The 50 Safest Cities to Raise a Child in 2019 | SafeWise

Written by | Updated August 15, 2019

As parents, there’s nothing more important than keeping our children safe. From crime levels to quality schools, living in a community that shares your priorities is important. The good news is that no matter where you live in America, your children probably enjoy lower crime levels than you did growing up. Statistics from the FBI show that violent crime in the United States has fallen 49% since 1993, and property crime has also decreased 50% during the same period.1

But what makes a community safe is about more than the prevalence of crime. As we dug deep into the data to find the safest cities to raise children, we also considered factors like graduation rates and the number of sex offenders per capita. Information like this can tell us not only about threats within the community but also how well-positioned these cities are to help kids thrive.

graphic showing five states with the most safe cities for kids

Key Findings from Our Research

As you consider which city and which state might be the safest place to raise your child, it’s worthwhile to note trends across the data. 

  • This year’s list of the safest cities to raise a child represent 50 cities from 18 states. 
  • Cities that made our list hail from every region, but 22% were from western states. 
  • California topped our list with 14 of the safest cities to raise a child, followed by Texas with seven cities.
  • While cities in rural states with smaller populations tend to have less crime, they also tend to have lower graduation rates.
  • The top five safest cities to raise a child also have some of the highest median incomes on our list.
  • Only three cities on our list fell below the average median income in the United States: Lakewood, New Jersey; Port St. Lucie, Florida; and Cape Coral, Florida.2
  • Three of the safest cities to raise kids also made our 2019 list of the safest college towns in the United States: Irvine, California; Naperville, Illinois; and Thousand Oaks, California.
  • 84% of the cities represented on this year’s report are new.
violent crime national average graphic
property crime national average graphic

The Top 25 Safest Cities to Raise Children

We explore the top safest cities to raise a child below, detailing each city’s overall safety score, median income, crime rate, graduation rates, and number of sex offenders. You’ll also learn more about what makes each city attractive to families and what these communities have done to address crime. If you don’t see your city in the top 25, check out the table at the bottom to see the rest of the communities that made the cut.

1

Carmel, Indiana

3

Safety Score 97.13
Graduation Rate 97.9%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 1.30
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.18
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 7.47

Image source: Facebook @CityofCarmel

This award-winning Indiana community might be getting used to the spotlight, but its commitment to safety and families hasn’t wavered. A suburb of Indianapolis, Carmel has won safest cities titles from various organizations, including SafeWise, over the past decade. The city sports a fantastic parks and recreation department and a stellar high school that often lands on best schools of Indiana lists.

Population93,098

Median Income$109,201

2

Newton, Massachusetts

28

newton, massachusetts
Safety Score 97.10
Graduation Rate 97.2%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 0.30
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.55
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 6.42

Image source: Facebook @CityofNewtonMA

On the outskirts of Boston lies the quiet safety of Newton’s villages, a New England term that refers to a collection of neighborhoods. Newton can be reached by rail from Beantown, making it a perfect choice for families who need to work in the city but prefer to leave the bustle behind at the end of the day. The city is also tucked between Brookline and Wellesley, two of the safest college towns in the nation.

Population: 89,736

Median Income: $133,853

3

Johns Creek, Georgia

41

johns creek, georgia
Safety Score 97.07
Graduation Rate 96.0%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 0.40
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.29
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 6.77

Image source: Facebook @JohnsCreekGAgov

This city’s safe streets are just a hop, skip, and a jump from Atlanta, where Johns Creek lies nestled along the Chattahoochee River. In 2017, the city council launched an iHeart resolution aimed at improving health and wellness across the community. You’ll find the city website full of offerings for kid’s recreational sports, outdoor yoga, and more.

Population85,048

Median Income$113,609

4

Fishers, Indiana

2

fishers, indiana
Safety Score 95.46
Graduation Rate 97.5%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 3.00
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.47
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 9.26

Image source: Facebook @fishers.indiana

Fishers, close by the number one city to raise a child, is the second suburb of Indianapolis to make our list. Fishers has reeled in its share of accolades and provides families with plenty of fun from art crawls and summer concerts to farmers’ markets. Fishers’s downtown area, dubbed the Nickel Plate District, is a historic center developed specifically to be family-friendly and encourage a walkable community.

