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America’s Safest (and Most Affordable) Places to Live

You might equate city living with high costs and high crime rates — but this isn’t always true. Some of the largest U.S. cities have low crime rates and don’t require a ton of money to live comfortably.

GOBankingRates found the safest and most affordable places to live in America by ranking the 200 biggest U.S. cities by crime rates and the cost of homes, rent, groceries, utilities and transportation. If safety and cost are among your top priorities, it’s good to find out which cities are surprisingly safe and affordable.

30. Topeka, Kansas

  • Metro area: Topeka

  • Median list price: $109,000

  • Median rent: $950

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 6.16

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 51.86

Compared to the other places on this list, Topeka has the second-lowest median list price, the fifth-lowest median rent and the cheapest transportation. But it also has the highest property crime rate, which is why it ranks low overall.

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29. Madison, Wisconsin

  • Metro area: Madison

  • Median list price: $299,900

  • Median rent: $1,552

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 3.78

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 27.8

High living expenses — including the highest average utility cost of any place on GOBankingRates’ list — prevent Madison from placing higher up in this ranking.

28. Jackson, Mississippi

  • Metro area: Jackson

  • Median list price: $116,950

  • Median rent: $799

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 8.09

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 46.37

Housing is affordable in Jackson, which has the third-lowest median list price and the second-lowest median rent of all the places in this ranking. But it has the highest violent crime rate and the second-highest property crime rate compared to the other areas.

27. Plano, Texas

  • Metro area: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington

  • Median list price: $379,900

  • Median rent: $2,013

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 1.52

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 17.60

The median list price in Plano is the third highest of all the places on this list, and its median rent is the most expensive. However, Plano’s violent crime rate is the fifth lowest, and its property crime rate is the sixth lowest.

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26. Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • Metro area: Grand Rapids-Wyoming

  • Median list price: $169,900

  • Median rent: $1,289

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 7.12

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 21.01

Grand Rapids has the fourth-highest rate of violent crime out of all the places on this list, and it also has the fourth-highest average transportation cost.

25. Naples, Florida

  • Metro area: Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island

  • Median list price: $399,700

  • Median rent: $1,701

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 1.05

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 17.72

Naples has the second-lowest rate of violent crime of any place on this list, but it has the second-highest median list price, the fifth-highest median rent and the highest average grocery cost, which prevents it from ranking higher.

24. Overland Park, Kansas

  • Metro area: Kansas City

  • Median list price: $420,000

  • Median rent: $1,801

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 2.09

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 16.99

Although Overland Park has low crime rates — including the fifth-lowest property crime rate — its median list price is the highest compared to the other places in this ranking. It also has the fourth-most expensive median rent.

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23. Amarillo, Texas

  • Metro area: Amarillo

  • Median list price: $194,000

  • Median rent: $1,123

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 7.6

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 44.04

Amarillo has the third-highest rate of violent crime of all the places on this list, but it’s affordable. Amarillo is one of the cities with the lowest average annual grocery costs.

22. Montgomery, Alabama

  • Metro area: Montgomery

  • Median list price: $134,900

  • Median rent: $850

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 6.4

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 44.11

Montgomery has the fifth-most affordable homes of all the places in this ranking, and it also has the third-most affordable rent. On the negative side, it has the fourth-highest property crime rate compared to the other areas included in this study.

21. Des Moines, Iowa

  • Metro area: Des Moines-West Des Moines

  • Median list price: $139,500

  • Median rent: $1,150

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 6.69

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 44.08

Des Moines has the fifth-highest property crime rate of the places on this list, but it’s an affordable place to live thanks to the cost of utilities, which is the lowest in this ranking.

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20. Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Metro area: Lincoln

  • Median list price: $259,500

  • Median rent: $1,313

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 5.56

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 34.01

Lincoln is among the most affordable places to live on this list, with the average annual cost of utilities at $3,541 and the average annual cost of transportation at $4,161.

19. Port St. Lucie, Florida

  • Metro area: Port St. Lucie

  • Median list price: $245,900

  • Median rent: $1,553

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 0.98

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 11.23

Port St. Lucie has the lowest violent crime rate and property crime rate of any place on this list, but its median list price, rent and average cost of groceries and transportation are among the highest.

18. Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • Metro area: Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News

  • Median list price: $309,900

  • Median rent: $1,577

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 1.39

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 19.53

You can feel safe living in Virginia Beach, which has the third-lowest violent crime rate of all the places on this list. But some living expenses are high, such as groceries, which average $4,075 annually.

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17. McKinney, Texas

  • Metro area: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington

  • Median list price: $378,707

  • Median rent: $1,869

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 1.47

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 13.33

McKinney is one of the safest places to live in the U.S., with the fourth-lowest violent crime rate and the second-lowest property crime rate on this list. But it also has the fourth-highest median home list price and the third-highest median rent.

 

16. Laredo, Texas

  • Metro area: Laredo

  • Median list price: $181,813

  • Median rent: $1,152

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 3.26

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 25.01

With an average annual cost of $4,197, Laredo has expensive groceries compared to the other places in this ranking. And, its transportation costs are the third highest, with an average annual cost of $5,421.

15. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

  • Metro area: Winston-Salem

  • Median list price: $174,900

  • Median rent: $1,066

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 6.10

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 38.06

The average annual cost of groceries in Winston-Salem is $4,075, which is the fifth highest out of all the places on this list. But it has the fourth-lowest average annual transportation cost at $4,093.

