When searching for the safest states to live in or visit, there are several important factors to consider — overall crime rates, poverty levels, population size and average incomes are all things to consider. Other key things to look out for are the rate of property-based crime in the area, with burglary and motor vehicle theft in particular.
In our list of the safest states for seniors, we paid particular attention to the rates of property crime, income averages and poverty rates. The average rates of fraud were also an important consideration. Senior citizens are at a particular risk of big losses due to fraud. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network report, those aged over 70 years old are more likely to lose large amounts of money to fraud than any other age group.
Let’s take a look at the top 15 states in the U.S. for seniors in terms of crime, safety, finances and population.
Despite being the biggest state by size, Alaska has a low population of just 731,545. Alaska has an overall poverty rate of 6.9% which is lower than many states on this list. The state also has low rates of fraud and is ranked 42nd in the country (meaning only eight states rank higher). This makes it one of the safest states in that regard. It also scores well for its rates of violent and property crime.
Total Score: 89.9
As one of the largest states on this list by population, Oregon comes fourth in our list of the safest states for seniors. The state benefits from low levels of violent crime and has a low overall poverty rate of 8.1%. The state does, however, have slightly higher rates of motor vehicle theft and property crime when compared to the national averages.
Total Score: 89.5
Vermont is the least populated state on this list and is also one of the safest. This state has one of the lowest poverty rates and is also one of the safest in terms of low rates of fraud, violent crime, motor vehicle theft and property crime. In terms of motor vehicle theft and property crime, Vermont’s rates are way below the national averages. Vermont also has the lowest rate of drug-related crime on this list.
Total Score: 89.4
Nevada has low rates of drug-related crime and property crime when compared to other states on this list. However, it does have slightly higher rates of motor vehicle theft than the average. Nevada also has the second-highest number of fraud reports out of all the states in the nation and it has a higher poverty rate than many states on this list.
7. New Jersey
Total Score: 88.55
With a total of 8,882,190 residents living in the state, New Jersey has the highest population rate on this list. The state is ranked in the middle of the pack for its poverty rates. New Jersey also has lower rates of motor vehicle theft and property crime than the national averages, with just 116.4 per 100,000 motor vehicle thefts and 1,335.7 reports of property crime per 100,000 people.
Total Score: 88.15
Colorado has a large population of nearly 6 million and is ranked as 7th in the U.S. for its relatively low poverty rates and high mean income. The state has low rates of crimes such as robbery and aggravated assault. However, Colorado does have slightly higher rates of property crime and motor vehicle theft than the national average.
Total Score: 88.1
Delaware has just under a million residents and benefits from low rates of crime overall. The state boasts lower rates of motor vehicle theft and burglary than the national averages, which makes it safer for those concerned about home security. However, it’s also worth keeping in mind that Delaware does have very slightly higher property crime rates overall. Delaware has a poverty rate of 7.3% — which is fairly low when compared to other states — and a healthy income average of $92,445.
Total Score: 87.3
Kansas has a population of just under 3 million people and has an overall poverty rate of 7.2%. The state has low rates of fraud and motor vehicle theft compared to the national averages. It has nearly the same rate as the national average for burglaries and has a slightly higher rate of property crime.
Total Score: 87.2
Hawaii has a population of over 1.4 million and benefits from low rates of crime overall. The mean income is a high $106,247 and the poverty rate is currently 8.7%. In terms of crime rates, Hawaii has low rates of violent crime, drug-related crime and fraud. However, Hawaii is just over the national average for its rate of motor vehicle thefts and property crime.
12. District of Columbia
Total Score: 85.75
The District of Columbia has a small population of just 705,749 residents but a fairly high poverty rate. This is despite it having the highest mean income on this list at $135,369. Crime rates are low overall when it comes to drug crime, motor vehicle theft and burglary rates. However, D.C. experiences high rates of property, fraud and violent crime.
Total Score: 85.45
With the second-highest population on this list, Washington currently has a total of 7,614,893 residents. Overall, poverty rates are low at 7.5%, and the state benefits from low rates of violent crime. However, the state has slightly higher rates of property and motor vehicle theft than the national average. Unfortunately, the state’s residents also deal with fairly high rates of fraud.
14. Rhode Island
Total Score: 85.3
The small state of Rhode Island has a total population of just over a million residents. The state benefits from low rates of fraud and is ranked as 31st in the country, meaning it’s safer than many other states and the District of Columbia. According to the FBI’s data, Rhode Island has lower than average rates for motor vehicle theft, burglary, property crime and violent crime. For those looking for a state with low crime rates across the board, Rhode Island is a safe pick.
Total Score: 84.9
Iowa is one of the safest states in the U.S. in terms of low rates of fraud, currently ranking as 48th in the country. The state also has lower-than-average rates of motor vehicle theft, property crime and violent crime. It has slightly higher rates of burglary, at 371.1 per 100,000 residents compared to the national average of 341 in 100,000.
From the data supplied by the FBI and the FTC, the safety and crime ratings across each state can vary widely. Where some states have very low rates of property crime, there may also be high rates of poverty or low income averages to take into account.
Overall, the safest states for property crime include Vermont, Alaska, Delaware and Kansas. For low levels of drug crime, Vermont, the District of Columbia and New Jersey prevail. In terms of fraud, some of the safest states include Iowa, Hawaii, Vermont and Alaska.
The important thing to do is prioritize which statistics matter the most to you and your family. Are you looking for the safest state in terms of crime? Or are you looking for places with a high income average? A good way to protect yourself (or your older loved ones) is to invest in some home security solutions, particularly if the state you live in has high rates of property crime and burglary.
Our methodology for finding the safest states for seniors involved looking at statistics from the FBI’s latest Crime in the United States reports. These data show national averages for various crimes, plus the number recorded per state, per 100,000 residents. For fraud reports, we looked at the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network report which shows average reported fraud levels and ranks each state in terms of least safe to safest. For population and poverty rates, we looked at the latest data from Census.gov to compare each state.
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