GOBankingRates

The No. 1 Cause of Financial Stress in Every State

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laflor / Getty Images

If you have money issues, you’re not alone. A recent GOBankingRates survey found that many Americans tap into their emergency savings to cover home costs, medical emergencies and even cost-of-living increases. But, are these expenses causing Americans more financial stress?

To pinpoint what’s causing the worst financial fears and stress among Americans today, we surveyed more than 2,000 people in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. We asked, “What is your No. 1 cause of financial stress?” Respondents could choose one of the following answers:

  • Education (ex. college costs)
  • Family (ex. child care costs, divorce)
  • Housing
  • Healthcare
  • Taxes
  • Everyday costs (ex. groceries, utilities)
  • Debt

The most common cause of financial stress in America is everyday costs of living, with 32 percent of total respondents saying it’s their No. 1 money stressor. This marks a change from similar surveys conducted in 2016 and 2017 when debt was the most common financial stressor.

Click through to find out what’s causing Americans financial stress in every state.

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Alabama: Everyday Costs of Living

Everyday costs are the top source of financial stress in Alabama, with about 43 percent of respondents choosing this answer. Alabama residents might be struggling to pay everyday costs because the state’s median household income of $46,257 is about $10,000 below the national median household income, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

One of the best ways of dealing with a financial problem that’s causing you stress is to talk about it with someone you trust.

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Alaska: Everyday Costs of Living

The No. 1 source of money stress in Alaska is everyday costs, with about 67 percent of respondents choosing this answer. Even though the median household income in Alaska is above the national average, it’s one of the states where the cost of living is high.

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Arkansas: Everyday Costs of Living

In Arkansas, 44 percent of people said paying for everyday living expenses is their biggest financial stress. This is not surprising given that the median household income is $44,334, which is over $10,000 below the national average. The average household income in Arkansas is one of the lowest in the U.S., a separate GOBankingRates study found.

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Arizona: Everyday Costs of Living

Arizonians said that paying for living costs such as groceries and utilities is their biggest money stress, with about 38 percent choosing this option. This stat is somewhat surprising given that the median household income in the state is only slightly below average, but Arizona is one of the cheapest states to live in.

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California: Everyday Costs of Living

California is one of the states with the highest cost of living, so it makes sense that 26 percent of those who live there said everyday costs of living are their biggest financial stress.

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Colorado: Debt

Debt stress is common in Colorado. About 38 percent of respondents answered that debt is their top money worry this year — and the average debt in the state is almost $35,000, a separate GOBankingRates study found. Although Colorado is a state with below-average debt — the average national debt is $63,000 — it could definitely still cause concern for those who have it.

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Connecticut: Debt

Nearly 39 percent of Connecticut-based survey participants said that debt is their main financial stressor, though it’s a state with below-average debt. Interestingly, a separate GOBankingRates survey found that the majority of respondents from Connecticut do not have credit card debt.

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Delaware: Everyday Costs of Living

Delaware is a state with a relatively high cost of living. That might explain why everyday costs are the top money worry among respondents from this state.

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District of Columbia: Debt

The nation’s capital is a place with one of the highest living costs in the U.S. As a result, residents might be relying on debt to help cover costs in the District of Columbia. Seventy-five percent of respondents say debt is their No. 1 source of financial stress.

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Florida: Everyday Costs of Living

Thirty percent of Floridians are stressed about paying for everyday living costs. The median household income in the state is $50,860, which is about $7,000 below the national average.

One of the best ways to deal with financial stress is to actually look at the numbers and get organized with your money.

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Georgia: Everyday Costs of Living

Although Georgia is a state with a low cost of living, the median household income of $53,559 also is low. So, some residents might be struggling to cover everyday costs.

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Hawaii: Debt

Nearly 67 percent of survey takers from Hawaii said debt is their No. 1 cause of financial stress — and it’s also the state with the most average debt per person. A separate GOBankingRates survey found that the average debt in Hawaii is a whopping $869,250.

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Idaho: Healthcare

Idaho is actually one of the best states for health insurance costs, but paying for healthcare is still stressing out a lot of people who live there. Half of the respondents from the state said healthcare was their main financial stressor.

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Illinois: Everyday Costs of Living

About a third of the people surveyed from Illinois said everyday living costs are their biggest financial stress. Debt was the No. 2 stressor, with 30 percent of the votes from the Midwest state.

If you’re dealing with financial stress, one of the most productive ways to alleviate your stress is to meet with a financial management professional.

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Indiana: Everyday Costs of Living

Even though Indiana is a state where the cost of living is low, paying for everyday costs might cause financial problems and stress for some because the median household income here is also low. Debt is the No. 2 biggest financial stress in Indiana, followed by family costs.

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Iowa: Everyday Costs of Living

Iowa is also a state where the cost of living is low, but about 39 percent of survey takers who live there said that paying for everyday costs is their biggest financial concern. Debt and family costs were tied for second-biggest concern, with about 17 percent of the vote each.

