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STUDY: Montana ranks No. 1 in COVID-19-related stress




As the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow, stress levels across America are increasing. TOP Data conducted a Google Trends study of search terms related to COVID-19 and its impact to determine which states are the most stressed. 

According to the study, Montana, Georgia, and Mississippi top the list of the most stressed states while New Mexico, New Jersey, and Delaware were the least stressed according to TOP Data’s ranking. 

In addition to this ranking, TOP Data noticed a direct negative correlation between states that are the most stressed and whether or not they were under a state-wide shelter in place order.

TOP found that of the three most stressed states, two of them—Georgia and Mississippi—were not under shelter in place orders during the period studied, and Montana didn’t have one until two days into the start of the study. 

Of the top 10 most stressed states according to TOP Data’s index, just one (Michigan) had an existing shelter in place order in effect before 3/26. Five more state orders would go into effect during the duration of the study, three would go into effect after the study concluded (Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma), and one state (Iowa) does not have a shelter in place order planned. 

The top 10 TOP Data State COVID-19 Stress Index rankings: 

  1. Montana
  2. Georgia
  3. Mississippi
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Iowa
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Minnesota
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Arizona
  10. Michigan

TOP Data conducted this study between March 26 and April 2 by measuring instances of particular search terms relative to geographical location and ranked them on a scale of 1-100 with 100 being the most stressed. The nature of those search terms included information on unemployment, sheltering in place, social distancing, medical information, and food availability.

Joseph T. O'Connor is the Editor-in-Chief for EBS newspaper and Mountain Outlaw magazine.

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