2022’s Safest Cities in America (2022)

Threats to safety in the U.S. come in many forms, from the continued presence of the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters to mass shootings and traffic accidents.

People can feel unsafe in other ways, too. Aside from the types of hazards that can cause bodily injury or other physical harm, taking out an unaffordable second mortgage, forgoing health insurance or even visiting unsecured websites are also ways people run into danger. One of the biggest worries for many people right now is the cost of inflation, which reached a four-decade high this year and threatens Americans’ financial safety.

No one can avoid all danger, however, and we take on a certain level of risk based on where we choose to live. Some cities are simply better at protecting their residents from harm. To determine where Americans can feel most secure — in more than one sense — WalletHub compared more than 180 cities across 42 key indicators of safety. Our data set ranges from the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated and assaults per capita to the unemployment rate and road quality.

Table of Contents

Main FindingsAsk the ExpertsMethodology

Main Findings

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Safest Cities in the U.S.

Overall Rank*CityTotal ScoreHome & Community SafetyNatural-Disaster RiskFinancial Safety
1Columbia, MD85.9916392
2Nashua, NH84.4411272
3Laredo, TX83.96424107
4Portland, ME83.4916118
5Warwick, RI83.1952298
6Yonkers, NY83.19339113
7Gilbert, AZ82.04121460
8Burlington, VT81.90273711
9Raleigh, NC81.46195524
10Lewiston, ME81.40331221
11Juneau, AK81.3960501
12Winston-Salem, NC81.03264059
13Madison, WI80.92158949
14Bismarck, ND80.51376418
15South Burlington, VT80.2559363
16Chandler, AZ80.1141838
17Fremont, CA79.98101575
18Virginia Beach, VA79.852044100
19Scottsdale, AZ79.75355341
20Brownsville, TX79.70222153
21Boise, ID79.56387123
22Cedar Rapids, IA79.532810132
23Manchester, NH79.51533016
24Pearl City, HI79.482N/A10
25Pembroke Pines, FL79.451448152
26Irvine, CA79.25615061
27Cape Coral, FL79.1913111115
28Worcester, MA79.01431769
29Peoria, AZ78.87482665
30Casper, WY78.70562083
31Bridgeport, CT78.334716108
32Fargo, ND77.99737713
33Chesapeake, VA77.973069130
34Las Cruces, NM77.89516679
35Salem, OR77.89657037
36Fort Wayne, IN77.83545981
37Aurora, IL77.771791155
38Chula Vista, CA77.691813274
39Santa Rosa, CA77.662115314
40Glendale, CA77.508151124
41Henderson, NV77.412595140
42Tempe, AZ77.4077954
43Charlotte, NC77.34695736
44Providence, RI77.335010126
45Cheyenne, WY77.25499782
46Mesa, AZ77.24611880
47Nampa, ID77.19664971
48San Diego, CA77.113613033
49Irving, TX77.062912570
50Lincoln, NE77.006210519
51Missoula, MT76.865810851
52Rochester, NY76.82754101
53Durham, NC76.82824234
54Santa Clarita, CA76.777168147
55Grand Prairie, TX76.6539112105
56Sioux Falls, SD76.576710325
57Hialeah, FL76.369128176
58Vancouver, WA76.35818726
59Grand Rapids, MI76.3186753
60Spokane, WA76.09901939
61Tampa, FL75.69689284
62Omaha, NE75.617110745
63Oxnard, CA75.553114889
64Rancho Cucamonga, CA75.473415947
65Salt Lake City, UT75.428011622
66Oceanside, CA75.324214457
67New Haven, CT75.13101673
68Huntington Beach, CA74.823217063
69Greensboro, NC74.711023367
70North Las Vegas, NV74.654099169
71Tallahassee, FL74.638828131
72Norfolk, VA74.247481150
73San Jose, CA74.19721696
74Newport News, VA73.849721146
75Honolulu, HI73.8323N/A27
76Garden Grove, CA73.784417188
77Glendale, AZ73.5811213106
78Ontario, CA73.575715675
79Plano, TX73.5010511342
80Fontana, CA73.495216387
81Minneapolis, MN73.409913117
82Billings, MT73.34134589
