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The Great British Stress Epidemic – 2024 Statistics

Author: Forth

February 14, 2024

Reviewed by: Dr Thom Phillips

Mental health

Woman sitting on some stairs looking stressed

Back in 2018, we surveyed the UK public about stress and we were shocked to find that 85% of adults experience stress at some point. Our survey statistics also showed that, for over a third of people, stress is a weekly occurrence. 

Fast forward six years to 2024 and a lot has happened. Covid and the associated lockdowns, fears for our health, war and a cost of living crisis are among the events that have taken place since our last stress survey. So we took our question back to the Great British public in February 2024 to find out what has happened to our stress levels.

We’ve looked at the survey numbers and crunched some other data sources to bring to you our UK 2024 stress statistics.

The Fast Facts

Want to speed through the most important information? Here are the key stress statistics from our 2024 research:

  • 1 in 5 over 16s in the UK are stressed every single day
  • A huge 63% of people in the UK are stressed at least weekly – up from just over a third 6 years ago
  • Only 6% of people say they are never stressed
  • Women are more likely to experience stress daily (24.52%) than men (15.33%)
  • Over a third of people in Northern Ireland say they’re stressed every single day

If you want more context and information, keep on reading.

How Many People Experience Stress in the UK?

We surveyed 2,004 people aged 16 and over in the UK in February 2024. We asked them one simple question:

  • How often, if at all, do you feel stressed?
    • Every day
    • 2-3 days a week
    • 4-6 days a week
    • Once a week
    • Once every 2 to 3 weeks
    • Once a month
    • Once every 2 months
    • Once every 3 to 5 months
    • Once every 6 months to 11 months
    • Once a year
    • Less than once a year, please specify
    • Never
    • I’m not sure how often I feel stressed

Here are the answers they gave us:

ResponeProportion Who Gave That Response
Every day20.06%
2-3 days a week21.01%
4-6 days a week8.13%
Once a week14.02%
Once every 2 to 3 weeks7.39%
Once a month7.04%
Once every 2 months1.95%
Once every 3 to 5 months1.95%
Once every 6 months to 11 months2.20%
Once a year1.60%
Less than once a year, please specify0.00%
I’m not sure how often I feel stressed8.63%

For 1 in 5 people, stress is an everyday occurrence.

And for the majority (63.22%) of those over 16 in the UK in 2024, stress is a weekly occurrence. 

Stress and Gender – The Statistics

The headline statistics alone here show how prevalent stress is in the UK in 2024. But when we segmented our survey data to look at men and women separately, we found more alarming numbers.

ResponseProportion of Men Who Gave That ResponseProportion of Women Who Gave That Response
Every day15.33%24.52%
2-3 days a week19.24%22.67%
4-6 days a week7.72%8.53%
Once a week15.43%12.69%
Once every 2 to 3 weeks7.61%7.17%
Once a month8.95%5.23%
Once every 2 months2.06%1.84%
Once every 3 to 5 months1.85%2.03%
Once every 6 months to 11 months2.26%2.13%
Once a year1.95%1.26%
Less than once a year, please specify0.00%0.00%
I’m not sure how often I feel stressed8.74%8.53%

What is evident from our survey is that women more likely to experience stress.

Almost a quarter of women say they experience stress every single day and for over two-thirds of them (68.41%) stress is at least a weekly occurrence.

The figures, though lower for men, remain alarming.

15.33% of men experience stress daily and over half (57.72%) do so at least weekly.

Very few men or women said they never experience stress.

Stress and Age

Our original 2018 survey showed that money, work and health concerns are the most common causes of stress. So perhaps we might assume that stress is therefore highest amongst demographics with more financial pressures and high-pressure job roles. Or could it be that those statistically likelier to suffer ill health (typically older people) are those most stressed?

We dived into the data by age to find out. We specifically looked at the proportion of each age group who answered that they were stressed every single day. In addition, we totalled any responses equating to at least weekly.