Population92,367

Median Income$101,469

5

Flower Mound, Texas

New

flower mound, texas
Safety Score 95.40
Graduation Rate 96.9%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 2.30
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.59
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 9.24

Image source:Facebook @FlowerMound

Clustered along the banks of Grapevine Lake, Flower Mound is often recognized as one of the safest cities in Texas. Located north of Fort Worth and Dallas, this city has invested in an extensive trail system and community health center. Flower Mound also has a youth action council that advises town officials on programs and education initiatives.

Population75,101

Median Income$128,426

6

Plymouth, Minnesota

New

plymouth, mn
Safety Score 94.76
Graduation Rate 97.4%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 0.40
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.80
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 12.30

Image source: Facebook @plymouthmn

A suburb of the twin cities, Plymouth is the seventh-largest city in Minnesota. Excellent schools, a commitment to open spaces, and a young community of professionals all make Plymouth’s neighborhoods attractive to families.

Population: 78,356

Median Income: $91,867

7

San Ramon, California

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san ramon, california
Safety Score 94.40
Graduation Rate 97.0%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 1.00
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.73
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 12.76

Image source:Facebook @citysanramon

East of San Francisco is the bustling hub of San Ramon, home to the corporate headquarters of Chevron. San Ramon also boasts the largest median income of any city on our list. These deep pockets mean San Ramon’s school district is one of the best in the state, and several schools have earned the coveted national blue ribbon more than 50 times in the last decade.

Population78,356

Median Income: $91,867

8

Hoover, Alabama

New

hoover, alabama
Safety Score 94.34
Graduation Rate 96.0%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 0.90
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.96
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 11.42

Image source: Facebook @CityofHoover

Located just outside of Birmingham, this Alabama suburb sits along the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Hoover offers the best of both worlds for families with one of the largest shopping centers in the southeastern United States as well as natural areas like Moss Rock Preserve and Aldridge Botanical Gardens.

*Hoover experienced a tragic shooting in November 2018 and two recent incidents of gun violence at the Riverchase Galleria. Our research is based on the most recent FBI data (2017), so it does not account for these shootings.

Population: 85,634

Median Income$81,038

9

Naperville, Illinois

33

Safety Score 94.25
Graduation Rate 97.0%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 1.90
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.92
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 11.60

Image source: Facebook @NapervilleIL

Just west of Chicago is Naperville, a diverse city that boasts one of the best public library systems in the country. Supported by a network of parks and beaches, a Naperville Riverwalk, and a children’s museum, this suburb is anything but sleepy.

Population: 147,934

Median Income: $114,014

10

Irvine, California

2

irvine, california
Safety Score 94.24
Graduation Rate 96.0%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 1.00
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.61
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 13.16

Image source: Facebook @IrvineCityNews

Sunny California makes its second appearance on this list with the planned city of Irvine in Orange County. Irvine is a bike-friendly community with a vast network of parks and recreational opportunities. This community places a special emphasis on outreach and support of families and comes in at number 11 on our list of safest college towns in America.

Population: 276,115

Median Income: $95,573

11

Mission Viejo, California

New

Safety Score 93.40
Graduation Rate 94.4%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 3.80
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.04
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 10.00

Image source: Facebook @MIssionViejoLife

This hip California community is also located in Orange County and has its own app, MV Life. Mission Viejo is another planned city that earns high marks from the National Arbor Day Foundation for its tree-lined streets. Youth sports flourish in this city, supported by the enormous Mission Viejo Youth Athletic Park.

Population: 96,928

Median Income: $107,988

12

Gilbert, Arizona

4

Gilbert, Arizona
Safety Score 93.30
Graduation Rate 95.9%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 2.00
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.86
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 13.86

Image source: Facebook @GilbertTownHall

Formerly an agricultural town, Gilbert has blossomed into a thriving suburb just southeast of Phoenix. Even as one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the country, Gilbert still has time to put families first. The city is marking its one-hundredth birthday next year with an initiative to make Gilbert a city of the future.

