate the violent crime rate of each city. Living in a dangerous area can add anxiety to an already stressful day. We figure that one can breathe easier when physical safety isn’t a constant worry.

We also used U.S. Census data to find the average number of hours worked per week, as well as the amount of time it takes residents to commute to work each day. The more time one spends working and commuting through traffic, the less time one has at the end of the day to relax and unwind. Long hours spent at the office can add up and come at the expense of a personal life.

Romantic relationships can be a source of respite from a hectic day, but when a relationship goes sour, it can be just as stressful as back-to-back traffic. That’s why we looked at the percentages of divorcees in each city to find out which cities have a high amount of marital stress.

Finally, we looked at how much residents spend on their rent or mortgage in relation to their income. Housing is one of the biggest expenses that people pay each month, but is also the most necessary. Those who spend more of their paycheck toward housing probably feel the pinch in their pocketbook at the end of the month.

Considering these 5 factors, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most stressful cities in Texas.

10. Dallas

Dallas, Texas
Dallas, Texas

  • Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 148 inhabitants
  • Commute time: 25.1 minutes
  • Average hours worked per week: 39.6
  • Percentage of divorcees: 9.6% of males, 12.9% of females
  • Percentage of income spent on housing: 25.5%

As home to the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Exxon Mobil, and former president George W. Bush, Dallas is often mistaken to be the capital of Texas. A cosmopolitan business center, Dallas is bigger than Austin in population and square mileage. Of course, one can’t live in a city as big and entrepreneurial as Dallas without experiencing some stress. The causes of residents’ stress are the usual suspects: crime and housing costs. As the largest city on our list, Dallas has the highest crime rate. Residents also spend one of the highest percentages of their income on housing than any other city. However, because of the relatively short commute time and work week, Dallas ranked the lowest on our list of stressful cities.

Did you know: Twenty-three of the richest Americans call the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex home. If more money means more problems, it’s safe to say that these people probably live a far from relaxed life.

9. Cleburne

  • Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 205 inhabitants
  • Commute time: 23.5 minutes
  • Average hours worked per week: 40.6
  • Percentage of divorcees: 10.1% of males, 16.1% of females
  • Percentage of income spent on housing: 22%

Forty minutes outside the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the city of Cleburne, a previously agricultural area that still takes pride in its agrarian past. One of its claims to fame is the Chisholm Trail Outdoor Museum, which traces part of the trail taken by cattle herders from Texas to Kansas. The average daily commute in Cleburne is relatively short, as can be expected from a small city. The average work week is also relatively short compared to other cities on our list, but still breaks the forty hour mark. What probably causes stress for many residents are relationship problems - Cleburne has the second highest percentage of divorced women on our list.

Did you know: In the 1800s, the job of cattle driver was a stressful occupation. Cattle drivers who traveled the Chisholm Trail had to endure rough terrain, bad weather, rustlers, conflicts with local Native American tribes, and the possibility of stampedes from the same cattle they were herding.

8. Harker Heights

  • Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 224 inhabitants
  • Commute time: 20.8 minutes
  • Average hours worked per week: 42.5
  • Percentage of divorcees: 11.7% of males, 14.6% of females
  • Percentage of income spent on housing: 20.5%

Harker Heights is located just nine miles from Fort Hood, one of the largest U.S. military posts in the world and most famous for the tragic shootings that took place in 2009 and 2014. Despite this, Harker Heights is relatively safe with a low crime rate. As the smallest city on our list, residents spend the lowest percentage of their income on housing and have one of the fastest daily commutes to work. However, residents work long hours each week, which seems to take its toll on its residents’ romantic relationships. Harker Heights has the highest percentage of divorced men, which suggests that marital problems are a big source of stress.

Did you know: If the stress gets to be too much in Harker Heights, residents can always relax on Stillhouse Hollow Lake, a reservoir in the nearby town of Belton.

7. Grand Prairie

  • Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 364 inhabitants
  • Commute time: 27.4 minutes
  • Average hours worked per week: 40.1
  • Percentage of divorcees: 9.3% of males, 13.3% of females
  • Percentage of income spent on housing: 24.6%

Right next door to Dallas is Grand Prairie, a suburb of Dallas, but a city in its own right. Residents have the perks of living just eighteen minutes away from Dallas, but residing in a much safer and relatively cheaper location (at least in terms of housing). Although Dallas is known as a hardworking city, our research shows that Grand Prairie residents spend more time in traffic and at the office. Grand Prairie residents work 40.1 hours a week and spend 4.6 hours commuting to and from work each week, which is how it beat Dallas as the seventh most stressful city in Texas.