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Kansas: Everyday Costs of Living

About 41 percent of respondents in Kansas named everyday costs of living as their top source of financial stress. After living costs, debt is the No. 2 financial worry.

If you’re dealing with anxiety about money, you might want to consider speaking with a therapist. It’s one of the best ways to handle financial stress.

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Kentucky: Everyday Costs of Living

Everyday expenses are the top source of financial stress in Kentucky. It might have something to do with the state’s low median household income of $46,659. Kentucky is one of the states with the lowest average household income.

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Louisiana: Everyday Costs of Living

Louisiana’s low median household income might make it hard for residents to pay for everyday costs of living. The median household income of $45,146 is more than $12,000 below the national median. Like Kentucky, it’s one of the states with the lowest average household income.

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Maine: Everyday Costs of Living

Seventy-five percent of those surveyed in Maine said everyday costs of living are their biggest cause of money stress. This is likely because the median household income is below the national average, and Maine is one of the states with a high cost of living.

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Maryland: Debt, Everyday Costs of Living and Healthcare

Debt, everyday living costs and healthcare are tied for the No. 1 cause of financial stress in Maryland, with 24 percent of the vote each.

Getting strategic with your financial planning is one of the best ways to deal with money stress, whether it’s caused by living costs, debt or healthcare.

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Massachusetts: Debt

Massachusetts is one of the states with the highest costs of living in the nation. With high living expenses, residents might be having a hard time juggling debt payments and everyday costs — the latter of which are the second-biggest money worry in the state.

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Michigan: Debt

The most common money worry in Michigan is debt. And, most likely, it’s debt from school loans. A separate GOBankingRates survey found that more than 60 percent of the state’s college graduates have student loan debt, and the average amount owed is over $30,000. Michigan is one of the states with the highest average student loan debt.

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Minnesota: Everyday Costs of Living

In Minnesota, 36 percent of respondents named everyday costs of living as their top cause of financial stress. However, about 20 percent said debt is their No. 1 money worry. Minnesota is one of the states with the most debt. It’s one of only seven states where the average person has a six-figure debt amount, a separate GOBankingRates survey found.

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Mississippi: Everyday Costs of Living

Mississippi’s median household income of $41,754 likely contributes to everyday living costs being the No. 1 cause of financial stress.

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Missouri: Debt

About 30 percent of the respondents from Missouri named debt as their top source of money stress. In a state where the median household income of $51,746 is below the national median, paying off debt might be a struggle for some.

If you’re stressed about being able to tackle debt, consider developing an additional income stream. It’s one of the best ways to handle financial stress.

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Montana: Everyday Costs of Living and Healthcare

An equal number of respondents from Montana — about 29 percent for each — named everyday expenses and healthcare as their top money concerns. With a median household income of only $50,027, affording either expense could be difficult in the state. Montana is one of the states with the lowest average household income.

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Nebraska: Everyday Costs of Living

Nebraska respondents named everyday costs as their No. 1 source of financial stress. Debt is the second-most common cause of money stress in the state.

No matter what’s causing your stress, developing healthy habits like exercise or meditation is one of the best ways to handle financial stress.

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Nevada: Everyday Costs of Living

About 39 percent of respondents from Nevada said the No. 1 financial stress in their lives is paying for everyday costs. In the state, the median household income is slightly below average, but it’s one of the states with an above-average cost of living. So, it could be hard to cover basic costs in Nevada.

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New Hampshire: Debt, Everyday Costs of Living and Housing

One-fourth of respondents in New Hampshire each named debt, everyday costs or housing as their No. 1 source of financial stress. Although the median household income in the state is above average, New Hampshire is one of the most expensive states to live in.

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New Jersey: Debt

It’s not surprising that debt is the top source of financial stress in a state that’s one of the top 20 most indebted states. About 36 percent of those surveyed in New Jersey said debt was their main financial stressor.

Credit Card Consolidation 101: 5 Best Ways to Consolidate Credit Card Debt

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New Mexico: Debt

There might be various factors that make debt the top source of stress in this state. New Mexico’s median household income is $46,748, one of the lowest in the country, and its unemployment rate is 4.9 percent, which is one of the highest in the country, according to the BLS. Residents with low wages or without a steady income might be relying more on debt to cover costs.

Click to See: The Reality of Living $116,000 in Debt

 

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New York: Everyday Costs of Living

New York is one of the most expensive states to live in, so it’s not too surprising that everyday living costs are the No. 1 cause of financial stress here, followed by debt.

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North Carolina: Everyday Costs of Living

North Carolina’s median household income of $50,584 is about $7,000 below the national median income. It’s one of the states with the lowest average household income. Low wages in the state might make it tough for some to cover everyday costs. Debt is the No. 2 money worry in North Carolina.

