Cedar Rapids Most Serene : Stress Test Rates L.A. as One of Worst U.S. Cities

Associated Press

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the best place to live in America and Los Angeles one of the worst, according to a population group that spent a year comparing communities and released its findings today.

Zero Population Growth compared cities in what it called the urban stress test, concluding that Cedar Rapids is the least stressful, while Gary, Ind., is the most stressful community.

The ratings were the average of scores on a variety of topics, including population change and density, air quality, other environmental conditions, educational facilities, crime, crowding and economics factors. The ratings were from 1 to 5, and the lower the number, the better.

Ranked Near Bottom


Los Angeles received a score of 3.9 and ranked ninth in the top 10 most stressful cities.

Cedar Rapids got a stress rating of 1.6, edging out Madison, Wis., which had a 1.7 rating, and Ann Arbor, Mich., and Lincoln, Neb., both rated 1.8.

“It is a great place to live,” agreed Todd Bergen of the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

“Things move here at a perfect pace,” Bergen said in a telephone interview. “Life isn’t too fast, it isn’t too slow. We enjoy what we do and we enjoy living here.”

Gary, on the other hand, was rated 4.2. Not much better, with ratings of 4.1, were Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Jersey City, N.J., and Pomona, Calif.

Gary Resident Objects

Maxine Young, executive director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce, disputed the last place ranking.

“We’re an industrial town, a hard-working town,” she said. Gary has suffered economically in recent years, she said, “but we are making a comeback.”


Zero Population Growth said the best large city--that is with half a million people or more--was Columbus, Ohio, with a 2.6 rating.

The top 10, including ties: Cedar Rapids, 1.6; Madison, 1.7; Ann Arbor, 1.8; Lincoln, Neb., 1.8; Fargo, N.D., 1.9; Livonia, Mich., 1.9; Concord, Calif., 2.0; Alexandria, Va., 2.1; Eugene, Ore., 2.1; Roanoke, Va., 2.1; Worcester, Mass., 2.1.

The bottom 10, including ties: Gary, 4.2; Baltimore, 4.1; Chicago, 4.1; Houston, 4.1; Jersey City, N.J., 4.1; Pomona, 4.1; El Paso, Tex., 4.0; Cleveland, 3.9; Ft. Worth, 3.9; Inglewood, Calif., 3.9; Los Angeles, 3.9; St. Louis, 3.9.