Aerial view of Carmel Indiana.

15 Safest Cities In The US

8-Minute Read
Published on March 10, 2022

Whether you’re looking for a permanent home to put down deep roots, or you’re a wanderer who likes to move around, one aspect that might factor into your decision on where to move is safety.

Since safety can be one of the most important factors in choosing a place to live, we looked at crime data across the country to find the safest cities in the U.S. They stretch from Massachusetts to Oregon, from Texas to Michigan. They’re blue-collar to affluent. Some are among the fastest-growing cities in the United States, and some are established old cities.

Let’s pause for a moment and define the vocabulary we’ll be using. Most importantly, let’s dig into the term “safety.” The idea of safety is highly subjective. For our purposes here, we’re looking at safety as the rates of violent crime (murder, nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) and property crime (burglary, larceny/theft, and motor vehicle theft) in each city. This is a narrow definition, but safety is generally only one factor you’ll consider when you’re looking to move.

This list is intended to show a quick overview of the types and amounts of crime in an area, but it’s not a complete depiction of a city’s character, since so many factors affect a crime rate.

As we continue, we’ll first look at the United States’ data, and then we’ll go over at the 15 safest cities. Then we’ll look at the methods and resources we used to calculate this list. Finally, we’ll dig into some of the other factors you’ll want to consider before choosing a place to live.

How Safe Is The United States?

Before we dive into individual cities, let’s peek at the United States data overall to get a sense of nation-wide averages. Good news – crime has been trending downward in the United States. Note that crime rates are per 100,000 people.

  • Population: 331,449,281
  • Unemployment rate: 4% as of January 2022
  • Average income: $65,712
  • Violent crime rate: 366.7
  • Property crime rate: 2,109.9

Now, on to the 15 safest cities!

1. Joliet, Illinois

Joliet, Illinois, is located 30 miles southwest of Chicago. As of 2020, it was the third-largest city in Illinois. It stretches across both the Des Plaines and DuBarge rivers and has a thriving downtown area, including the Rialto Square Theatre, which has been called one of the 10 most beautiful theaters in the United States. Currently, the average home selling price over the past 12 months is $239,871. Fun fact: the first Dairy Queen opened in Joliet in 1940!

  • Population: 150,362
  • Unemployment rate: 4.8% as of November 2021
  • Average income: $70,509
  • Violent crime rate: 82
  • Property crime rate: 123
  • Median home value: $181,100

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2. Carmel, Indiana

Carmel, Indiana, is located just north of Indianapolis, and its proximity to Indianapolis makes it an attractive place to live. Carmel is home to many walking and biking trails, a thriving, renowned arts scene and a winery. Homes here have sold over the past 12 months for an average of $443,555. Fun fact: one of the first automated traffic lights was installed here in 1924.

  • Population: 99,757
  • Unemployment rate: 2.8% as of September 2021
  • Average income: $112,765
  • Violent crime rate: 32
  • Property crime rate: 489
  • Median home value: $333,200

3. Meridian, Idaho

Meridian, Idaho, is the second-largest city in Idaho after Boise. It’s considered one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Meridian has a vibrant downtown with restaurants, cafes and patios, with lots of entertainment, including the Meridian Speedway. Over the past 12 months, Meridian homes have been listed for an average price of $374,999. Fun fact: Meridian got its name because it lands on one of the 35 main meridians that divide the United States.

  • Population: 117,635
  • Unemployment rate: 4.1% as of August 2020
  • Average income: $71,389
  • Violent crime rate: 164
  • Property crime rate: 598
  • Median home value: $294,900

4. League City, Texas

League City, Texas, is part of the greater Houston metropolitan area, making it easy to access the world-class museums of Houston. League City itself is near Galveston Island and the Gulf of Mexico, making it a waterfront destination. Homes here have been selling for an average of $327,720 over the past 12 months. Fun fact: League City is home to one of the largest urban wilderness preserves in the United States.

  • Population: 114,392
  • Unemployment rate: 6.4% as of May 2021
  • Average income: $109,073
  • Violent crime rate: 67
  • Property crime rate: 873
  • Median home value: $245,100

5. Sterling Heights, Michigan

Sterling Heights, Michigan, is Detroit’s second-largest suburb and the fourth-largest city in Michigan. Its location just 6 miles outside Detroit makes it convenient for accessing all the art, food and museums Detroit has to offer. Sterling Heights itself is home to excellent restaurants, bars and parks. Homes in Sterling Heights have sold for an average of $258,233 over the past 12 months. Fun fact: Sterling Heights was once an agricultural area known for growing rhubarb.

  • Population: 134,346
  • Unemployment rate: 4.1% as of May 2021
  • Average income: $64,833
  • Violent crime rate: 170
  • Property crime rate: 828
  • Median home value: $187,600

6. Kenosha, Wisconsin

Located in a sweet spot between Milwaukee and Chicago, Kenosha, Wisconsin, sits on the shore of Lake Michigan and has two lighthouses to mark it as a thriving harbor town. It’s the fourth-largest city in Wisconsin. Kenosha is known for its outdoor activities, including water sports, hiking and skiing. In February 2022, homes sold for the median price of $195,000. Fun fact: Since 2017, Kenosha has hosted a three-day music festival devoted to tribute bands.

