Financial safety means more than allocating a relatively small percentage of your income toward rent and other essentials; it also means that you can afford to live a good life. In addition to the cost of living, we use several other criteria to gauge whether people can live comfortably within their financial circumstances in cities across the United States.
For example, the national poverty line estimates whether you make enough money to afford essentials, such as food and housing. People can still be employed and live below the poverty line, which is clear in the disparity between the nation’s poverty rate and unemployment rate. In 2018 — the year corresponding to the data below — the national poverty rate was 11.8%, but the unemployment rate was only 3.9%.
In addition, nearly everyone who can afford it has internet at home, but it’s one of the first “luxury” payments to be discarded when a family becomes financially strapped. Therefore, a city with a high percentage of home internet access points indicates a population that can afford to live comfortably.
Health insurance is another “luxury” that not everyone can afford to purchase, but a lack of health insurance could also put them in a financial bind if they need to go to the hospital. Therefore, a city’s residents do not experience financial safety if they do not have health insurance, regardless of their employment status.
Where do most financially safe people live in the U.S.? You may be surprised to see the same regions represented over and over again in our list of the 25 best cities for financial safety.
Best Cities for Financial Safety
1. Mount Vernon, Iowa
Mount Vernon earns its place at the top of our list thanks to having the lowest percentage of uninsured employed residents. Mount Vernon also boasts zero poverty, a low cost of living, a high rate of home internet access, and a low unemployment rate.
2. Terrell Hills, Texas
With an average household income of nearly $176,000, Terrell Hills is an affluent suburb of San Antonio. Less than 5% of homes in Terrell Hills do not have internet access, and only 1.2% of residents are unemployed. Although the cost of living in Terrell Hills is low by national standards, it’s among the highest on our list.
3. Sewickley Hills Borough, Pennsylvania
Contributing to Sewickley Hills Borough’s high ranking is its incredibly low cost of living. The average annual household income is over $150,000, but average rent remains quite low at just over $6,500 per year.
4. Third Lake Village, Illinois
Third Lake Village has one of the highest percentages of home internet access in the nation, but there’s some room for improvement in terms of the percentage of employed residents who do not have healthcare coverage.
5. Riverlea Village, Ohio
Riverlea Village — a suburb of Columbus — boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates of all the other cities on our list. More than 92% of households have internet access, and the area’s cost of living is impressively low. However, Riverlea might have ranked higher if it had a lower percentage of employed residents without health insurance.
6. Darnestown, Maryland
Even though the average rent in this area is over $20,000 per year, Darnestown has zero poverty. This city’s residents also earn the highest average annual income (over $227,000) of all the locations on our list. As a result, Darnestown has an impressively low cost of living.
7. McCausland, Iowa
McCausland — a small, rural town in eastern Iowa — does not have the best stats in any category, but ranks well across the board, securing a respectable standing on our list of the best cities for financial safety.
8. Philo Village, Illinois
Like McCausland, Philo Village earns its position through high rankings across the board despite not claiming the No.1 spot in any category. Interestingly, many of its statistics rank just a few points worse than McCausland, giving it great potential to move up the rankings in the future.
9. Leland Grove, Illinois
Every city mentioned thus far has zero poverty, which makes Leland Grove’s 1% poverty rate look relatively high, even though it’s still quite low. Leland Grove also has low unemployment and a low percentage of employed residents who do not have health insurance.
10. Kasson, Minnesota
Kasson’s percentage of uninsured employees is among the highest on our list, but still quite low when put into a national context. With no poverty and a low unemployment rate, Kasson rounds out the top 10 cities for financial safety.
11. Turin Town, Georgia
The only southeastern city on our list, Turin Town has zero poverty and an unemployment rate of less than 1%. With low average annual rent combined with a high average annual household income, Turin Town also boasts a low cost of living.
12. Colton Town, Washington
With an average annual household income of $59,423, Colton Town is the least wealthy city on our list, as well as the only one located on the west coast. However, virtually all of Colton Town’s residents are employed and no one lives below the poverty line.
13. Glen Osborne Borough, Pennsylvania
The cost of living in Glen Osborne Borough is low, with around 12% of household income going toward rent, on average. Glen Osborne also boasts a low 0.8% poverty rate and 1% unemployment rate.
14. Alta Town, Utah
Residents of Alta Town enjoy the lowest monthly rent payments on our list, but they could technically afford to pay much more thanks to an average household income of over $105,000. However, Alta Town might rank higher if it could report a higher rate of household internet access and a lower rate of unemployment.
15. Maxwell, Iowa
Everyone who calls Maxwell, Iowa, home lives above the poverty line. The majority of residents are employed, and most of those who aren’t still have health insurance. However, Maxwell has the lowest percentage of home internet access on our list.
16. Nichols Hills, Oklahoma
This affluent suburb of Oklahoma City boasts a low 0.9% poverty rate and 2% unemployment rate. Though these numbers are lower than many other cities on this list, they’re still impressively low compared to national averages.
17. Victoria, Minnesota
Victoria’s stats are quite close to Nichols Hills’, but its higher poverty rate (2.2%) ultimately ranks it lower on our list, despite having a slightly lower unemployment rate (1.5%).
18. Crystal Lake, Connecticut
Crystal Lake has the second-highest unemployment rate on our list, but it also boasts zero poverty, a relatively low cost of living and a home internet access rate of over 91%.
19. Blue Jay, Ohio
All residents of Blue Jay, Ohio, live above the poverty line and most have a job (99%) and can access the internet at home (93.6%). However, compared to the other cities on our list, its cost of living is relatively high, as is the percentage of employed residents who don’t have health insurance.
20. Roland, Iowa
Roland has a brag-worthy unemployment rate of just 0.7%. However, its poverty rate is relatively high, considering many of the other cities on our list have no poverty whatsoever. Roland’s rate of home internet access also shows room for improvement.
21. Orchard Park Village, New York
Most people in Orchard Park Village can access the internet at home, and everyone lives above the poverty line. However, this small town has relatively high rates of unemployment and employees without health insurance.
22. Centreville Town, Maryland
The vast majority of residents in Centreville Town are employed with health insurance. But this town’s poverty rate, home internet access rate and cost of living show room for improvement.
23. Hampden, Maine
Everyone in Hampden, Maine, lives above the poverty line, and most enjoy the ability to access the internet from home. However, its unemployment rate and rate of employed residents without health insurance are both above 2%.
24. Dellwood, Minnesota
Compared to all the other cities on our list, Dellwood’s unemployment rate of 3.5% is considered high. However, this St. Paul suburb earns its rank thanks to an impressively low cost of living and one of the highest rates of home internet access in the nation.
25. Crooks, South Dakota
Crooks has the second-highest percentage of home internet access on our list and the lowest unemployment rate. However, its cost of living is relatively high compared to the other cities included here, and a few residents live below the poverty line.
All of our data was gathered from the 2018 U.S. Census report. We gave each city in the nation an aggregate score based on the data shown above, and ranked all cities based on this score.
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