The Top 10 Safest Cities in the U.S., New Research Shows
Experts looked at community safety, financial safety, and natural disaster risk.
From public health crises to natural disasters to theft and crimes, there are many threats to the well-being of Americans. And while no one can avoid all danger entirely, where you choose to live can greatly mitigate the risks. Recently, Wallethub compared 182 locations to determine which U.S. cities are the safest.
The study looked at "the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state" and analyzed them across three key areas: home and community safety, natural disaster risk, and financial safety. Each category was evaluated using 41 relevant metrics, and "each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of safety."
Wallethub then deduced "each city's weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score." Curious to see which cities make the top 10? Keep reading to find out some of the safest spots in the U.S.
Total Score: 83.63
Home and community safety: 17
Natural disaster risk: 53
Financial safety: 28
Scottsdale, Arizona is the first of two cities in the state, both of which are outside Phoenix, to make the top 10.
Out of the 182 cities that were examined, Scottsdale places 53 in natural disaster risk, which slightly brings down their overall score. The category is made up of the following metrics: earthquake risk level, flood risk level, hail risk level, hurricane storm-surge risk level, tornado risk level, and wildfire risk level.
Total Score: 83.70
Home and community safety: 28
Natural disaster risk: 37
Financial safety: 10
Burlington, Vermont is notable for coming in fifth place for having the lowest percentage of uninsured people.
This metric falls under financial safety, which also includes: unemployment rate, underemployment rate, share of uninsured population, share of uninsured drivers, foreclosure rate, median credit score, debt-to-income ratio, share of owner-occupied housing units spending at least 35 percent of their household income on housing, poverty rate, fraud and other complaints per capita, identity-theft complaints per capita, share of unbanked households, job security, employment growth, share of households with emergency savings, retirement plan access and participation rate, personal bankruptcy filings per capita, and share of seriously underwater mortgages all factor into financial safety.
Yonkers, New York
Total Score: 83.76
Home and community safety: 4
Natural disaster risk: 39
Financial safety: 122
Here, you can break down the specifics of "home and community safety."
Yonkers, New York is part of Westchester County, where residents can easily reach New York City.
Yonkers is fourth overall in home and community safety, which includes the following metrics: presence of terrorist attacks, number of mass shootings, murders and non-negligent manslaughters per capita, forcible rapes per capita, assaults per capita, thefts per capita, sex offenders per capita, law-enforcement employees per capita, active firefighters per capita, EMTs and paramedics per capita, hate crimes per capita, share of sheltered homeless, perception of safety, drug poisoning deaths per capita, traffic fatalities per capita, pedestrian fatalities per capita, and road quality.
Yonkers has ranked on Wallethub's safest cities list for a few years in a row, and they also consider it one of the happiest places to live.
Total Score: 83.92
Home and community safety: 27
Natural disaster risk: 20
Financial safety: 11
Casper, Wyoming ranks as the seventh safest city in the U.S., and it's the second most populated city in the state with just under 60,000 people.
For safety reasons, Casper's police department has recently implemented an online reporting program that allows residents to report non-emergency incidents of crime that meet certain criteria.
"One of the best things people can do is get to know your local public safety agencies," says Jonathan W. Gaddy, clinical assistant professor of the emergency services department, homeland security, and emergency management program at Idaho State University. He adds that many police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) departments offer citizen programs to educate the community about how they work and the challenges they face.
Total Score: 83.99
Home and community safety: 32
Natural disaster risk: 11
Financial safety: 2
In addition to being a safe location, Portland, Maine offers a pleasant mix of scenic coastal views, small-town charm, and city living.
Portland ranked second in overall financial safety and eleventh in natural disaster risk. They also have one of the highest percentages of households with emergency savings.
Warwick, Rhode Island
Total Score: 84.03
Home and community safety: 9
Natural disaster risk: 22
Financial safety: 68
Warwick, Rhode Island is another New England locale that placed high on the list. This oceanfront city is full of historic sites, beaches, and arts and cultural centers.
According to Wallethub, the city lands in the top five for the fewest assaults per capita, which is key in the home and community safety category.
Total Score: 84.24
Home and community safety: 10
Natural disaster risk: 14
Financial safety: 56
Gilbert, the second city outside of Phoenix on the list, has transformed from an agricultural community into an economically sound suburban hub. Last year, they ranked seven on Wallethub's list.
The population of Gilbert is climbing closer to 300,000 people, and more than half of that community is made up of residents under 45 years of age.
South Burlington, Vermont
Total Score: 85.18
Home and community safety: 21
Natural disaster risk: 36
Financial safety: 1
Taking third place is South Burlington, Vermont, a suburb of the number-nine city of Burlington. They are noted as a city with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and they secured the number one ranking for financial safety. South Burlington also boasts some of the lowest percentages of uninsured people.
But even though they are ranked highly on the list, according to Wallethub, South Burlington does suffer from one of the highest rates of hate crimes per capita.
Total Score: 85.97
Home and community safety: 1
Natural disaster risk: 63
Financial safety: 85
After previously holding the first-place spot, Columbia, Maryland is now the second safest city in the U.S. This might be thanks to the fact that they rank first for home and community safety. And with their proximity to larger hubs like Baltimore and Washington D.C., it's easy to see the appeal.
Nashua, New Hampshire
Total Score: 86
Home and community safety: 8
Natural disaster risk: 27
Financial safety: 8
Nashua, New Hampshire is the last of the five New England cities to make the top 10 and comes in as the number-one safest city in the U.S.
Living in this city of 85,000 is a secure option for your physical well-being as well as your financial security; according to the report from Wallethub, the city has one of the lowest unemployment rates and ranks second for having the fewest assaults per capita.
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