  • Population: 99,986
  • Unemployment rate: 5.8% as of May 2021
  • Average income: $55,417
  • Violent crime rate: 265
  • Property crime rate: 791
  • Median home value: $152,500

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7. Clinton Township, Michigan

Clinton Township, Michigan, is a northern suburb of Detroit and is the state’s highest-populated township. It’s located on the Clinton River, and houses many restaurants, breweries and a chocolate factory. Homes here sold for a median price of $200,000 over the past 12 months. Fun fact: Clinton Township is located north of Canada!

  • Population: 100,513
  • Unemployment rate: 5% as of May 2021
  • Average income: $56,796
  • Violent crime rate: 289
  • Property crime rate: 887
  • Median home value: $158,200

8. Sugar Land, Texas

Like League City, Sugar Land, Texas, is a suburb of Houston. It’s one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas. Sugar Land offers state parks, renowned museums and an observatory. $381,827 is the median home selling price over the past 12 months. Fun fact: in the mid-2000s, Sugar Land was named the "Fittest City in Texas."

  • Population: 111,026
  • Unemployment rate: 6.6% as of May 2021
  • Average income: $121,274
  • Violent crime rate: 57
  • Property crime rate: 1,071
  • Median home value: $323,300

9. Nampa, Idaho

Nampa, Idaho, is part of the Boise metro area, and is the third-most populous city in Idaho. Nampa is home to 24 parks for lots of outdoor activities. It also boasts a city-owned entertainment complex for shows and sports. Homes here listed for a median price of $266,363 over the past 12 months. Fun fact: Nampa hosts one of the nation’s top rodeos each July.

  • Population: 100,200
  • Unemployment rate: 3% as of July 2021
  • Average income: $48,846
  • Violent crime rate: 57
  • Property crime rate: 1,071
  • Median home value: $167,200

10. Bend, Oregon

The furthest city west on this list, Bend, Oregon, is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Oregon. It’s situated on the Deschutes River, making it the perfect location for outdoor recreation. Tourism and outdoor activities are huge in Bend; it has numerous restaurants and shops in addition to all the sports and recreation offerings. The median list price of homes was a whopping $879,900 in February 2022. Fun fact: Bend is the home of the last remaining Blockbuster Video store.

  • Population: 99,178
  • Unemployment rate: 4.7% as of July 2021
  • Average income: $65,662
  • Violent crime rate: 128
  • Property crime rate: 1,132
  • Median home value: $384,800

11. Sandy Springs, Georgia

Sandy Springs, Georgia, is the seventh-largest city in the state. It’s an inner ring suburb of Atlanta with more than 950 acres of parks and greenways. Its proximity to Atlanta also means it’s got a robust public transportation system, and allows access to all the museums and offerings Atlanta has. The median sold price of homes was $504,000 over the past 12 months. Fun fact: Sandy Springs hosts a 6-mile float along the Chattahoochee River each July, complete with live music, food and activities.

  • Population: 108,080
  • Unemployment rate: 3.2% as of July 2021
  • Average income: $78,613
  • Violent crime rate: 157
  • Property crime rate: 1,160
  • Median home value: $471,800

12. Cary, North Carolina

Cary, North Carolina, is part of the Raleigh metro area. It’s the seventh-largest municipality in North Carolina. Cary is home to a thriving restaurant scene, plus loads of outdoor activities and amenities. Over the past 12 months, the median selling price of Cary homes was $472,166. Fun fact: Cary boasts a 24-acre tennis park that’s rated as one of the top tennis facilities in the country.

  • Population: 174,721
  • Unemployment rate: 3.9% as of July 2021
  • Average income: $104,669
  • Violent crime rate: 90
  • Property crime rate: 1,240
  • Median home value: $356,400

13. Lowell, Massachusetts

The easternmost city on our list, Lowell, Massachusetts is part of the Boston metropolitan area, and has the fifth-largest population in Massachusetts. It’s home to several university campuses, many restaurants, art venues and sports. Homes here sold for a median price of $393,625 over the past 12 months. Fun fact: Lowell currently has 39 sites on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Population: 115,554
  • Unemployment rate: 4.9% as of September 2021
  • Average income: $56,878
  • Violent crime rate: 282
  • Property crime rate: 1,083
  • Median home value: $269,800

14. Pearland, Texas

Pearland, Texas, is a suburb of Houston and is the second-fastest growing city in Texas. It offers many green spaces, outdoor activity venues, and a thriving restaurant scene. $324,884 is the median sold price of homes in Pearland over the past 12 months. Fun fact: Each year, a large grassroots health fair called “Wobble Before You Gobble” is held in Pearland.

