Choosing a place to live is a carefully crafted, and often difficult decision. Prospective residents take school districts, affordability and weather into consideration for a new city or state. One of the most important factors, particularly for those living alone or with young children, is how safe a certain place is. 

As news of mass shootings, climate disasters and outbreaks of war dominate headlines, safety is a priority and a privilege that many take for granted.

So what country ranks as the safest to live in? Where is the safest place in the United States to live? Discover more below.

What is the safest place to live in the world?

The safest place in the world is Iceland, which ranks number one on the 2022 Global Peace Index. Iceland, with a score of 1.107, has held this position on the GPI for over a decade.

The GPI scores countries based on level of societal safety and live, ongoing domestic and international conflict and degree of militarization. 

Iceland is the world's most gender equal country, the only country to have close 90% of its gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum's 2022 Global Gender Gap Report. It is also the third happiest country in the world, ranking just behind Finland and Denmark on the 2022 World Happiness Report. The country also has the lowest poverty rate of the countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. OECD includes 38 member countries, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Korea, France and Spain. 

The top ten most peaceful countries, according to the 2022 GPI: 

  1. Iceland
  2. New Zealand
  3. Ireland
  4. Denmark
  5. Austria
  6. Portugal
  7. Slovenia
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Singapore
  10. Japan

The United States ranks at 129th with a score of 2.44, marking the country's score "low." Just above the U.S. is Azerbaijan, and just below is Brazil. 

“Civil unrest continues to be the primary driver of the deterioration,” the GPI report says about the U.S., noting rises in the political terror and political instability categories. “However, there were also significant improvements in indicators across all three domains, with largest being in the UN peacekeeping funding indicator.” 

Seven of the top 10 countries are in Europe, making it the most peaceful region in the world. 

Ukraine suffered the largest deterioration in global peace score because of the impact of the war, which also affected worldwide peace with increased military spending and inflation. 

The least peaceful country is Afghanistan, which has ranked last in the GPI for the past five years. 

What is the safest place to live in the United States?

At the end of the day, “the safest place” is subjective. Those who grew up in small towns may think cities are dangerous, but those who were raised in large cities have a different scale of what safety means to them.

According to a report from WalletHub comparing personal, residential, financial, road and workplace safety and emergency preparedness, Vermont tops the charts as the country’s safest state. New Hampshire has the fewest fatal occupational injuries and Washington has the lowest loss from climate disasters. 

But that doesn’t mean all categories are created equally. Massachusetts has the fewest fatalities of any state, while Maine ranks for fewest assaults. 

If you’re exclusively concerned about crime rate, head to New England for the nation’s lowest reports. According to FBI data, Maine has the lowest rate of violent crime while Alaska has the highest. 

What country has the least crime?

The GPI’s “Societal Safety and Security” indicator measures crime rates, terrorist activity, violent demonstrations, relations with neighboring countries, political stability and displacement of refugees. Iceland holds the highest score in this category, followed by Norway and Japan. 

Afghanistan and Venezuela are last, rated least peaceful in the “Societal Safety and Security” category. 

“Venezuela continues to record the highest possible scores in homicide rate, violent crime and political terror,” the index reports.

Best affordable places to live in the United States  

The cheapest place to live, according to a Niche ranking, is Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fort Wayne ranked highly in low living costs compared to incomes. 

The Woodlands in Texas is the best city in America to live in. Just outside Houston, this community had high scores when it comes to employment opportunities, weather, affordability and public school quality. Second on the list is Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to Harvard University.