Did you know: Every year the city of Grand Prairie puts on an event with two miles of Christmas lights and 4 million lights. Imagining the electricity bill at the end of the month is enough to raise one’s blood pressure.

6. Little Elm

  • Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 1,090 inhabitants
  • Commute time: 33.9 minutes
  • Average hours worked per week: 42.2
  • Percentage of divorcees: 7.5% of males, 9% of females
  • Percentage of income spent on housing: 23.1%

Little Elm is a small city in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that sits right on the shore of the Lewisville Lake. Residents boast that nearly every location in the city has a view of the lake, and with sixty-six miles of shoreline, it’s probably true. Little Elm is obviously a coveted area, as its population increased seven times its size in just a decade. It’s the safest city on our list, with a violent crime rate of only 1 in 1,090 residents. However, residents pay dearly for the picturesque views with their time. Little Elm residents have the longest daily commute on our list and work long hours each week.

Did you know: If residents need to unwind after a long week, they can go to the Hydrous Wake Park on Lewisville Lake. Their cable system allows people to water-ski, wakeboard, or knee-board.

5. Conroe

  • Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 271 inhabitants
  • Commute time: 25.1 minutes
  • Average hours worked per week: 40.4
  • Percentage of divorcees: 10.1% of males, 14.8% of females
  • Percentage of income spent on housing: 23.7%

Bound by two state forests and the picturesque Lake Conroe, Conroe is an outdoorsman’s dream. Although it’s just forty minutes away from Houston, with the lush scenery and small-town ambience, the two cities are worlds apart. Conroe sits right in the middle of our list and its numbers are neither high nor low. Residents commute 25.1 minutes on average to get to work each day and work around 40.4 hours per week. Residents spend 23.7% of their income on housing, which is higher than many of the cities on our list. In short, work, time, and the cost of living are factors that add to residents’ daily stresses.

Did you know: The Sam Houston National Forest in Conroe has been called the “Bigfoot Capital of Texas” because of the number of Bigfoot sightings. Crime may not be a big issue in Conroe, but Sasquatch might keep the superstitious on edge.

4. Kyle

  • Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 278 inhabitants
  • Commute time: 32.2 minutes
  • Average hours worked per week: 40.8
  • Percentage of divorcees: 6.9% of males, 12.6% of females
  • Percentage of income spent on housing: 21.7%

Kyle is a small family-friendly city just twenty miles south of Austin, the state capital. It’s a relatively safe city and housing is cheap in comparison to the average annual income. Marital problems don’t seem to be an issue among the male population, as Kyle has the lowest percentage of divorced men on our list. Work-related stress gave it its high position on top 10 of stressful cities. For a small city, 32.3 minutes is quite a long time to spend in traffic to get to work. Residents also work 40.8 hours a week, which is above average. Kyle might offer a small-town ambience, but residents deal with daily stress as much as their big-city counterparts.

Did you know: Pulitzer-Prize winning author Katherine Anne Porter spent part of her childhood in Kyle. Her short stories explored the darker side of human nature (a pretty stressful topic, if you ask us).

3. DeSoto

  • Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 385 inhabitants
  • Commute time: 30.5 minutes
  • Average hours worked per week: 39.5
  • Percentage of divorcees: 8.5% of males, 16.4% of females
  • Percentage of income spent on housing: 26.1%

DeSoto is a suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that is one of the oldest settlements in North Texas. It won the All-America City Award in the past for its efforts to encourage diversity and empower local homeowners. While DeSoto harbors a strong sense of community, residents still experience stress because of high housing costs and relationship woes. DeSoto residents work the shortest hours, but pay the highest percentage of their income on housing than any other city on our list. Failed marriages also seem to be common in DeSoto, as it also has the highest percentage of divorced females.

Did you know: DeSoto and Dallas typically don’t experience tornadoes, but because of their location at the tip of the Tornado Alley, they sometimes get weak tornadoes that cause minimal damage. In 1994, DeSoto was hit by an F2 tornado that caused $50 million worth of damage to the City Hall.

