Which are the safest states in the US?

In this article on the safest states in the US, find out how safety influences where Americans choose to live and invest. Discover where they’re going and why

Which are the safest states in the US?

Updated: April 23, 2024

The criteria for evaluating potential properties extend beyond just price and location. Safety, a prime concern for many homebuyers, often plays a crucial role in influencing purchasing decisions. Recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows a significant decrease in violent crime across the United States - an encouraging development for both homeowners and investors.

On the flip side, property crimes increased 7.1% last year, with motor vehicle theft showing the biggest increase at 10.9%. 

In this article, we'll look at the 10 safest states in the US based on US News’ 2023 Best States rankings. The report considered both violent crime and property crime rates in its rankings.

What are the 10 safest states?

1. Maine

The US News report shows that Maine is the safest state in the US in 2023, with a property crime rate of 1,156 per 100,000 residents. The state, which measures 35,380 square miles, is the largest of the six New England states.

In terms of property violent crime rate, Maine recorded 109 cases per 100,000 residents. The US News statistics show that the state ranks 28th in the Overall Best States ranking, which evaluates sectors including health care, education, roads, internet and other infrastructure, economy, and the opportunity it provides for residents.

2. New Hampshire

New Hampshire is one of the smallest states in the US and has 146 cases per 100,000 residents in terms of violent crime rate. Its property crime rate is at 1,099 per 100,000 residents.

In the US News report, New Hampshire ranks 1st in crime and corrections and ranks 6th in the overall best states ranking.

3. New Jersey

New Jersey recorded 195 violent crime cases per 100,000 residents in 2023, while its property crime rate stood at 1,158 per 100,000 residents. Overall, New Jersey is the 19th best state in the US. Its main strength lies in the education sector, ranking second in the US News report.

The state houses many information and technology companies and is also a leader in the pharmaceutical and biotechnical sectors. Johnson & Johnson is one of the pharmaceutical giants headquartered in the state.

4. Vermont

In 2023, Vermont had 173 violent crime cases per 100,000 residents, while it recorded 1,217 property crimes per 100,000 residents. Overall, the US’ largest maple syrup producer, ranks 9th in the best US states ranking.

Vermont ranks 2nd in the opportunity category, while it ranks 3rd in terms of crime and corrections.

In a 2022 study, Vermont came in third among the best states to raise a family.

5. Idaho

US News’ data shows that Idaho recorded 243 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and 1,112 property crimes per 100,000 residents, making it No. 5 in public safety. Overall, the website ranks Idaho as the third best state in the US.

The so-called Gem State has an area of 83,569 square miles, making it twice the size of the six New England states. According to US News, Idaho ranks 2nd in the economy category and 2nd in the fiscal stability category.

6. Rhode Island

Rhode Island is ranked as the 6th safest state in the US, recording 231 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and 1,245 property crimes per 100,000 residents in 2023. Overall, it is the 32nd best state in the country.

It is the smallest US state with an area of 1,545 square miles. The state’s major industries include biomedicine, defense shipbuilding and maritime products, and manufacturing.

7. Massachusetts

The US News report shows that Massachusetts is the 7th safest state in the US, recording a violent crime rate of 309 per 100,000. In terms of property crime rate, Massachusetts is at 1,053 per 100,000 students.

According to statistics, Massachusetts ranks 11th in the Overall Best States report.

Massachusetts is the 3rd best state in terms of education, health care, and natural environment. Meanwhile, it is the 4th best state in the crime and corrections category.

Currently, the education and health services sectors employ the most people in the state. Its top industries also include manufacturing, specifically computer and electronic products.

8. Virginia

Virginia is the 8th safest state in the US. Its violent crime rate is at 209 per 100,000 residents, while its property crime rate is at 1,456 per 100,000 residents.

US News ranks Virginia as the 13th best state in overall rankings and 7th in the crime and corrections category.

The state has a diversified economy, including shipbuilding on its southern shore and farming and tobacco-growing in the rural areas. Virginia also houses various technology companies in its suburban Washington corridor.

Known as the “birthplace of a nation” and “Mother of Presidents,” Virginia ranks as the 13th best state in the country, according to US News.

Virginia ranks 11th in the education category and 10th in the fiscal stability category.

9. Connecticut

The state of Connecticut recorded 182 incidents of violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2023. Meanwhile, its property crime rate stood at 1,565 per 100,000 residents last year.

Connecticut is No. 16 in the US News Overall Best States ranking.

The state ranks 5th in the health care category, 8th in the education category, and 8th in the crime and corrections category.

According to US News, the growth of digital media has significantly impacted Connecticut’s economy, with sports media giant ESPN headquartered in the state.

