According to the Global Peace Index, the United States ranks 128 out of 163 countries. The US has terrorist attacks, mass shootings, hate crimes, and natural disasters, all of which can endanger citizens and visitors. Safety plays a large role in people's quality of life and is a significant factor for families looking to relocate.
Safety varies from state to state. Some states are safe from some dangers but fall prey to others. To determine which states are the safest, WalletHub compared all 50 states across 53 safety indicators grouped into the following categories: Personal & Residential Safety, Financial Safety, Road Safety, Workplace Safety, and Emergency Preparedness.
Indicators that were used to determine the safest states include DUIs per capita, road quality, unemployment rate, debt per income, poverty rate, number of mass shootings, assaults per capita, law enforcement employees per capita, and the share of families with children aged 0 to 17 who feel they live in safe neighborhoods. Each state was given a score between 0 and 100 for each metric, with 100 being the safest. This score was used to determine which states are the safest in the U.S.
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*Rankings based upon 2022 data.
Vermont was the safest state in the US in 2022, with a total score of 69.49. Vermont ranks second for Personal & Residential Safety and third for Road Safety. Vermont has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, has the third-lowest share of uninsured people, and has the second-fewest assaults per capita. Vermont's violent crime rate is 1.7 incidents per 1,000 people, two points below the national rate. Vermont is also considered one of the healthiest states in the US.
With a score of 66.24, Maine was 2022's second-safest U.S. state. Maine ranks first for Emergency Preparedness, fifth for Road Safety, and third for Personal Safety. Maine has the lowest number of assaults per capita of any state in the US, as well as the lowest overall violent crime rate and the fourth-lowest property crime rate. Like New Hampshire and Vermont, Maine's homicide rate is among the lowest in the country.
New Hampshire's 2022 score was 65.35, making it the third-safest state in the US. New Hampshire ranked first for Financial Safety, second for Emergency Preparedness, and fourth for Personal Safety. New Hampshire has a very low murder rate, the second-fewest assaults per capita. The overall violent crime rate is 1.7 incidents per 1,000, tied with Vermont and two points below the national rate. The state also has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, in league with North Dakota, Vermont, Utah, Hawaii, and Iowa.
Minnesota ranked the fourth-safest state in the US in 2022, with a total score of 64.02. Minnesota ranked first for Workplace Safety and fourth for both Financial Safety and Road Safety. Minnesota has a high percentage of adults with a rainy-day fund and very few uninsured people in its population. Additionally, the state has the second-fewest fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel. Like several of its safety-minded peers, Minnesota is considered to be one of the healthiest states in the US and has one of the highest life expectancies in the country.
Utah ranked fifth on the 2022 safest states list with a score of 62.54. Utah ranks fifth for Emergency Preparedness, and ninth for Road Safety. Utah is tied with North Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Hawaii, and Iowa for the lowest unemployment rate. Utah has the fourth-lowest total loss from climate disasters per capita, and the lowest percentage of drunk driving fatalities in the U.S. Law enforcement credits the community for looking out for each other and being involved in keeping the community safe.
Connecticut posted a 2022 safety score of 62.12, ranking first for Personal & Residential Safety. This earns Connecticut the rank of sixth-safest US state. Connecticut has a very low rate of gun violence, one of the lowest rates of missing persons in the country.
Massachusetts posted a total safety score of 61.83 in 2022, which ranked as the seventh-safest state in the US. Massachusetts ranks first for Road Safety, second for Financial Safety, and fifth for Personal & Residential Safety. If not for a troubling Workplace Safety ranking of 42nd, Massachusetts could well have been the safest state in the U.S.
The smallest state in the country by total area, Rhode Island was also the eighth-safest state of 2023, posting a total safety ranking of 60.19. Rhode Island's highest sub-rankings were seventh in both Personal & Residential Safety and Road Safety. Rhode Island's safety can also manifest in many other metrics. For example, Rhode Island has very low rates of missing persons and gun violence, and typically boasts the lowest rate of human trafficking of any state in the US.
Washington posted a 2022 safety ranking of 59.88, the ninth-highest of any state. Washington ranked fifth in Workplace Safety and seventh in Emergency Preparedness. Washington also has one of the highest life expectancies of any state.
Rounding out the top ten safest states is Maryland. With an overall score of 57.32, Maryland ranks ninth in Personal & Residential Safety, and thirteenth in Workplace Safety. However, Maryland's rank is brought down by its rank of 41st in Road Safety.
Personal and Residential Safety