We then looked at the statistics by age to find out what proportion of people in each age group are stressed weekly or more and those stressed every day:

Age% Stressed Every Single Day% Stressed At Least Weekly
16 – 2429.23%75.77%
25 – 3420.54%74.01%
35 – 4425.94%76.26%
45 – 5420.00%67.51%

By far, the age group more likely to experience stress on a daily basis is those aged 16 to 24, where 29.23% say this happens to them. Amongst that age group, three quarters experience stress at least weekly, according to our figures.

We spoke to our Doctor Thom Phillips to find out the impact that such frequent bouts of stress are likely to have on younger people. He told us:

“Stress, for anyone of any age, can have a notable physical health impact. When we experience a short period of stress, our cortisol levels and adrenaline levels rise. We experience higher blood pressure and often an elevated heart rate too. Now, if this quickly dissipates and was only a short-term experience, there are not likely to be any long-term risks. But if you experience stress every single day, then you may well have consistently high cortisol levels. That is a risk factor for weight gain, depression, issues with focus and concentration, headaches, tension and pain, sleep problems and even heart problems.

It’s an issue for anyone of any age. But I find it particularly worrying that daily stress affects so many young people. If this is something they never are able to escape, then it’s potentially their entire adult life in a state of elevated stress, which could have some serious physical health impacts.”

Of course, the 16 to 24s are not the only ones experiencing weekly stress. Very similar numbers of those aged 25 to 4 and 35 to 44 also experience weekly stress.

Those over 55 are the least likely to struggle with frequent stress. Just 14.36% experience stress daily and under half experience stress at least weekly.

Most Stressed Regions in the UK

We looked again at the proportion of people struggling with stress every single day.

Our findings are summarised below:

Region% Stressed Every Single Day
East of England19.90%
Greater London18.28%
East Midlands17.01%
West Midlands18.18%
North East13.41%
North West20.91%
Northern Ireland35.09%
South East25.09%
South West17.42%
Yorkshire and the Humber23.49%

Northern Ireland is where people are likeliest to experience stress every single day, with over a third of the respondents stating this to be the case.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, just 13.41% of those in the North East said they’re stressed every day.

In order (and based on what proportion of people are stressed daily) the three most stressed regions of the UK are:

  • Northern Ireland
  • The South East
  • Yorkshire and the Humber

Stress and Our Wider Mental Health Statistics

Some of our other 2024 research looked at mental health statistics on the whole across the UK.

We found that 1 in 7 people in the UK say their mental health is bad or even the worst it has ever been.

Stress is, of course, a key factor in our mental health with chronic stress being a risk factor for anxiety and depression. 

How to Manage Stress – Tips from the Doctor

If you’re suffering with stress, here are some tips from to manage it:

  1. Deep breathing can really help with stress. Try sitting upright in your chair, breathing in slowly through your nose for four seconds, holding your breath for 5 seconds and then breathing out through your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat several times each day
  2. Some people find mindfulness activities and meditation a useful daily activity to help manage stress
  3. Get enough sleep – this is a big one!
  4. Exercise is proven to help combat stress. That doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym hard. It might just mean getting out for a walk at lunchtime (which has the double benefit of being outside too)
  5. Talk to someone. If you’re experiencing stress regularly and it’s beginning to make you physically unwell too, go to your Doctor

Stress in the UK in 2024

What’s clear is that stress affects almost all of us at least sometimes. For many of us, it’s a very frequent occurrence. 

We’ve seen Covid lockdowns, a cost of living crisis and lowering living standards in the past few years, which is a likely contributor to why the proportion of those stressed at least weekly has increased so much.

Stress isn’t likely to go away overnight. There are things we can do to try and manage our own stress levels. And for those concerned that cortisol levels may be elevated, an at-home cortisol blood test can be a good starting point to uncover problems.

- Health scores calculated


This article was written by Forth

This information has been medically reviewed by Dr Thom Phillips

Thom works in NHS general practice and has a decade of experience working in both male and female elite sport. He has a background in exercise physiology and has published research into fatigue biomarkers.

Dr Thom Phillips

Dr Thom Phillips

Head of Clinical Services