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North Dakota: Everyday Costs of Living

Everyday costs are the No. 1 cause of money stress in North Dakota, with over 67 percent in the state selecting this as their top financial concern. Debt was the No. 2 cause of money stress, with a third of the vote.

One way to decrease money stress is to consider a spending fast so you can really see which costs are essential and which are not.

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Ohio: Everyday Costs of Living

Ohio is a state where the cost of living is low — but so is the median household income of $52,334. That might explain why everyday costs are the top source of financial stress in the state. The No. 2 money worry is debt.

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Oklahoma: Everyday Costs of Living

The state’s low median household income of $49,176 might contribute to the stress of living costs in this state. Oklahoma is one of the states with the lowest average household income in the country.

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Oregon: Everyday Costs of Living

Living expenses are the most common cause of financial stress in Oregon — which is not surprising given that it’s a state with a high cost of living.

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Pennsylvania: Debt

Debt is the top source of financial stress in Pennsylvania, followed closely by everyday costs.

Student loans might be playing a big role in this debt stress. Seventy percent of recent college graduates in Pennsylvania have student loan debt and owe an average of $35,759, which makes it one of the states with the highest average student loan debt.

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Rhode Island: Housing

Housing is the top cause of financial stress for 44 percent of respondents from Rhode Island. The median home value in the New England state is $276,000, which is about $50,000 above the national median, according to Zillow.

Not only are home prices higher than average, but the state also has high property taxes — which makes it one of the worst states for families to live a richer life, according to a separate GOBankingRates study.

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South Carolina: Debt

A heavy student loan debt burden in South Carolina might be the reason respondents in this state said that debt is their No. 1 source of financial stress. Sixty percent of recent college graduates in South Carolina have student loan debt and owe an average of $30,123. It’s one of the states with the highest average student loan debt.

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South Dakota: Debt and Education

South Dakota is a state with a heavy student loan debt burden. In fact, it has the second-highest percentage of recent college graduates with student loans — 75 percent. That could explain why debt and education are the biggest sources of financial stress.

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Tennessee: Debt

Debt remains the biggest source of financial stress in Tennessee, as it was in 2016 and 2017. The No. 2 most common money worry is everyday costs, followed by family costs. Because it’s a state with a low average household income, that could explain why all of these costs are a cause for concern for Tennessee residents.

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Texas: Everyday Costs of Living

Respondents in Texas named everyday costs of living as their No. 1 cause of financial stress. This year, the second most common money worry in Texas is debt.

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Utah: Everyday Costs of Living

Paying for everyday expenses is the biggest money concern for about 35 percent of respondents from Utah. The No. 2 financial stressor in the state is debt.

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Vermont: Debt

About 40 percent of survey-takers from Vermont said debt is their biggest financial stressor. Although Vermont is a state with a low average debt, two-thirds of Vermont residents do carry a mortgage, according to a different GOBankingRates study.

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Virginia: Everyday Costs of Living

It’s no wonder everyday costs are the top source of money stress in Virginia. Virginia is one of the states with a high cost of living compared to the national average.

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Washington: Debt

Washingtonians are more likely to attribute financial stress to debt than any other source. It was also the biggest source of money stress in the state in 2016 and 2017. The No. 2 biggest cause of financial stress in Washington this year is everyday costs.

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West Virginia: Everyday Costs of Living

Everyday expenses are the biggest cause of money stress in West Virginia. Although West Virginia is a state with low living costs compared to the U.S. average, the median household income is only $43,385 — which could make it hard for some residents to afford basic living costs.

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Wisconsin: Everyday Costs of Living

About 47 percent of Wisconsin respondents named everyday costs of living as their top source of financial stress. This might be especially true for retirees and seniors. Wisconsin is one of the states with the highest senior care costs, found GOBankingRates.

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Wyoming: Education, Everyday Costs of Living, Family Costs and Housing

Wyoming respondents were evenly split between education, everyday costs, family costs and housing being their No. 1 financial worry, with a quarter of the respondents from the state voting for each.

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Financial Stress Across America

In GOBankingRates’ 2018 survey, roughly 32 percent of respondents nationwide said everyday costs of living are their top source of financial stress, followed by debt (28 percent) and housing (13 percent).

Nine percent of respondents said healthcare is the biggest cause of financial stress; 7 percent said education; 6 percent named family; and 4 percent said taxes.

Click through to read more about the disturbing percentage of Americans who fear never being able to retire.

More on Debt

Methodology: This GOBankingRates survey posed the question, “What is your No. 1 cause of financial stress?” to 2,003 people among all 50 states and Washington, DC. Respondents could select one of the following answer options: 1) Education (ex: your college costs or kids’) 2) Family (ex: child care costs, divorce) 3) Housing 4) Healthcare 5) Taxes 6) Everyday costs (ex: groceries, utilities) or 7) Debt. Responses were collected through a Google Consumer Survey conducted from July 18 to July 23, 2018, and responses are representative of the U.S. online population.