The Least and Most Stressful cities index compares and analyzes 100 global cities for indicators related to stress. The study looks at 4 broad categories – governance, city, finance and citizens’ health. The global results found that Reykjavik in Iceland is the least stressful and Mumbai, India the most stressful. Here are the most stressful and the happiest cities in Africa based on 2021 findings.
Most stressful African cities
1. Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos tops the most stressful cities’ list not just in Africa but in the world. Some of the reasons include insanely high traffic, high cost of living, limited public services like transportation and healthcare and high levels of crime and insecurity.
2. Cairo, Egypt
Cairo has a big population which means traffic congestion and noise pollution in the form of honking horns and street vendors. Egypt has experienced political instability and it’s not exactly the bastion of democracy. Cairo is also a very expensive city to live in.
3. Dakar, Senegal
Dakar isn’t anywhere near as stressful as Lagos and Cairo, but it is stressful. There’s high traffic congestion, high unemployment rates and high inequality with many living in poverty while a few live it up in the lap of luxury. Dakar is also an expensive place to live which can put a strain on people.
4. Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi is the business hub and serves as the headquarters more many multinational organizations and companies which means it’s very busy. Public services like healthcare and transportation are poor which can make life stressful. The cost of living in Nairobi is really high making it difficult to live comfortably.
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5. Casablanca, Morocco
Casablanca is home to north Africa’s largest stock market and has one of the highest urban traffic congestion in Africa. It is also an expensive city to live in and has high social and economic inequality. Many of the residents live in poverty while a few enjoy a high standard of living.
Happiest cities in Africa
1. Oran, Algeria
The poverty levels in Algeria are lower than in other places in Africa largely because of oil exports. They value family and co-existence which is good for mental health.
2. Port Louis, Mauritius
Mauritius has low levels of poverty and unemployment. It has a stable democracy with a history of peaceful elections. It also has a well-developed education system with universal health coverage. The Mauritian government approaches healthcare as a human right, and provides free public health services for primary care, with each household being located within 3 miles of a primary care provider. Children get free transportation. The different communities in the country also live in harmony with each other.
3. Fez, Morocco
Moroccan culture places a strong emphasis on family and community which can be great for mental health. Morocco is also politically and economically stable which makes it less stressful to live in.
4. Durban, South Africa
Durban was voted the best South African city to live in. The municipality aims to accelerate service delivery, provide economic opportunities to the poor and unemployed residents and grow the small business sector.
5. Tunis, Tunisia
People who live in Tunis enjoy a low cost of living compared to other cities on the continent. The housing market is affordable as are other daily living expenses. They also have a strong social fabric.
Libya, before the political turmoil, was one of the happiest places to live in Africa. Having a home was considered a human right, the cost of living was low and undernourishment was low with the majority of the country having enough to eat. Oil belonged to the citizens so they benefited from it. Education and medical treatment were free plus newlyweds got $50,000 from the government. Who wouldn’t be happy with that?!