Safest cities in the US (From Natural Disasters & Crime)

Safety is one of humanity’s prime concerns. We all want to live in a safe home, which is in a safe neighborhood, and in a safe city. So what exactly makes all these areas safe? How do you define a “safe city”? Usually, a safe city is described as a crime-free or crime-less city. A low crime rate allows citizens relative peace of mind, and they feel a sense of security as they go about their daily lives.

But what if a natural disaster hits? A dangerous amount of violent crime might not cause enough damage to the city than a single natural disaster can. So we might as well include the possibility of a natural disaster to evaluate the relative safety of a city.

Say we have a city with almost no crime, and it’s least likely to suffer a natural disaster. Crime and natural disasters are not on the list of citizens’ problems. But suddenly, the city comes under financial crisis. Industry and trade are at a standstill, and citizens are hard-pressed to feed themselves and their families. Is the city’s safety from crime and natural disasters enough to make it a desirable place to live in, even if its finances are in shambles?

The introduction might seem a bit grim, but it should give you an appreciation of the extent of a safe city’s definition. There might be other variables as well, but this list of safest cities in America by Wallethub is created with three core variables in mind: Home and community safety, natural disaster safety, and financial security. These three variables are based on a sum of 41 metrics.

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10 Safest Cities in America

Based on how low a city ranks in natural disaster risk and financial safety risk, and how high on home and community safety risk, the ten safest cities in America are:

  1. Columbia, Maryland
  2. Yonkers, New York
  3. Plano, Texas
  4. Gilbert, Arizona
  5. South Burlington, Vermont
  6. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  7. Bismarck, North Dakota
  8. Nashua, New Hampshire
  9. Chandler, Arizona
  10. Warwick, Rhode Island

1. Columbia, Maryland

Columbia Maryland

When it comes to home and community, Columbia is considered the 3rd safest city in the country. In terms of natural disasters, Columbia’s risk of earthquakes is much lower than that of the country’s average, and the risk of tornados is a little above average. There have been 43 tornado events above magnitude 2 in and around Colombia, between the years of 1950-2010. The total fatality count of these tornados is four. Overall, Columbia is ranked 63rd safest city when it comes to natural disasters.

Columbia’s employment average is 0.5% below the country average. The median household income is almost double the country’s, and the poverty rate of 7.38% is lower than the national average. Among the 182 safest cities in the country, Columbia’s financial safety ranking is 77. Considering all this, Columbia is regarded as one of the safest cities in America.

2. Yonkers, New York

Yonkers New York

Runner up on this list is Yonkers. This 202,127-people city is the safest city in the state and is ranked first in the home and community safety category of this list. The crime rate in the city is 49% lower than the country’s average. Yonkers is pretty safe when it comes to tornados, ranking 262 in the country’s tornado index. The probability of an earth quack is relatively higher than the national average. Yonkers is 39th among the safest cities in America when it comes to natural disasters.

The financial safety ranking of Yonkers is 116. The median household income in Yonkers is near the country’s median. The poverty rate of 16.4% is higher than the national average. The unemployment rate in the city is also higher than the national average of 3.6%, indicating a correlation between poverty and employment.

3. Plano, Texas

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Third on our list is Plano, which is second in home and community safety, 44th in financial safety, and ranked 113 when it comes to risk of natural disaster. It’s a prosperous community, with a higher than national median household income and lower poverty rate. The unemployment rate is also lower than the national average.

When it comes to natural disasters, Plano is very safe from earthquakes but gets hit by more tornados than the national average, though historically there have been few fatalities because of tornadoes in the area. Violent crimes per 100,000 are less than half the national number. Property crimes (theft and burglary) are just above the country’s average per 100,000.

4. Gilbert, Arizona

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Gilbert is 7th in terms of home and community security. It’s also one of the safest cities in America when it comes to natural disasters, ranking 14th in the natural-disaster risk. The risk of both tornados and earthquakes is much lower than anywhere else in the country.

The city is very safe when it comes to violent crimes, with only about 0.85 violent crimes per 1,000 people. This is way below the national median of 4 crimes per thousand people. Property crimes also very low compared to the national and Arizona median.

Gilbert also has a meager poverty rate of 5.87%. The median household income of Gilbert is also higher than in the country. The unemployment rate of 3.4% is also very low compared to the state of Arizona. All these good numbers earned the financial risk rank of 66 to the city.

5. South Burlington, Vermont

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The tiny city of South Burlington is home to only 19,141 people. It’s also the home of Ben & Jerry’s headquarter. This small city is very safe against tornados and other natural disasters, and one of the safest cities in America against financial setbacks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Burlington has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. The poverty rate is also very low, at 5.73%. It earns this little city, 3rd rank in the financial safety category, despite the fact that the city’s median household income is just above the national median.

When it comes to home and community safety, South Burlington is the least safe city on this list. Though the violent crime rate is low at 1.99 per thousand, which is still higher than the state’s median. The property crime rate of 26.64 per thousand is even higher than the national median of 24. These statistics are a bit odd for such a small and financially stable city.

6. Virginia Beach, Virginia

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One of the 50 most populous cities in the country and the most populated one on this list is Virginia Beach, with a population of 454,856 people. It’s the most popular city in the state and a major tourist attraction with its beaches and resorts. Despite being on the shore, Virginia beach is relatively safe from natural disasters, with a rank of 44.

