2020 felt like the year of peak burnout for many Americans. But with ongoing financial pressures due to inflation, and a nonstop slew of distressing world news, Americans are still feeling burned out two years later.
We analyzed search data to find which cities are googling burnout the most. We then standardized the search data to account for population differences, and ranked major metro cities from the most to least burned out.
Burnout is defined as “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” We've likely all felt it before, along with the symptoms of tiredness, irritability, and insomnia.
So where in the U.S. are Americans feeling the most burned out? And what is causing it? To find these answers, we analyzed Google search data for terms related to burnout. We also surveyed over 1,000 Americans to ask about burnout, their symptoms, and how they cope with it.
Those living in Orlando, Florida are the most burned out across the U.S. Two other Florida cities, Miami and Tampa, are also in the top five most burned out cities in the U.S. With many beautiful beaches not too far away, there's no shortage of places to take a break from it all, disconnect, and recharge.
The second most burned out big city is Minneapolis, followed by Cleveland (3rd). Big cities face unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, with large populations of people confined to small spaces resulting in outbreaks of the novel virus. This may be one reason that these cities are particularly struggling, even two years later.
Other cities struggling with burnout include Atlanta (6th), Sacramento (7th), Nashville (8th), Baltimore (9th), and Seattle (10th).
Top causes of burnout in each state
A lot of different things in life can cause burnout. From work, to school, finances, and even social media. We analyzed hundreds of terms related to burnout, and found the top searched cause of burnout in every state.
A whopping 45 states Googled work burnout the most. This doesn't come as a surprise after The Great Resignation has seen many Americans switch jobs over the past year.
Even though work was the top cause of burnout in most states, the most searched burnout-related term across the entire U.S. was mental burnout. This could be an indicator of how multi-faceted burnout is, and how it can impact many areas of our lives at once.
The pandemic has been extremely tough on nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers. Florida, Arkansas, and Wyoming are searching the most about healthcare professional burnout.
Are Americans feeling burned out in 2022?
Burnout is clearly impacting many Americans in 2022. In a survey, almost half (43%) say they feel burned out right now, and 94% say they've experienced the feeling at some point in the past.
When asked what is the top cause of burnout, 72% of Americans said work. The other reasons include financial stress (51%), the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (35%), family (35%), and feeling pressure to always be “on” (34%).
The top symptoms Americans feel when experiencing burnout are tiredness (83%), feeling unmotivated (69%), exhaustion (67%), irritability (54%), and self-doubt (54%). Burnout can impact us in many ways, and other symptoms that more than half of Americans experience include depression (51%), changes in sleep habits (50%), and feeling defeated and helpless (50%).
When asked how many days in the month of June 2022 they felt burned out, the average answer was 11 days, or about one third of the month.
Even though many are feeling burned out, there are ways to combat it. The top way Americans fight the feeling is with exercise (59%). Just over half (52%) use reading, watching TV, and listening to music as a way to feel better. Other popular ways Americans overcome burnout include napping (50%), working on a hobby (35%), and catching up with friends (34%).
Work is clearly a huge factor in why Americans are feeling burned out. Just over one in ten (12%) say their current job is toxic. Almost half (48%) quit a job in the past due to a toxic work culture, and 38% quit due to burnout.
When asked what about their jobs makes them feel burned out, the top reason was working long hours (55%), followed by a stressful boss or manager (40%), toxic culture (35%), staff shortages (34%), and being disinterested in their work (33%).
Burnout is something we'll likely all face at some point, but it's important to remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Reach out for help, keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms before it snowballs, and remember that something as simple as a nap or a walk can be the first step to overcoming burnout.
We analyzed more than 400 Google search terms related to burnout and exhaustion to complete this study. For city-level data, we looked at search volume from March 2020 until June 2022.
For this report we also analyzed the most disproportionately popular Google search terms at a state-level. We compared each state's search results to the national average in order to determine which search term has a higher search volume when compared to the national average. This method of analysis allows us to even the playing field between smaller states with lower populations or a lower search volume (such as Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, etc.) and states with a large population with higher search volume (California, Texas, Florida, etc.).
In July 2022, we surveyed 1,004 Americans to ask about their opinions on burnout and mental health. Respondents were 49% male, 48% female, and 3% transgender/non-binary. Respondents' ages ranged from 18 to 93, with an average age of 37.
Disclaimer about "overeating": Within Health hesitatingly uses the word "overeating" because it is the term currently associated with this condition in society, however, we believe it inherently overlooks the various psychological aspects of this condition which are often interconnected with internalized diet culture, and a restrictive mindset about food. For the remainder of this piece, we will therefore be putting "overeating" in quotations to recognize that the diagnosis itself pathologizes behavior that is potentially hardwired and adaptive to a restrictive mindset.