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14. Lexington, Kentucky

  • Metro area: Lexington-Fayette

  • Median list price: $249,999

  • Median rent: $1,238

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 3.57

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 38.25

The cost of living is low in Lexington, which has the fourth-lowest utility cost of any place on this list.

13. Roanoke, Virginia

  • Metro area: Roanoke

  • Median list price: $179,000

  • Median rent: $1,135

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 4.1

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 45.1

Roanoke has the third-highest property crime rate of the areas included on this list. But it’s one of the cheapest places to live, especially in terms of transportation: The average annual expenditure is $4,036, which is the third lowest of all the places in this ranking.

12. Augusta, Georgia

  • Metro area: Augusta-Richmond County

  • Median list price: $124,900

  • Median rent: $1,117

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 3.52

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 39.15

Augusta has the fourth-most affordable homes of all the places on this list, but it also has the second-most expensive utilities.

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11. Clarksville, Tennessee

  • Metro area: Clarksville

  • Median list price: $225,000

  • Median rent: $1,071

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 6.25

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 29.16

The median rent in Clarksville is among the lowest on this list, and its groceries and transportation are also among the most affordable.

10. Sioux Falls, South Dakota

  • Metro area: Sioux Falls

  • Median list price: $225,000

  • Median rent: $1,196

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 4.53

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 28.74

The average annual cost of groceries in Sioux Falls is $4,236, which is the second-highest amount of any place on this list. But its transportation is among the most affordable, with an average annual cost of $4,098.

9. Akron, Ohio

  • Metro area: Akron

  • Median list price: $69,900

  • Median rent: $754

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 6.99

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 43.18

With the lowest median list price, Akron is the most affordable place in this ranking to buy a home. It’s also the most affordable place for renters. However, it has the fifth-highest rate of violent crime.

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8. Aurora, Illinois

  • Metro area: Chicago-Naperville-Elgin

  • Median list price: $214,900

  • Median rent: $1,903

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 2.58

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 13.36

Aurora has the third-lowest property crime rate of any place on this list. High rent prices prevent Aurora from ranking higher — the area has the second-highest median rent of all the places included. It also has the fourth-most expensive groceries in this ranking.

7. Killeen, Texas

  • Metro area: Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood

  • Median list price: $150,000

  • Median rent: $958

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 7.72

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 28.7

Killeen’s median home and rent costs are among the lowest of the places in this ranking, but its violent crime rate is the second highest.

6. Lubbock, Texas

  • Metro area: Lubbock

  • Median list price: $189,900

  • Median rent: $1,153

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 5.23

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 40.16

Lubbock is tied with four other places on this list for the lowest grocery cost at an average of $3,818 annually, and it has the second-lowest average transportation cost at $3,949 annually.

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5. Boise, Idaho

  • Metro area: Boise City-Nampa

  • Median list price: $339,400

  • Median rent: $1,373

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 2.78

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 24.35

Boise has the fifth-highest median list price of all the places in this ranking, but it’s affordable in other ways, with the second-lowest utility cost.

4. Edmond, Oklahoma

  • Metro area: Oklahoma City

  • Median list price: $295,000

  • Median rent: $1,430

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 1.72

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 13.92

Edmond ranks as one of the safest cities in the U.S., with the fourth-lowest property crime rate of any place on this list. But some of its living expenses are high, including transportation, which is the fifth-most expensive of the places included.

3. Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Metro area: Fort Wayne

  • Median list price: $164,900

  • Median rent: $1,044

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 3.59

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 31.91

Fort Wayne has the third-lowest utility cost of any place on this list, with an average annual cost of $3,479.

2. El Paso, Texas

  • Metro area: El Paso

  • Median list price: $177,000

  • Median rent: $1,002

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 3.87

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 18.89

El Paso ranks highly for safety and affordability, with low crime rates and the lowest average annual grocery cost at $3,818.

1. Brownsville, Texas

  • Metro area: Brownsville-Harlingen

  • Median list price: $145,000

  • Median rent: $900

  • Violent crime rate per 1,000 people: 3.52

  • Property crime rate per 1,000 people: 29.93

Brownsville tops GOBankingRates’ list of the best places to live in the U.S. in terms of safety and affordability. Its rent is the fourth lowest of all the places included, and it has the fifth-lowest average utility cost and the lowest average grocery cost.

These Are the Safest and Most Affordable Places to Live in the US

Of the 30 safest and most affordable places to live in the U.S., eight are located in Texas, with four ranking in the top 10. Florida, Kansas and Virginia are also generally safe and affordable states, with two places from each state making the list.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined America’s safest and most affordable places to live by analyzing the 200 largest U.S. cities along the following criteria: (1) median home list price, sourced from Zillow’s February 2019 index; (2) median rent, sourced from Zillow’s February 2019 index; (3) violent crime rate (incidents per 1,000 residents), sourced from NeighborhoodScout; (4) property crime rate (incidents per 1,000 residents), sourced from NeighborhoodScout; (5) cost of groceries; (6) cost of utilities; (7) and cost of transportation, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2017 Consumer Expenditure Survey, adjusted to each city’s cost of living using Sperling’s Best Places cost-of-living indices. All data was compiled on April 1, 2019.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: America’s Safest (and Most Affordable) Places to Live