Population: 242,090

Median Income:$87,566

13

Lake Forest, California

New

Lake Forest, california
Safety Score 92.75
Graduation Rate 92.1%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 2.80
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.58
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 8.99

Image source: Facebook @lakeforestca

Often lauded for its beaches, Lake Forest has an excellent quality of life even when you’re not catching waves. The lakes that give the city its name are man-made as is the forest, a natural grove of eucalyptus trees planted in the early 1900s. The community credits recent decreases in property crime to participation in the “Don’t Make It Easy” program.

Population: 84,224

Median Income: $96,963

14

Frisco, Texas

New

frisco, texas
Safety Score 92.66
Graduation Rate 95.8%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 2.10
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.02
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 14.88

Image source: Facebook @CityofFriscoTX

Our second Texas city to make the list has earned its share of kudos as the ultimate sports destination, but the city does something extra for kids and families. A city-funded early childhood school gives at-risk preschoolers a jumpstart, and more than 90 miles of well-maintained trails encouraged The League of American Bicyclists to name Frisco a Bicycle Friendly Community.

Population: 172,804

Median Income: $120,701

15

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina

New

mount pleasant, south carolina
Safety Score 92.34
Graduation Rate 97.9%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 0.20
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.89
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 15.27

Image source: Facebook @tompsc

Mount Pleasant has the distinction of being the only South Carolina city to make our list of the safest places to raise a child. Its nationally recognized police department participates in CALEA, a gold-standard for policing that involves problem-solving and community outreach. Mount Pleasant schools also enjoy some of the highest graduation rates on our list.

Population: 87,216

Median Income: $90,454

16

Allen, Texas

New

allen, texas
Safety Score 92.28
Graduation Rate 95.3%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 5.60
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.98
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 12.46

Image source: Facebook @CityofAllen

This Texas city is no stranger to awards, but Allen likes to put its commitment to safety and families front and center. Allen’s police department is recognized by the Texas Law Enforcement Best Practices Program, and the city provides a robust menu of parks, camps, and volunteer opportunities to keep Allen beautiful.

Population: 101,779

Median Income$140,132

17

Thousand Oaks, California

New

Safety Score 92.05
Graduation Rate 93.5%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 2.90
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.33
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 13.05

Image source: Facebook @ThousandOaksLibrary

Thousand Oaks is named after the abundance of oak trees in the area, and its proximity to Los Angeles means the median income is one of the highest on our list. This Ventura County city has a fantastic library system and a commitment to open spaces and the arts. 

*Thousand Oaks experienced a tragic shooting in November 2018. Our research is based on the most recent FBI data (2017), so it does not account for the shooting.

Population: 129,240

Median Income: $130,793

18

League City, Texas

New

Safety Score 92.0
Graduation Rate 95.6%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 2.90
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.92
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 16.31

Image source: Facebook @leaguecitytexas

League City sits on the outskirts of Houston and is home to several waterfront parks. Naturally, fishing and watersports are popular pastimes in this Texas city, but the award-winning police and fire department also pitch in to make League City a premier location for raising a family.

Population: 105,351

Median Income: $100,996

19

Troy, Michigan

New

Safety Score 91.81
Graduation Rate 94.8%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 5.40
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.65
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 15.16

Image source: Facebook @TroyMI

Often referred to as the heart of Detroit’s suburbs, Troy has a bustling business and shopping district. The city also has a popular community sports program and is home to one of the campuses for the International Academy, a public magnet school consistently rated as one of the top high schools in the United States.

Population84,086

Median Income$93,017

20

Murrieta, California

New

murietta, california
Safety Score 91.77
Graduation Rate 91.7%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 4.20
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.71
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 14.0

Image source: Facebook @murrietacsd

Murrieta is one of the fastest-growing cities in the golden state, and it’s easy to see why. Often referred to as a commuter town, it serves as a prime location for commuting to both Los Angeles and San Diego. Murrieta has also branded itself as a safe, family-focused basecamp for Southern California adventures.

