We narrowed down the safest cities in Pennsylvania based on the factors that matter most.
Bordering New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Ohio, Pennsylvania is the second-oldest state in the union by a mere five days (Delaware was first). Today the state is home to 12.8 million people, two big metropolitan areas in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and a wealth of history. Philadelphia, the state’s capital, was the site of the first and second continental congresses in 1774 and 1775. The second continental congress produced the Declaration of Independence, which set off the American Revolution, creating the country we know today. Meanwhile Pittsburgh has been a key industrial hub since the 1800s, known for its coal and steel industries. Today, the state offers rich cultural, economic and educational opportunities, and is known for its long athletic tradition, fielding teams in every major professional league. Which cities made our list of the safest cities in Pennsylvania? Find out below.
How We Determined the Safest Cities in Pennsylvania
We narrowed down the safest cities in each state based on two primary categories. First, we evaluated public safety factors including violent, property and hate crimes in each area to help determine the safest areas to live. We then evaluated financial and socioeconomic factors including household income, average rent and health insurance. In addition, we evaluated each state for natural disaster safety and public health safety. You can find a detailed breakdown of our methodology and links to sources here.
Here are the public safety factors we counted for each city:
*Public safety data is based on a population of 10,000 (for example, a “2” means two incidents for every 10,000 people).
- Property crime – Number of property crimes reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
- Violent crime – Number of violent crimes reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
- Aggravated assaults – Number of aggravated assaults reported in the city (FBI Crime Report)
- Hate crime – Number of hate crimes reported in the city (FBI Hate Crime Report)
- Officer-related incidents – Number of officer-involved shootings reported in the city (Gun Violence Archive)
- Mass shootings – Incidents in which four or more people are shot/killed in the city (Gun Violence Archive)
Here are the financial safety factors we counted for each city:
- Annual rent – Annualized median rent
- Unemployment rate – The average rate of unemployed residents in each city
- Cost of living – The average annual rent and household income per city
- Poverty rate – Percentage of families that reported experiencing poverty in the last 12 months
- Uninsured employed – Percentage of employed residents that reported not having health insurance
- Uninsured unemployed – Percentage of unemployed residents that reported not having health insurance
4 Safest Cities in Pennsylvania
No. 1 Horsham
Officially called Horsham Township, this is one of the oldest municipalities in Pennsylvania and is part of the greater Philadelphia metro area, just 10 miles north of downtown Philadelphia. With a low crime rate in all areas, Horsham also has a high average household income and low unemployment rate, which makes this town not only a safe place but also a great place to enjoy financial stability.
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Total Violent Crime Aggravated Assault Property Crime Hate Crime Officer Incident Mass Shootings 1.127184 (2nd) 1.502912 (1st) 71.38831 (1st) 0.375728 (7th) 0.375728 (7th) 0 (1st)
Annual Rent Household Income Unemployment Rate Poverty Uninsured Employed Uninsured Unemployed 14424 (1st) 83703 (1st) 0.031 (7th) 0.021 (8th) 0.018 (4th) 0.149 (7th)
No. 2 State College
State College is a college town that’s home to Penn State. It’s quite the distance from Philadelphia, but it has a few popular attractions including the Pennsylvania Military Museum and Penn State All-Sports Museum. Penn State’s museum celebrates the student-athletes and success of its athletic program over the years.
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Total Violent Crime Aggravated Assault Property Crime Hate Crime Officer Incident Mass Shootings 1.020738 (1st) 2.381722 (2nd) 76.2151 (2nd) 0.170123 (3rd) 0.170123 (3rd) 0.850615 (8th)
Annual Rent Household Income Unemployment Rate Poverty Uninsured Employed Uninsured Unemployed 12168 (2nd) 33244 (8th) 0.058 (4th) 0.093 (6th) 0.012 (6th) 0.196 (6th)
No. 3 North York
North York is a small community just north of the city of York in the southeast quadrant of Pennsylvania. Even for a small town, North York has low rates of property crime, violent crime, officer incidents and hate crime. Cost of living (as indicated by average annual rent vs. average household income) is slightly higher in North York than other towns on our top eight, but overall financial security in York is good.
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Total Violent Crime Aggravated Assault Property Crime Hate Crime Officer Incident Mass Shootings 2.005328 (3rd) 3.15123 (3rd) 89.23712 (3rd) 0.143238 (2nd) 0.143238 (2nd) 0 (1st)
Annual Rent Household Income Unemployment Rate Poverty Uninsured Employed Uninsured Unemployed 11052 (7th) 43269 (6th) 0.049 (6th) 0.114 (5th) 0.045 (1st) 0 (8th)
No. 4 Watsontown
Located on the east banks of the West Branch Susquehanna River, Watsontown is a small community of just under 2,500 hundred residents. Crime overall is quite low in Watsontown, with low rates of violent crime and property incidents, but a higher than average rate of hate crime per capita — due mostly to the small population of the town.
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Total Violent Crime Aggravated Assault Property Crime Hate Crime Officer Incident Mass Shootings 8.791209 (4th) 30.76923 (7th) 131.8681 (4th) 4.395604 (8th) 4.395604 (8th) 0 (1st)
Annual Rent Household Income Unemployment Rate Poverty Uninsured Employed Uninsured Unemployed 8856 (8th) 44438 (4th) 0.011 (8th) 0.062 (7th) 0.045 (1st) 0.429 (1st)
Pennsylvania State Safety
Natural Disaster Safety
Pennsylvania is 44th in the United States for risk of natural disaster, so Pennsylvanians face a comparatively low chance of dealing with disaster. This doesn’t mean there are no incidents, though. The main risks Pennsylvania residents do face are cold weather, occasional earthquakes, fires and flooding. More rarely, Pennsylvania sees thunderstorms and other extreme weather including heat. Tornadoes aren’t unheard of in the state, but they’re nowhere near as common as in states such as Kansas and Texas.
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According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pennsylvania is similar to the rest of the country when it comes to causes of death. Leading causes of death in Pennsylvania are heart disease and cancer. Drug-related deaths are common in Pennsylvania compared to other areas, and the state ranks 47th in this critical health measure. On the other hand, the state does well when it comes to access to doctors. The state has 216 primary care physicians for every 100,000 residents, which is fifth in the nation. When it comes to access to mental health care, however, state ranks 33rd, with 206 providers per 100,000 residents. Air quality is also a problem in Pennsylvania — the state ranks 47th when it comes to clean air.
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Top 8 Safest Cities in Pennsylvania