  • Population: 125,828
  • Unemployment rate: 3.4% as of December 2021
  • Average income: $104,504
  • Violent crime rate: 282
  • Property crime rate: 1,083
  • Median home value: $244,800

15. Ann Arbor, Michigan

Ann Arbor is located about 40 miles from Detroit and is the fifth-largest city in Michigan. Ann Arbor has a hopping nightlife, excellent restaurants, and world-class arts and culture venues. Even though it’s just outside the Motor City, Ann Arbor is walkable and bikeable. Homes here sold for a median price of $384,822 over the past 12 months. Fun fact: Ann Arbor has been home to the University of Michigan since 1837.

  • Population: 123,851
  • Unemployment rate: 4.6% as of September 2021
  • Average income: $65,745
  • Violent crime rate: 249
  • Property crime rate: 1,178
  • Median home value: $323,400

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How We Got Here

We looked at data from several different sources and analyzed it to come up with the top 15 safest cities. Again, this is a subjective term, and so many factors go into safety, but here’s how we calculated it.

For crime data, we pulled from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program’s 2019 “Crime in the United States” report – the most recent one available. Note that participation in this report’s data collection is voluntary on the part of law enforcement, so it’s not necessarily a complete picture, but is generally representative.

First, we looked at each city’s rate of violent crime and property crime. We found the cities with the lowest rate in each category, and then found the average of the two categories to rank the cities numerically by average crime rate.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s report was also a valuable source. We pulled the population data from April 2020, the most recent census data available. We also found the median household income and median home value in 2019 dollars, calculated from census results from 2015-2019, the most recent data available. Unemployment rates are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and each individual rate is notated with the date it was pulled.

Home listing and sold prices were pulled from Rocket HomesSM, and again, notated with the date from which each was calculated.

As you can see, it’s a complicated calculation, and this list serves as a starting point as you consider where you might like to relocate.

Buying A House In The Safest Places In America

If you’re interested in buying a house in one of the safest cities in the U.S., start by looking at your budget, the average home price in your preferred area, the amenities offered and your job opportunities. Once you’ve found a good fit, contact a real estate agent to help you find a home that works for you.

There are many important things you’ll want to consider before buying a house in one of the safest cities in the U.S. Safety is just one factor that goes into a complete lifestyle! Let’s look at other considerations you’ll want to consider as you go through this decision process:

  • The cost of living (COL) is a big factor. Cost of living includes the money you’ll need for basic expenses like housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care, and other goods and services. Your wages will stretch further in some regions than others. Moving to a high COL area might mean you need to increase your wages to live comfortably, while moving to a lower COL area might mean your lifestyle becomes more comfortable automatically. Your budget will be affected on either end of the spectrum.
  • The average cost of homes is an essential factor as well. These costs vary even between neighborhoods, so it’s essential to do your research so you’ll know what it takes to buy the ideal home for you and your situation. You’ll get more house for your money in certain areas (it all goes back to cost of living!) Keeping an eye on housing trends in your preferred area will also give you a good picture of what to expect for your bucks.
  • The quality of the schools in the area is important, even if you don’t have children who’ll be using them. Well-rated school systems boost property values and can make selling your home easier and more fruitful.
  • Any children in your life might affect your decision. In addition to school options, look at kid amenities, whether that’s playgrounds, sports teams or the perfect gymnastics studio for your future Olympian. Are your prospective locations walkable and kid-friendly? These also might factor in for furry friends, too!
  • The types of activities available in the city might be important to you, especially if you enjoy partaking in a variety of them. Are you outdoorsy? Enjoy sports? Want to eat your way through every restaurant? Help make your decision to move easier by looking into these kinds of things to make your life more robust.
  • Average commute times can make or break your choice of where to live. If you work outside the home, making sure your commute is manageable can be a key factor whether a place is livable or not. You might find the perfect place, but a 3-hour daily commute may render it difficult. Something to consider is how long it takes to get to your local airport, downtown, etc.
  • Availability of public transportation may be a key part of your decision as well, along with other transportation-related options such as bike paths or greenways. If you don’t own or use a car, these might be weighted even more.
  • Look at the amenities around town, too. Are you able to shop around for a doctor or specialist? Are there good mechanics? Is there a variety of grocery stores that will accommodate your preferences? Do you have acting dreams that can be realized with a robust community theater system?

These facets and more should go into your decision, rather than just focusing on safety ratings. Whether you’re looking for the best place to raise a family, or living a solo life, taking a holistic approach to choosing a new home in a new city increases the chances that you’ll find the perfect fit!

The Bottom Line

Living in one of the safest cities in the United States isn’t a guarantee of your safety, but it can definitely help reduce your risk of becoming a victim of crime. By making it one of the factors you use in making your decision, you can help find the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

If you’re not satisfied with your current hometown’s safety ratings, you may consider moving to a new, safer city in America. Speak with a Home Loan Expert who can help you on your home-buying journey!

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Michelle Giorlando

Michelle Giorlando is a freelance writer who lives in metro Detroit. When she's not writing about homeownership, finances, and mortgages, she enjoys performing improv, gardening, and befriending the wildlife in her yard.