Population113,016

Median Income$80,373

21

Sugar Land, Texas

New

sugarland, texas
Safety Score 91.77
Graduation Rate 93.5%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 4.80
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.79
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 14.36

Image source: Facebook @SugarLandTXgov

Home to the headquarters of Imperial Sugar, Sugar Land earns its moniker by stepping up to offer some pretty sweet benefits for families, including a cultural arts program. This planned community earned a certificate of distinction from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) for data-driven management and community transparency.

Population: 89,790

Median Income: $108,994

22

Farmington Hills, Michigan

New

farmington hills, michigan
Safety Score 91.63
Graduation Rate 95.2%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 8.10
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.14
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 11.25

Image source: Facebook @CityofFarmington Hills, Michigan

With one of the lower median incomes on our list, Farmington Hills still makes every dollar count. This Detroit suburb credits its low levels of crime and superior safety record to community and police partnerships. Farmington Hills has a high-risk response team staffed with police, public safety officials, school leadership, and medical advisors that seek to avoid crises before they happen.

Population81,359

Median Income$76,637

23

Woodbridge, New Jersey

New

Safety Score 91.61
Graduation Rate 90.4%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 0.60
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.02
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 15.74

Image source: Facebook @WoodbridgeCommunityCenter

This township sits just across the way from Staten Island, at the convenient intersection between the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. But these busy thoroughfares don’t detract from Woodbridge Township’s efforts to be a green, sustainable community. It also has an exceptionally low number of sex offenders.

Population: 102,129

Median Income: $83,266

24

Folsom, California

New

folsom, california
Safety Score 91.28
Graduation Rate 92.4%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 4.00
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 0.82
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 15.73

Image source: Facebook @CityofFolsom

With a zoo sanctuary, an aquatic center, and miles and miles of parks and trails, Folsom is a California community that likes to stay active. Despite its past notoriety in a Johnny Cash song about prison blues, Folsom enjoys some of the lowest crime rates in California.

Population78,155

Median Income$106,718

25

Santa Carita, California

New

santa clarita, california
Safety Score 91.12
Graduation Rate 90.3%
Sex Offender Rate (per 10,000) 0.90
Violent Crime Rate (per 1,000) 1.63
Property Crime Rate (per 1,000) 14.24

Image source: Facebook @VisitSantaClarita

Santa Clarita is proud of its extensive recreational opportunities, including 34 parks sprinkled throughout the city and over 3,000 acres of open space. Close enough to act as a “gateway to Los Angeles,” Santa Clarita public schools routinely rank in the top 10% among California school systems.