83Moreno Valley, CA73.2845166119
84Overland Park, KS73.239812148
85Boston, MA73.111293520
86San Antonio, TX73.079473132
87Jersey City, NJ73.068984136
88Sacramento, CA72.969111956
89Columbia, SC72.918783157
90Newark, NJ72.907829179
91Des Moines, IA72.728314350
92Santa Ana, CA72.7155167116
93Mobile, AL72.5710043164
94Anaheim, CA72.556315499
95Arlington, TX72.4284122122
96Rapid City, SD72.3510812935
97El Paso, TX72.3210974133
98Huntington, WV72.3111947104
99Lubbock, TX72.2911011464
100Montgomery, AL72.209593165
101Port St. Lucie, FL71.9224N/A114
102Gulfport, MS71.8711156162
103Tucson, AZ71.7111765118
104Amarillo, TX71.648516268
105Jacksonville, FL71.6112062128
106Columbus, GA71.5111338167
107West Valley City, UT71.4746N/A30
108Anchorage, AK71.409216144
109Miami, FL71.3770118178
110Fort Smith, AR71.231339446
111Aurora, CO71.1496133117
112Knoxville, TN70.9011878135
113Phoenix, AZ70.821372594
113Fresno, CA70.8212111776
115St. Paul, MN70.6764N/A15
116Augusta, GA70.6413661171
117Huntsville, AL70.5810714297
118Modesto, CA70.5212413531
119Toledo, OH70.4812860141
120Pittsburgh, PA70.441387258
121Nashville, TN70.4112211577
121Tulsa, OK70.41116120102
123Dover, DE70.391311173
124Louisville, KY70.3712710678
125Austin, TX70.231439829
126Riverside, CA70.219316495
127New York, NY70.1313234138
128Charleston, WV69.991504528
129Fort Worth, TX69.88104134144
130Buffalo, NY69.72152540
131Akron, OH69.6412668163
132Garland, TX69.64130110111
133Chicago, IL69.6411579174
134Atlanta, GA69.6312382154
135Reno, NV69.5111415872
136San Francisco, CA69.501461234
137Portland, OR69.481518612
138Fayetteville, NC69.2514051151
139Long Beach, CA69.10103152134
140Wichita, KS68.66106172110
141Cincinnati, OH68.4414576137
142Albuquerque, NM68.411498866
143Corpus Christi, TX68.27160390
144Bakersfield, CA68.16125146109
145Wilmington, DE68.1014423175
146Lexington-Fayette, KY68.0976N/A52
147Springfield, MO67.9214212786
148Seattle, WA67.921481417
149Stockton, CA67.7213514085
150St. Petersburg, FL67.5479N/A55
151Indianapolis, IN67.35138124120
152Shreveport, LA67.23147100143
153Houston, TX67.18141102158
154Orlando, FL66.741633296
155Milwaukee, WI66.6615452148
156Las Vegas, NV65.3515396161
157Colorado Springs, CO64.86157126112
158Tacoma, WA64.1815914591
159Columbus, OH64.1616946139
160Charleston, SC63.9415516593
161Baltimore, MD63.2816767159
162Kansas City, MO63.00162138129
163Little Rock, AR62.94156147145
164Denver, CO62.8016613962
165New Orleans, LA62.4817031177
166Dallas, TX62.19172104121
167Birmingham, AL61.90161136170
168Washington, DC61.7517780103
169Cleveland, OH61.2617154180
170Philadelphia, PA61.1217615160
171Richmond, VA60.8217875127
172Los Angeles, CA60.75164149149
173Chattanooga, TN60.54175109125
174Jackson, MS60.48168137172
175Oakland, CA60.4517415543
176Oklahoma City, OK58.49158173123
177Memphis, TN58.4717385182
178Baton Rouge, LA56.5118290166
179Detroit, MI55.5818141181
180San Bernardino, CA54.41180160142
181Fort Lauderdale, FL48.78165N/A168
182St. Louis, MO42.81179N/A156

Note: *No. 1 = Safest
With the exception of “Total Score,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that city, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.

2022’s Safest Cities in America (1)

Traffic Fatalities per Capita

Fewest

  • 1. Columbia, MD
  • 2. Glendale, CA
  • 3. Pearl City, HI
  • 4. Honolulu, HI
  • 5. Oxnard, CA

2022’s Safest Cities in America (2)

Most

  • T-173. Baton Rouge, LA
  • T-173. St. Louis, MO
  • T-173. Detroit, MI
  • T-173. Jackson, MS
  • T-173. Memphis, TN

Best City vs. Worst City: 36x Difference

Columbia, MD vs. Memphis, TN

2022’s Safest Cities in America (3)