2. Leander

  • Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 689 inhabitants
  • Commute time: 30.1 minutes
  • Average hours worked per week: 40.1
  • Percentage of divorcees: 10.6% of males, 15.5% of females
  • Percentage of income spent on housing: 24.4%

Leander is a scenic suburb of the Greater Austin metropolitan area. With only a 1 in 689 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime, Leander is one of the safest cities on our list. For people looking for a city that’s conducive to marital bliss, Leander doesn’t fit the bill because of its high percentage of divorcees. Residents’ daily commute is also long, and while 40.1 hours is not the longest work week on our list, it’s still a lot of time to spend working. The long commute and the prevalence of marital stress is what give Leander its #2 ranking on our list.

Did you know: The Leanderthal Lady was found north of Leander in 1983 and is one of the oldest intact burial sites in the U.S. She dates back 10,000 to 13,000 years. Unfortunately, a stressful legal battle ensued between the family of the land owners and the Archaeological Conservancy over purported misuse of the property where she was found.

1. Killeen

  • Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 155 inhabitants
  • Commute time: 19.7 minutes
  • Average hours worked per week: 43.2
  • Percentage of divorcees: 9.9% of males, 15.3% of females
  • Percentage of income spent on housing: 25.3%

Killeen is located right next door to Fort Hood and Harker Heights. Because of its close location to the military post, Fort Hood is the city’s principal employer and plays a vital role in the community. Residents’ proximity to their work has its good and bad points. The good is that residents only commute 19.7 minutes to work, which is the shortest commute on our list. The bad is that they work harder than residents of other cities, with a work week averaging 43.2 hours. Housing also doesn’t come cheap in Killeen, as residents spend 25.3% of their income on housing costs. The high cost of housing, long work hours, and relatively high crime rate earned Killeen the #1 spot as the most stressful city in Texas.

Did you know: Ask any military personnel and they will tell you how stressful their jobs can be, but the stress sometimes reaps its rewards. The 4th Infantry Division of Fort Hood captured Saddam Hussein in 2003.


As our data shows, stress can be found anywhere, from the backwoods of Conroe to the bustling metropolis of Dallas. Job stress, money problems, expensive housing, and failed romances are sometimes a result of forces outside of our control, but sometimes a consequence of our location. Those looking for a more carefree lifestyle should take note before making their home in one of the above cities.

The Top 50 Most Stressful Cities in Texas

RankCityViolent Crime OddsAverage Commute TimeAverage Hours Worked% Male Divorce1% Female Divorce1Income Spent on Housing
1Killeen1 in 155.119.743.29.9%15.3%25.3%
2Leander1 in 688.930.140.110.6%15.5%24.4%
3DeSoto1 in 384.830.539.58.5%16.4%26.1%
4Kyle1 in 277.932.240.86.9%12.6%21.7%
5Conroe1 in 270.825.140.410.1%14.8%23.7%
6Little Elm1 in 1089.833.942.27.5%9.0%23.1%
7Grand Prairie1 in 364.327.440.19.3%13.3%24.6%
8Harker Heights1 in 223.920.842.511.7%14.6%20.5%
9Cleburne1 in 204.923.540.610.1%16.1%22%
10Dallas1 in 148.225.139.69.6%12.9%25.5%
11Cedar Hill1 in 439.930.139.99.6%11.7%24.4%
12Wylie1 in 1558.832.140.49.3%13.4%23.3%
13Houston1 in 100.825.839.78.9%12.0%24.4%
14Fort Worth1 in 170.225.939.69.9%14.0%23%
15Hurst1 in 178.624.340.110.5%15.8%21.5%
16Rosenberg1 in 397.925.940.9.8%13.3%24.5%
17Burleson1 in 563.826.340.910.2%15.7%20.9%
18The Colony1 in 1005.729.141.39.2%13.4%21.2%
19Euless1 in 560.322.540.612.4%17.2%22.3%
20League City1 in 1090.228.941.78.9%12.1%20.9%
21McKinney1 in 603.128.340.86.8%12.4%22.7%
22Mesquite1 in 327.628.539.18.8%13.4%24.4%
23Pasadena1 in 248.525.240.29.7%12.1%22.1%
24Pearland1 in 769.93041.16.7%10.8%22.1%
25Bedford1 in 341.2340.512.0%17.6%20.1%
26Garland1 in 435.227.739.77.2%13.4%24.3%
27Corpus Christi1 in 152.19.239.911.9%15.5%22.8%
28Weatherford1 in 741.122.340.89.7%18.0%22.3%
29Arlington1 in 198.725.739.39.0%12.9%23.1%
30Rockwall1 in 943.229.140.26.8%14.0%22.9%
31Pflugerville1 in 811.225.540.98.3%12.6%22.5%
32Haltom City1 in 415.324.539.510.6%14.6%22.7%
33San Antonio1 in 198.823.439.110.1%14.3%23%
34Texas City1 in 313.823.639.610.7%15.3%21.8%
35Rowlett1 in 821.531.540.15.1%11.7%22.9%
36Greenville1 in 157.17.939.610.8%14.9%24.8%
37La Porte1 in 574.724.440.413.5%14.0%20%
38North Richland Hills1 in 386.825.539.611.0%13.1%21.6%
39Galveston1 in 166.11938.913.4%13.4%26.3%
40Cedar Park1 in 477.526.139.86.3%14.1%23.2%
41Grapevine1 in 677.422.740.410.6%16.8%21.3%
42Carrollton1 in 691.52440.97.7%13.0%21.9%
43Odessa1 in 94.17.842.111.7%13.8%17.7%
44Victoria1 in 158.218.240.312.8%16.0%19.9%
45Duncanville1 in 335.326.638.98.1%12.4%23.3%
46Mansfield1 in 790.429.740.8.3%11.7%21%
47Copperas Cove1 in 279.722.740.29.5%13.3%20.8%
48Austin1 in 244.622.838.79.0%13.1%25%
49Frisco1 in 1257.227.841.56.2%10.6%20.5%
50Sherman1 in 282.518.539.413.7%16.2%22.4%

