Why it’s way more stressful to live in Joburg than in Cape Town

Living in any major city comes with its own stresses – from traffic congestion, criminal activity and pollution, to factors that impact mental health and social security.

The latest Stressful Cities Ranking by ZipJet, lists 150 cities around the world, from the least to the most stressful, based on a number of different criteria.

In South Africa, only the top two cities were ranked – Cape Town (102nd) and Johannesburg (135th).

The least stressful city in the world was found to be Stuttgart in Germany, withe European countries taking up all but one place in the top 10 (the outlier being Sydney, Australia). On the other side of the spectrum, Baghdad (Iraq), Kabul (Afghanistan) and Lagos (Nigeria) were ranked as the most stressful places to live.

Joburg vs Cape Town

Of the 17 metrics used to measure stressful living, both Joburg and Cape Town scored the same in five – public transport, light pollution, debt per capita, physical health, and social security.

Cape Town was deemed to be less stressful than Joburg in eight categories, with Joburg only trumping the mother city in four sectors.

Overall, Cape Town has a lower population density, more green spaces and is much better for mental health than Joburg – but it suffers from higher levels of traffic congestion, noise pollution and not as much sunshine as South Africa’s economic hub.

Notably, unemployment stress scores are extremely high for both cities, scoring close to 10/10, while the perception of security is also extremely stressful in both places.

The table below compares how the cities performed. Scores are out of 10.

Stress factor Cape Town Joburg
Density 1.54 3.54
Mental Health 4.56 9.34
Green Spaces 4.99 6.92
Race Equality 6.92 7.46
Family Purchase Power 7.34 7.64
Air Pollution 7.83 8.67
Perception of Security 8.43 9.70
Unemployment 9.88 9.94
Public Transport 2.63 2.63
Light Pollution 2.87 2.87
Debt per capita 7.52 7.52
Physical Health 8.42 8.42
Social Security 8.91 8.91
Sunshine Hours 2.15 1.72
Traffic 5.47 4.20
Gender Equality 4.93 4.62
Noise Pollution 8.37 5.47
Overall score 6.15 7.98

Read: The best times to leave for work in Cape Town and Joburg to avoid peak traffic

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Why it’s way more stressful to live in Joburg than in Cape Town