Midwest Dominates List of Best Cities for Mental Health & Work/Life Balance
In a world where hustle culture sometimes takes precedence over personal life, maintaining a healthy work/life balance is essential for long-term productivity and staying healthy. Accordingly, while most people looking for a city to relocate to consider indicators such as average income, affordability, or other economy-related factors, living in a city that supports mental health and a healthy working culture can be invaluable.
So, to identify which cities could best serve those who prioritize their mental health and work/life balance, CoworkingCafe ranked the best cities with more than 200,000 residents based on indicators including green spaces per capita, recreational amenities, health insurance coverage, share of remote workers and more.
Midwestern Cities Take Center Stage for Mental Health with Minneapolis; Madison, Wis.; & Lincoln, Neb., on Podium
The study noted that, while the Sun Belt was usually the focus in discussions of metro-to-metro population exchanges thanks to the region’s economic advantages, several cities in the Midwest dominated the work/life balance ranking.
Specifically, Minneapolis nabbed the first spot with strong scores across most indicators, despite not being the best-rated city for any of them. In fact, it boasted one of the shorter average work weeks in the ranking and great health insurance coverage, while also enjoying below-average living costs. Likewise, relatively short commute times and remote work opportunities made Minneapolis the most promising city on the list for those emphasizing mental wellbeing.
Next — and just one point below Minneapolis — Madison, Wis., had the shortest average work week on the list at 36.6 hours. Additionally, healthcare coverage here stood at 96%, which was also one of the best standings nationally. Then, Lincoln, Neb., closed out the podium, scoring well for its affordability, commute times and composite mental health indicator.
Notably, four other cities from the Midwest also made CoworkingCafe’s top 10 list: Des Moines, Iowa (#5); St. Paul, Minn. (#6); Columbus, Ohio (#7); and Omaha, Neb. (#8). With good affordability and a plethora of other mental health-related advantages, the Midwest dominated the majority of the list with several medium-sized cities.
Raleigh, N.C., Ranks as Best City for Mental Health Outside Midwest, While Irvine, Calif., Records Best West Coast Score
Looking toward the Southeast, Raleigh, N.C., was the highest-ranking city in the region with a total score of 79.7 — less than a point below a podium finish. Benefiting from the education and job generation of the Research Triangle area, Raleigh can also count on positive mental health benefits, such as one of the larger percentages of remote workers (17%) and good insurance coverage.
Other Southeastern cities making the list included Chesapeake, Va., at #10, as well as Virginia Beach, Va., and Greensboro, N.C., tied at #16. Specifically, Chesapeake benefits from ample green spaces and good air quality, a trait it shared with Greensboro. In the case of Virginia Beach, the city’s greatest advantage was affordability.
Across the country, Irvine, Calif., and Portland, Ore., were the only West Coast cities to crack the top 20 list. In particular, Irvine scored as high as #9 — far ahead of any other California entry, thanks to a large number of recreational amenities per capita and good insurance coverage. Meanwhile, despite being less affordable than its fellow West Coast entry, Portland enjoyed a greater adoption of remote work, good health coverage and a relatively shorter average work week.
For the full ranking, as well as complete insights into the top 20 entries and the study’s methodology, check out CoworkingCafe’s ranking of the top 20 best cities for work/life balance and mental health.
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