Which 20 state capitals do you think made the list?

With 17 state capitals being the most populated cities in their states and the FBI indicating there could be armed protests in all 50 state capitals in response to Joe Biden’s inauguration, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2021’s Best State Capitals for Safety & More.

State capitals aren’t just for lawmaking. Often, they’re thriving cities with a lot of economic and cultural value. In fact, they can be some of the best places to live in America. But not all state capitals are created equal. Though 17 of them are the largest cities in their states, the biggest population doesn’t always represent the best quality of life. Some have rampant poverty problems. For example, over 28% of the population of Harford, CT lives in poverty, compared to 10.5% of the entire United States.

Best State Capitals for Safety & More in 2021

Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul in January 2021. (Photo courtesy of Jason Nelson.)

Since state capitals are the seat of each state’s government, they can also be very hectic and politically-charged environments. For example, in the wake of the storming of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6, an internal FBI bulletin suggests that there could be armed protests in all 50 state capitals in response to Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to Adam McCann of WalletHub.

Naturally, safety is one big consideration when deciding whether to live in a state capital – from its preparedness to deal with violence to its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and other considerations like traffic fatalities.

At least 21 states are activating National Guard troops in preparation of possible attacks this week.

The FBI is warning that armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols as well on Capitol Hill after a group called for “storming” state, local and federal government courthouses and administrative buildings on Inauguration Day.

To identify the most livable seats of state government, WalletHub compared all 50 state capitals across 44 key metrics, ranging from the cost of living to K–12 school-system quality to COVID-19 cases.

Top 20 State Capitals

  1. Austin, TX
  2. Madison, WI
  3. Raleigh, NC
  4. Lincoln, NE
  5. Boise, ID
  6. Concord, NH
  7. Olympia, WA
  8. Columbus, OH
  9. Helena, MT
  10. Salt Lake City, UT
  11. Montpelier, VT
  12. Bismarck, ND
  13. Oklahoma City, OK
  14. Des Moines, IA
  15. Atlanta, GA
  16. Denver, CO
  17. Annapolis, MD
  18. Cheyenne, WY
  19. Frankfort, KY
  20. St. Paul, MN

Best vs. Worst

  • Montpelier, Vermont, has the fewest COVID-19 cases in the past week (per 100,000 residents), 1,584.04, which is 9.2 times fewer than in Bismarck, North Dakota, the city with the most at 14,590.29.
  • Montpelier, Vermont, has the lowest violent-crime rate per 1,000 residents, 1.49, which is 10.2 times lower than in Little Rock, Arkansas, the city with the highest at 15.17.
  • Austin, Texas, has the highest median household income (adjusted for cost of living), $72,081, which is 2.4 times higher than in Hartford, Connecticut, the city with the lowest at $30,614.
  • Montpelier, Vermont, has the lowest unemployment rate, 2.30 percent, which is 5.7 times lower than in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the city with the highest at 13.20 percent.
  • Montpelier, Vermont, has the highest share of adults age 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree, 61.60 percent, which is five times higher than in Trenton, New Jersey, the city with the lowest at 12.20 percent.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, click here.

Image Sources

  • St. Paul: Jason Nelson
  • St. Paul Capitol: Jason Nelson