Law-Enforcement Employees per Capita

Most

  • T-1. Washington, DC
  • T-1. New York, NY
  • T-1. Jersey City, NJ
  • T-1. St. Louis, MO
  • T-1. Chicago, IL

2022’s Safest Cities in America (4)

Fewest

  • 172. Fontana, CA
  • 173. Modesto, CA
  • 174. Fremont, CA
  • 175. Irvine, CA
  • 176. Chula Vista, CA

Best City vs. Worst City: 7x Difference

Washington, DC vs. Chula Vista, CA

2022’s Safest Cities in America (5)

Assaults per Capita

Fewest

  • 1. Irvine, CA
  • 2. Nashua, NH
  • 3. Warwick, RI
  • 4. Glendale, CA
  • 5. Virginia Beach, VA

2022’s Safest Cities in America (6)

Most

  • T-173. Birmingham, AL
  • T-173. St. Louis, MO
  • T-173. Little Rock, AR
  • T-173. Detroit, MI
  • T-173. Memphis, TN

Best City vs. Worst City: 86x Difference

Irvine, CA vs. Memphis, TN

2022’s Safest Cities in America (7)

Hate Crimes per Capita

Fewest

  • 1. Tampa, FL
  • 2. Tulsa, OK
  • 3. St. Louis, MO
  • 4. Milwaukee, WI
  • 5. Laredo, TX

2022’s Safest Cities in America (8)

Most

  • T-163. Salem, OR
  • T-163. Washington, DC
  • T-163. Seattle, WA
  • T-163. South Burlington, VT
  • T-163. Cleveland, OH

2022’s Safest Cities in America (9)

Unemployment Rate

Lowest

  • T-1. Miami, FL
  • T-1. Springfield, MO
  • T-1. Manchester, NH
  • T-1. Hialeah, FL
  • T-1. Sioux Falls, SD
  • T-1. South Burlington, VT

2022’s Safest Cities in America (10)

Highest

  • 176. Brownsville, TX
  • 177. Wilmington, DE
  • 178. Cleveland, OH
  • 179. Dover, DE
  • 180. Detroit, MI

Best City vs. Worst City: 5x Difference

Miami, FL vs. Detroit, MI

2022’s Safest Cities in America (11)

% of Households with Emergency Savings

Highest

  • 1. Wichita, KS
  • 2. Portland, ME
  • T-3. Minneapolis, MN
  • T-3. St. Paul, MN
  • T-5. Portland, OR
  • T-5. Vancouver, WA

2022’s Safest Cities in America (12)

Lowest

  • T-116. Miami, FL
  • T-116. Hialeah, FL
  • T-116. Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • T-116. Pembroke Pines, FL
  • 120. Memphis, TN

Best City vs. Worst City: 2x Difference

Wichita, KS vs. Memphis, TN

2022’s Safest Cities in America (13)

% of Uninsured Population

Lowest

  • 1. South Burlington, VT
  • 2. Pearl City, HI
  • 3. Fremont, CA
  • 4. Worcester, MA
  • 5. Warwick, RI

2022’s Safest Cities in America (14)

Highest

  • 178. Dallas, TX
  • 179. Houston, TX
  • 180. Garland, TX
  • 181. Laredo, TX
  • 182. Brownsville, TX

Best City vs. Worst City: 17x Difference

South Burlington, VT vs. Brownsville, TX

2022’s Safest Cities in America (15)

Natural-Disaster Risk Level

Lowest

  • 1. Dover, DE
  • 2. Brownsville, TX
  • 3. Corpus Christi, TX
  • 4. Rochester, NY
  • 5. Buffalo, NY

2022’s Safest Cities in America (16)

Highest

  • 169. San Jose, CA
  • 170. Huntington Beach, CA
  • 171. Garden Grove, CA
  • 172. Wichita, KS
  • 173. Oklahoma City, OK

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Ask the Experts

For the best ways to improve safety, we asked a panel of experts to weigh in with their thoughts on the following key questions:

  1. What steps should local authorities take to help reduce the public costs associated with cleanups after major natural disasters? Should flood or other types of insurance be mandatory?
  2. What measures can police departments take to increase public trust? How important is it to have a police force that is representative of the local community?
  3. What can consumers do to increase their financial literacy, considering sound financial decisions increase a person's financial safety?