The city is also safe in terms of crime. The median violent crime and property crime are both lower than the national median though the property crimes per thousand people are higher than the state of Virginia.

The poverty rate of 8% is high, but not as high as the national poverty rate. But the unemployment rate of 4% is a bit higher. The city pulls ahead in terms of median household income.

7. Bismarck, North Dakota

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North Dakota’s capital, Bismarck is a relatively small city, with a population of only 73,112 (with the overall metro area population being 128,673). It’s the safest city when it comes to volcanoes and one of the safest against earthquakes. The probability of tornados is higher than the state’s but not the country.

Bismarck’s home-and-community safety rank is 26. There are 3.51 violent crimes per 1000 people in the city, which is higher than the state’s median of 2.81. And there are more property crimes per 1000 people than either state or country.

The unemployment rate of Bismarck at 2.6% is reasonable, but the poverty rate is high at 9.29%. Median household income of $66,467 is also higher than the national average. But the city ranks quite high in the financial safety category, in 9th place.

8. Nashua, New Hampshire

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With the population of 89,246, Nashua is the second-largest city in the state, after Manchester. It’s ranked 16 in home-and-community safety. The city’s violent crime rate (1.7) and property crime rate (13.47) are very low compared to the national median. For natural disasters, Nashua has a higher probability of tornadoes and a lesser probability of earthquakes than the state.

The financial safety stats of Nashua aren’t very flattering. The poverty rate is very high, at 10.8%. The city once saw a massive textile industry, which is now part of the Boston region. The unemployment rate of 2.5 is much better than the national rate of 3.5, according to the Bureau of labor statistics. The city ranks 45th in financial safety.

 9. Chandler, Arizona

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Chandler is the fourth most populated city in Arizona, with a population of 257,165. It’s technically a suburb of Phoenix. It’s very safe when it comes to natural disasters, ranking 8th in the natural disaster risk category. But its financial safety is a different matter.

The unemployment rate is high at 3.6%, so is the poverty rate of 9.12%. Although the median household income of $77,278 is very high compared to the national average, the cost of living in Chandler is also relatively higher.

The home and community safety rank of Chandler is quite decent at 17. Though the violate crime rate of 2.55 and property crime rate of 22.9 is high, compared to other cities on this list, they are adequately low compared to the state of Arizona.

10. Warwick, Rhode Island

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Closing the list is the city of Warwick, the second-largest city in the state of Rhode Island. The population of the city is 80,847. Rhode Island is a safe state when it comes to crimes. Warwick’s stats are in keeping with the state’s good safety numbers. The violent crime rate of 1.26 is very low, and the property crime rate of 17.61 is still on the smaller side.

The unemployment rate of the city is higher than the national average, but the poverty rate is relatively low, at 6.7%. The median household income has also grown in the past few years and is now $71,191.

Warwick’s natural disaster risk rank is 22. The city is very well sheltered from tornadoes, but the probability of earthquakes is higher than the state.

Some FAQs About Safe Cities

What is the safest US city?

A: As per our analysis, the safest city in the US is Columbia, Maryland.

What is the safest city in America in 2019?

A: For the year 2019, many studies found Columbia, Maryland, to be the safest city in America. Though some sources also lean towards Alexandria, Virginia, and Virginia Beach, Virginia as the safest cities this year.

What US city has the lowest crime rate?

A: According to a source, the small city of the lake in the hills, Illinois has the lowest overall crime rate in the country.

Final Words

Human beings are creatures of habit. Once we get used to a particular lifestyle, it’s tough for us to make any drastic changes in our lives. Especially when it comes to where we live. We find it hard to change our home, area, or city. But it’s a part of life. People relocate for work, family, and a number of other reasons.

So it’s a good idea to know about the safest cities in the country. Safety isn’t usually the first item on many people’s list of relocation, but it should be an important factor in making your choice. The relative safety and security of a city have a lot of impact on its citizens. Even if you don’t become an unfortunate victim of a crime, you will still have a hard time feeling comfortable if the crime rate in the city suddenly rises up.

Similarly, every year, a relatively small percentage of the country’s population falls victim to the horrors of natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. But the stories of victims and footages of the disasters are enough to shake us all.

Just as bad are the financial dangers, if trade and industry are dropped in a city, the population feels its short term and long term impacts. People are evicted from their homes because they couldn’t pay their mortgage; the crime rate starts to rise. The safety and lifestyle of the city start to plummet down.

In view of all these risks and dangers, it’s not foolish to seek safe cities to live. But relocating is not always an option. You can’t just move your entire life and family to another place, just because it’s safer than where you live. But what you can do is try and make your home, neighborhood, and city as safe as possible. If all citizens do their part, you will be amazed by the results that follow.

About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gJohn Fox has worked as a security consultant for over 20 years. During his time in the industry, he's learned about what it takes to ensure your home and family are always safe.

With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it with others to help them figure out how to make the right choices for their businesses and families.

John writes tips and guides to prevent crimes, as well as product recommendations, and tips for what to do in case of an emergency and how to protect yourself at all times.