1Treated as one combined metric for ranking purposes (at a 50:50 male to female ratio).

Cassy Perera is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Cassy Perera at cassy@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

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Comments about Study: Most Stressful Cities in Texas

  • Richard Youngerman from California
    on August 29, 2014 6:16 AM said:

    I agree that Killeen is the most stressful. I have lived in Killeen for the past 30 years and have seen it grow.Killeen is growing way to fast, we don't have enough Police Officers to cover our city now and the city still wants to anex more land.

  • laurie from Indiana
    on August 29, 2014 10:37 AM said:

    You can make statistics say whatever you want.

    A high percentage of divorced men indicates marital stress? That makes no sense to me. It seems they'd be less stressed after moving *alone* to Harker Heights, where crime is low and conmutes are short.

    Situated near Ft Hood, both Killeen and Harker Heights have a large percentage of the population who are living here because of a family member in the military. People come from all over, and they would rather be home.....wherever "home" is, anywhere but here. They are homesick, bored, missing deployed loved ones. Of course they are under stress. This does NOT mean our neighbor cities are stressful, only that people who moved
    here against their own will are not happy.

    Any place you live is only a good as the attitude you bring to it.

    (military family member & spouse for 40 years)

  • Amy
    on August 30, 2014 5:27 AM said:

    While some of that rings true, you obviously did not research the Midland/ Odessa area.

  • Charles
    on August 30, 2014 4:49 PM said:

    Amy, here are Midland's #s to compare:

    Odds of being a victim of violent crime: 1 in 291 inhabitants
    Commute time: 17.4 minutes
    Average hours worked per week: 41.9
    % of male divorced: 8.3%
    % of female divorced: 12.4%
    Percentage of income spent on housing: 19%

  • Donna from Texas
    on August 30, 2014 9:26 PM said:

    I graduated from Killeen when there was only one high school. I knew all the neighborhoods and streets and walked across town selling school candy bars with a friend.
    Things have changed SO MUCH over the past 50 years! The streets are not made for the volume of traffic and the city council, in the 90's, didn't give a flip that when it rained an apartment complex built at the top of the hill always flooded the yards on the way to the bottom of the hill, including mine. We moved to Temple 9 years ago and love it! We're still close enough to family there, but don't have the stress of traffic and crime!

  • Carla Reeves Cavaiani
    on August 31, 2014 9:08 AM said:

    I totally disagree with Cleburne as your #9 most stressful city in Texas. I was born and raised in Cleburne. While your statistics show crime to be high, Cleburne is a very safe place to live and raise your children. It is a friendly community and has a lot to offer. There is only one high school with great school spirit within the town.
    With the new toll road to Ft Worth, commute times have been cut in half. You can live in Cleburne and still have quick access to Dallas or Ft Worth for major activities (an hour or less away).

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