Why is Seattle one of the most anxious cities in America?

Mar 21, 2023, 4:52 PM | Updated: 5:55 pm

seattle skyline...

Seattle has faced many challenges the past few years. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Seattle has been selected as the most anxious city in America, according to survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“It seems to me as if you live in the Emerald City, you’re surrounded by nothing but beauty, surrounded by nothing but nature, surrounded by nothing but wonder and opportunity,” KIRO Newsradio host Jack Stein said. “It’s like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, right? There are all kinds of stuff for you to go and see, and yet people have anxiety in this city.”

“You’re also surrounded by $5 gas, $1 bread, and $6 milk,” host Spike O’Neill explained. “The middle class has fled King County. And I think that’s got a lot to do with why the anxiety is here.”

The data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse survey found that in the first two weeks of February, 59% of Seattle adults experienced some level of anxiety. 1.8 million people report feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge. The top five “most anxious” cities are Seattle, Phoenix, San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles.

“If I’m thinking about Seattle as a metropolitan area, it’s condensed,” Stine said. “It’s difficult to get around efficiently. And you’re surrounded by people who could potentially kill you at any moment. And I don’t say that lightly.”

Crime rates have risen in the city since the pandemic began. Violent crimes are way up, although the city is beginning to see that change.

Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz optimistic about drop in violent crime

“You’ve got stories of a guy throwing a lady down a flight of stairs for no reason whatsoever. You’ve got stories of a homeless man walking up to a guy who’s got a sweet little dog and kicking that dog and killing it. You got stories of a guy walking up to a lady walking with her baby and throwing coffee in that baby’s face,” Stine pointed out.

“The homeless situation, you see them everywhere. The crime situation, you hear about it on a daily basis,” Spike explained. “You drive through the city, you drive through on the freeways or on the surface streets, you’re seeing tent cities, you’re seeing graffiti, you’re seeing garbage, all these things. And this is not something Seattle has been used to for decades.”

Both Jack and Spike agreed that the income disparity and the high cost of housing are factors for all the anxiety.

“There’s also the Seattle freeze. The Seattle freeze is where people from Seattle kind of have a ‘I don’t need you to be here’ to newcomers to the city. And there are so many newcomers in this city,” Stine explained. “I think when people move to Seattle, and they aren’t getting the smiles and the greetings and the welcomes from that they’re used to from wherever they moved from, that makes them a little anxious.”

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“We’re just an anxious city with a lot of anxious people,” Stine said.

Listen to KIRO Newsradio on 97.3 FM. Stream it live here.

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Why is Seattle one of the most anxious cities in America?