Ask the Experts

Steven G. Koven
Ph.D. – Professor, Department of Urban and Public Affairs – University of Louisville
Read More

Jason D. Rivera
Ph.D., MS, MPA – Associate Professor, Department of Public Management; Coordinator, MPA Emergency Management Specialization – John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Read More

Keith Boeckelman
Professor, Department of Political Science – Western Illinois University
Read More

Gary L. Rose
Ph.D. – Professor and Chair, Department of Government – Sacred Heart University
Read More

Doug Babcock
Adjunct Instructor – Saint Michael's College
Read More

Kenneth Kickham
Ph.D. – Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science, University of Central Oklahoma
Read More

Methodology

In order to determine the safest cities in which to live, WalletHub compared 182 cities — including the 150 most populated U.S. cities, plus at least two of the most populated cities in each state — across three key dimensions: 1) Home & Community Safety, 2) Natural-Disaster Risk, and 3) Financial Safety.

We evaluated those dimensions using 42 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the highest level of safety.

We then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample. In determining our sample, we considered only the city proper in each case, excluding cities in the surrounding metro area.

Home & Community Safety - Total Points: 50

  • Percentage of Residents Who Are Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19: Double Weight (~4.76 Points)
  • Presence of Terrorist Attacks: Triple Weight (~7.14 Points)
    Note: This binary metric considers the presence or absence of terrorist attack or terrorist-related incident in the city between 2012 and 2022.
  • Number of Mass Shootings: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Murders & Non-Negligent Manslaughters per Capita: Triple Weight (~7.14 Points)
  • Forcible Rapes per Capita: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Assaults per Capita: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Thefts per Capita: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Sex Offenders per Capita: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Law-Enforcement Employees per Capita: Half Weight (~1.19 Points)
  • Active Firefighters per Capita: Half Weight (~1.19 Points)
  • EMTs & Paramedics per Capita: Half weight (~1.19 Points)
    Note: “EMTs” refer to Emergency Medical Technicians.
  • Hate Crimes per Capita: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Share of Sheltered Homeless: Half Weight (~1.19 Points)
  • Perception of Safety (Safety walking alone during daylight/night): Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
    Note: These data are based on perceptions of visitors of Numbeo website in the past 3 years. If the value is 0, it means it is perceived as very low, and if the value is 100, it means it is perceived as very high.
  • Drug Poisoning Deaths per Capita: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Traffic Fatalities per Capita: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
  • Pedestrian Fatalities per Capita: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)
    Note: “Pedestrians” also includes pedacyclists.
  • Road Quality: Full Weight (~2.38 Points)

Natural-Disaster Risk - Total Points: 30

  • Earthquake Risk Level: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
  • Flood Risk Level: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
  • Hail Risk Level: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
  • Hurricane Storm-Surge Risk Level: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
  • Tornado Risk Level: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
  • Wildfire Risk Level: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)

Financial Safety - Total Points: 20

  • Unemployment Rate: Double Weight (~2.11 Points)
  • Underemployment Rate: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Share of Uninsured Population: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Share of Uninsured Drivers: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Foreclosure Rate: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Median Credit Score: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Debt-to-Income Ratio: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Share of Owner Occupied Housing Units Spending at Least 35% of Their Household Income on Housing: : Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Poverty Rate: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Fraud & Other Complaints per Capita: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
    Note: “Other” includes both financial and nonfinancial complaints.
  • Identity-Theft Complaints per Capita: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Share of Unbanked Households: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Job Security: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
    Note: (Number of Employees in 2022 June - Number of Employees in 2021 June) / Number of Employees in 2021 June.
  • Employment Growth: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
    Note: This metric was adjusted for the working-age population growth and compares figures between 2022 and 2021.
  • Share of Households with Emergency Savings: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the share of households that saved for unexpected expenses or emergencies in the past 12 months.
  • Retirement Plan Access & Participation Rate: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
    Note: “Retirement Plan” includes only employer-based plans.
  • Personal Bankruptcy Filings per Capita: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
  • Share of Seriously Underwater Mortgages: Full Weight (~1.05 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the proportion of seriously underwater mortgages, where the combined estimated balance of loans secured by those properties was at least 25 percent more than their estimated market value.


Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, TransUnion, Parents for Megan’s Law, U.S. Fire Administration, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Wm. Robert Johnston, Federal Trade Commission, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Chmura Economics & Analytics, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Federal Highway Administration, The Road Information Program, The Pew Charitable Trusts, County Health Rankings, Numbeo, Gun Violence Archive, ATTOM Data Solutions – U.S. Natural Hazard Housing Risk Index, ATTOM Data Solutions - U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, ATTOM Data Solutions – U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Insurance Information Institute and The New York Times.

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