Connecticut’s other top industries include insurance, financial services, and advanced manufacturing. The state houses about two dozen colleges and universities, including:

  • Yale University
  • University of Connecticut
  • United States Academy
  • Fairfield University
  •  Wesleyan University

10.  Wyoming

The state of Wyoming is the 26th best state in the US Overall Best State rankings, while it is the 10th best state in terms of public safety.

In 2023, Wyoming recorded 234 violent crime incidents per 100,000 residents, while it had 1,611 property crime incidents per 100,000 residents.

The landlocked state draws millions of tourists every year as it has wondrous national parks, including Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the Devils Tower National Monument.

Wyoming’s major industries include agriculture, energy, and engineering. It is also one of the top coal producers in the US.

15 overall best states in the US

As each state has its own strengths and weaknesses, US News also evaluated various data points to determine the overall best states. It looked at categories such as education, health care, economy, and opportunity.

In US News methodology of determining the overall best states, more weight was accorded to specific categories, primarily based on what people believed were most important. The survey showed that people valued health care and education, followed by economy and the opportunities offered to citizens, then fiscal stability.

These were followed by crime and corrections and a state’s natural environment.

Below are the best states in 2023:

  1. Utah
  2. Washington
  3. Idaho
  4. Nebraska
  5. Minnesota
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Iowa
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Vermont
  10. Florida
  11. Massachusetts
  12. South Dakota
  13. Virginia
  14. North Dakota
  15. Colorado

15 safest states to buy a home in the US

Financial comparison website LendEDU published an April 2023 report ranking the safest states to buy a home in the US, based on statistics from the FBI.

To find the final safety score of the areas, LendEDU considered violent crime rates (2.33x weight) and the rate of all other crimes (1x weight). The crime numbers were then weighed by the population of the respective areas.

Crime numbers were normalized by population to account for differing sate sizes, evaluating the number of crimes per 1,000 residents.

Here are the 10 safest states to buy a home in the US, according to LendEDU:

  1. Pennsylvania
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Vermont
  4. Connecticut
  5. Rhode Island
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Maine
  8. Arizona
  9. Hawaii
  10. Indiana
  11. Minnesota
  12. Oklahoma
  13. Idaho
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Michigan

How does crime rate affect the real estate industry?

Property investors must pay attention to crime rates. Public safety is an aspect that potential homeowners look at when investing in a house.

One of the most relevant factors affecting property value is crime rate – the more crimes happen in a neighborhood, the less a property is worth.

According to a 2019 study, housing prices drop by 1.5% for every 1% increase in crime.

Real Listing Agent said in an article that high crime drives down demand, causing prices to fall. However, it noted that not all crimes have an equal impact on demand, adding that violent crimes such as burglary and assault are more likely to scare away potential buyers compared to cases like cybercrime.

Another effect of crime on properties is through insurance rates. An increase in crime rates leads to higher insurance rates, which could deter potential buyers.

While some buyers won’t be deterred by crime stats, the need to pay higher insurance could drive them away, reducing property demand.

Real Listing Agent explains that crimes can raise insurance rates because of the higher chance of someone making a claim. However, this only usually happens with neighborhood crime rates and not a specific property’s history.

Safety as deciding factor in relocation

About 24% of Americans who moved in 2022 did so for a better quality of life, according to research from real estate website, Home Bay.

Safe neighborhoods were movers’ top priority, trumping politics, which was previously an important factor in relocation.

Here are the most important factors Americans considered when they moved in 2022:

  1. safe neighborhood
  2. affordability
  3. good school district
  4. proximity to work
  5. proximity to things to do
  6. proximity to family and friends
  7. proximity to restaurants and grocery stores
  8. proximity to nature and parks
  9. weather and climate
  10. local politics

Top 3 states Americans are moving to

  1. Florida
  2. Texas
  3. North Carolina

North Carolina is also on our list of the best states to buy a house. Some factors include the pleasant climate, affordable cost of living, and the growing job market.

These states are relatively more affordable than many other states. They’re also good options for people working remotely or those who want to work in the technology industry.

Top 3 states Americans are leaving

  1. California
  2. New York
  3. Illinois

California and New York are expensive states to live in, while Illinois’ younger residents are leaving for job opportunities someplace else.

Watch this video to understand why Americans are leaving California and New York.

Despite the exodus, the New York housing market is predicted to pick up in 2024.

Data on safest states in the US for better client decisions

This article has detailed the 10 safest states in the US, emphasizing the importance of safety in real estate decisions for mortgage professionals. These states offer secure environments, good property values, and investment opportunities.

Use this data in your client consultations. This will help them make informed decisions on home purchase and property investment.

Read more: The 10 best states for property investment

Are you an agent or broker in one of the safest states in the US? What’s it like doing business there? Share your experiences with us in the comments