She’s a woman in her late 20s or early 30s, taking her young son to school on the bus. After she drops him off, she might sneak a quick cigarette before heading to a job that pays less than $50,000 a year. Just another young parent trying to juggle work and family, money and bills.
Or, more accurately, one big ball of composite demographic stress. This woman is a blend of what the American Psychological Association’s 2014 “Stress in America” survey, released on Wednesday, identifies as the most stressed-out parts of American society. While average reported stress levels are down—at 4.9 on a 10-point scale, compared with 6.2 in 2007—“stress is not going down as much for women, for people with low incomes, for young adults, or for people who are parents,” says Norman Anderson, chief executive officer of the APA.