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Last updated: May 13, 2020 • Real Estate Market

The Safest States and Cities in America

If peace were to be packed in tins and placed on shelves, it would sell like hotcakes. It’s one of those invaluable and intangible goods that sustain life on Earth. We can’t put a price on it, just like we can’t put a price on the air we breathe. The planet would be a very quiet and peaceful place in the absence of humans. So, what makes peace vanish in some places is the human nature – its dark side, to be exact: the greed, the envy, the thirst for power and supremacy, and even the fight for resources. Before we look at the safest cities in America, let’s take a look at the Global Peace Index (GPI) released by The Institute for Economics and Peace in June of this year. 

What are the safest countries at the moment? Well, six European countries are in the top 10 safest places to live in. Iceland came first again and has maintained this position since 2008. Peace also reigns in Portugal, Austria, and Denmark. Outside the Old Continent, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore, and Japan made it in the top ten as well. 

The United States occupies the 128th place among the 163 countries included in this study. Afghanistan and Syria are considered the most unsafe countries at the moment. In fact, refugees from Syria and Afghanistan still arrive in Greece and other countries bordering the Mediterranean sea. 

However, just because the U.S. isn’t considered the safest country in the world, we shouldn’t underestimate all the efforts put in by the U.S. Army to protect our country and to bring freedom to those who need it. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that military jobs provide so many benefits. Besides, the territory of our country is huge in comparison with the European countries. So, let’s zoom in to find out where one can find the safest cities in America. In our attempt to identify the less hostile regions, we will analyze the crime rate, the poverty level, and the high school graduation rate. 

The safest cities in America have low crime rates

security camera in a city

Peace and prosperity go hand in hand. The economy prospers where people manage to live in harmony. Let’s not forget how devastating the two World Wars had been and how much sorrow and poverty they had left behind. In the New World, between 1861-1865, the American Civil War claimed the lives of 625,000 people – about the same number as the lives lost in all other wars in which our country fought combined. Less than a century later, the Great Depression hit, but all’s well that ends well. The U.S. Peace Index reveals a decade-old X-ray in which the northern part of the country was safer than the South. The states of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire were the most peaceful, while the state of Louisiana fared really poorly, way above the U.S. average for homicides, violent crimes, and incarceration. 

What are the safest cities in America today? The top three states are still the same – nothing has changed. The East Coast is calmer than the rest of the country. Many of the safest cities are part of the New York Metro area and in the Boston area. Besides being a safe city, Boston is also a recession-proof city. According to the Pew Research Center, the violent crime rate, and the property crime rate in the U.S. has seen a steady decline for years. 

The lowest number of violent crimes in 2017 (according to the latest FBI Crime in the U.S. report) were recorded in:

  • Maine
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • Idaho
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island 
  • Wyoming

Prospective homebuyers may be more eager to find out the states with the lowest property crime rate:

  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Idaho
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut

Very high rates of property crime were registered in the District of Columbia, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Alaska. 

Of course, the crime rate varies a lot within each city too. The larger a city, the more infamous neighborhoods one may find. However, most real estate agents listed on RealEstateAgent.com are ready to assist home buyers in finding the house of their dreams in a safe neighborhood. Real estate professionals have the skills to follow their clients’ best interests.    

Income and poverty in the safest cities in America

empty wallet in eldery hands

If you are aware of the uneven distribution of wealth in the U.S., then you probably know the fact that 40% of our wealth is in the hands of the wealthiest 1%. And you may also agree that people from the same social class usually form clusters and close-knit communities, just like the Chinese communities retreated into Chinatowns. 

According to the latest statistics, Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico seem to be the states with the highest poverty rate – all a little below 20%. The official poverty rate in 2018 was 11.8 percent. 

Now, when people have a hard time making ends meet, they may try to bridge the gap through different crimes and illegal activities. Also, in low-income communities, more people may experience problems with vices. Alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and gambling make a considerable percentage of their income vanish without a trace. Consequently, it is more and more difficult for the less privileged to break free from the cycle of poverty. 

The median income in the U.S. was $63,179 last year, yet roughly 38 million people earned less, while about 500,000 were also living on the streets, without a shelter. Single persons living alone in the 48 contiguous states who earn less than $12,490 a year are considered below the poverty line. These are figures we don’t often bring to daylight, but have an indirect impact on real estate as well as on the local economy. 

According to the Financial Advisor Magazine, the highest incomes could be found in the state of Maryland, followed by Alaska and New Jersey. 

However, the theories above are confirmed by the states with the lowest income, which are Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana. None of these states made it among the states with the lowest criminality, and maybe you should reconsider moving there if an economic recession looms in the distance. Here you’ll also find the most vulnerable cities to be hit first by a recession

Do high school graduation rates influence safety?

celebration education graduation

In other words, does the level of education have an impact on the crime rate or not? Undoubtedly, it must have a certain effect, and many real estate agents find that good schools are usually in very safe neighborhoods. Overall, between 2015 and 2017, about half of the young children were not going to school. This percentage goes up to a staggering 69% in North Dakota. West Virginia and Idaho are next. 

What states have the lowest graduation rates? In 2017, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington D.C. had graduation rates below the national average of 84.6%. The high schools that graduated most of their students can be found in Iowa (91%), New Jersey (90.5%), and Tennessee (89.8%). Even though teachers have a recession-proof job, the cost of education continues to rise. Indeed, students in private schools seem to be doing a lot better than those in public schools. Besides public and private schools, let’s not forget about charter schools. While for those really terrified by the latest school shootings, homeschooling might be the solution.  However, our nation is facing a huge college-dropout crisis. A student drops out of high school every 26 seconds (1.2 million a year) while 2 million students who begin college don’t finish it.

When it comes to education, young children seem to have a better start in life in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, where more than 60% of the kids are enrolled in schools. 

A ranking published by WalletHub also supports the idea that the states with the lowest crime rates are indeed very educated. Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Connecticut are at the top, while Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia are trailing behind at the end of the leaderboard, having the least educated population. 

The safest big cities in the US

downtown san diego

You may be thinking that the larger a city is, the more dangerous it is, and you may be partially correct. However, the benefits of living in a larger city far outweigh the cons. So, here are the top safest big cities in the US:

  1. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  2. San Diego, California
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii
  4. Austin, Texas
  5. Mesa, Arizona

The safest small towns in America

Small towns have many disadvantages for law offenders. The police can track them way too soon and they may even have a bad reputation within their neighborhood. So, in smaller towns, crimes are discouraged by the size itself. Here’s our list of the top five safest small towns in America:

  1. Augusta, Maine
  2. Montpelier, Vermont
  3. Concord, New Hampshire
  4. Boise, Idaho
  5. Lexington, Kentuky

In conclusion, it seems that there is a strong connection between the crime rate, the poverty rate, and the dropout rate. All parents have the responsibility to conserve the best places to live in the U.S. (and even add to their number) by investing in the education of their children. In this way, not only will our cities be safer, but also more prosperous.

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