Population216,350

Median Income$108,609

Complete Rankings: 50 Safest Cities to Raise Children

RankCityStatePopulationMedian IncomeSafety Score
1CarmelIndiana93,098$109,201 97.13
2NewtonMassachusetts89,736$133,853 97.10
3Johns CreekGeorgia85,048$113,609 97.07
4FishersIndiana92,367$101,469 95.46
5Flower MoundTexas75,101$128,426 95.40
6PlymouthMinnesota78,356$91,867 94.76
7San RamonCalifornia76,325$142,718 94.40
8HooverAlabama85,634$81,038 94.34
9NapervilleIllinois147,934$114,014 94.25
10IrvineCalifornia276,115$95,573 94.24
11Mission ViejoCalifornia96,928$107,988 93.40
12GilbertArizona242,090$87,566 93.30
13Lake ForestCalifornia84,224$96,963 92.75
14FriscoTexas172,804$120,701 92.66
15Mount PleasantSouth Carolina87,216$90,454 92.34
16AllenTexas101,779$140,132 92.28
17Thousand OaksCalifornia129,240$130,793 92.05
18League CityTexas105,351$100,996 92.00
19TroyMichigan84,086$93,017 91.81
20MurrietaCalifornia113,016$80,373 91.77
21Sugar LandTexas89,790$108,994 91.77
22Farmington HillsMichigan81,359$76,637 91.63
23WoodbridgeNew Jersey102,129$83,266 91.61
24FolsomCalifornia78,155$106,718 91.28
25Santa ClaritaCalifornia216,350$108,609 91.12
26O'FallonMissouri87,388$84,580 91.05
27Chino HillsCalifornia79,480$102,746 91.04
28LakewoodNew Jersey102,759$45,321 90.98
29McKinneyTexas179,934$87,608 90.87
30PleasantonCalifornia84,440$138,269 90.81
31EdmondOklahoma92,876$76,008 90.63
32FranklinTennessee76,995$92,589 90.60
33RoswellGeorgia95,602$87,911 90.60
34SomervilleMassachusetts82,326$84,722 90.29
35SurpriseArizona135,345$62,927 90.22
36Sandy SpringsGeorgia107,740$70,920 90.19
37KirklandWashington88,898$140,319 90.12
38NashuaNew Hampshire88,102$70,316 90.00
39PlanoTexas290,413$88,578 89.98
40BeavertonOregon98,897$64,619 89.82
41Port St. LucieFlorida188,652$54,046 89.78
42ScottsdaleArizona251,840$80,306 89.57
43BendOregon93,786$60,563 89.50
44RochesterMinnesota115,228$68,574 89.50
45Cape CoralFlorida184,346$53,653 89.42
46Toms RiverNew Jersey92,543$76,051 89.42
47SunnyvaleCalifornia154,919$118,314 89.37
48Newport BeachCalifornia86,910$119,379 89.36
49CarlsbadCalifornia115,344$102,722 89.34
50GlendaleCalifornia202,381$58,657 89.31

Tips and Resources to Help Keep Your Kids Safe

Living in a safe community is a good place to start when you’re raising little ones, but equally important is your role as a parent. Taking a few of the following basic steps can ensure better safety for your child both at home and in the community. Here are some tips and resources to help your kiddos stay safe.

 

  1. Teach your child their home address and phone number.
  2. Practice crossing the street safely.
  3. Make sure they understand never to go with a stranger.
  4. Monitor your child’s online activity.
  5. Teach them who to trust if they’re lost or scared.
  6. Encourage bodily autonomy and boundaries.
  7. Practice water safety.
  8. Establish and practice a family escape plan.
  9. Teach them not to approach strange animals.
  10. Let your child trust their instincts.

 

How We Ranked the Safest Cities to Raise a Child

We compiled the safest cities to raise a child by analyzing the most recent FBI violent and property crime report statistics. Cities were ranked according to the number of violent crimes (including aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). By considering crime data alongside sex offenders per capita and graduation rates per capita, we were able to calculate our final safety score. 

Violent crime, property crime, and sex offenders per capita were each weighted as 30% of a city’s score. High school graduation rates made up 10% of the score. Scores were then standardized to calculate our rankings for the safest cities to raise a child.

Cities were excluded from this list if they fell below the population threshold of 75,000 or didn’t submit a complete crime report to the FBI. To level the playing field, violent and property crime rates were calculated per 1,000 people in each city.

How to Make a Safe Home Anywhere

Wherever you live, feeling safe in your home can bring greater peace of mind and happiness. Whether your city made our list or not, we recommend adding extra security to your home with monitored security services provided by the nation’s leading home security providers.

To learn more about the home security options available to you, check out SafeWise’s picks for  Best Home Security Systems of 2019.

Sources

  1. FBI, Uniform Crime Reporting Publications, “Crime in the United States”; Pew Research Center, Fact Tank News in the Numbers, “5 Facts about Crime in the US
  2. United States Census Bureau, American Fact Finder, Community Facts, Income “Median Household Income

Written by Kaz Weida

When she's not chasing two little ones around the house, Kaz spends her time reviewing products to keep your family safe. Learn more

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  • peachy029

    This article is a joke! I can tell you Port Saint Lucie aka Port St. Lousy is a horrible place to raise kids! Kids getting hit my car because there are hardly any sidewalks. The school system is in the news a lot for some type of abuse on children! Need to re-evaluate your list again!!!