I think most of us believe (apparently in error) that our state must be one of the safest places in the country to live. An overall small population, (around 900,000) a perceived lower crime rate, (also apparently mistaken), rural sensibilities, an agriculturally-based economy, all may lull us into a distorted sense of security. Thank goodness WalletHub is here to snap us out of it!

WalletHub's new study on "Safest States in America" was done under the guise of giving safety information during the peak summer moving season when people are looking to relocate for work or other reasons.

For this study, they again compiled all sorts of data from sources including, but not limited to: The U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many more.

There were five key dimensions they investigated for the results they amassed:

  • Home & Community safety
  • Financial safety
  • Road safety
  • Workplace safety
  • Safety from natural disasters

Within these dimensions they considered diverse elements like:

  • Number of murders, assaults, rapes, & thefts per capita
  • Total number of law-enforcement personnel per capita
  • Percentage of population lacking health insurance coverage
  • Poverty rate
  • Number of DUIs per capita
  • Number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel - South Dakota ranked very high in this category. South Dakota Department of Public Safety figures indicate that almost 50% of all vehicle accidents in the state are caused by young (under 25) drivers who are speeding and 22% of fatalities occurred in drivers who were intoxicated.
  • Fatal Occupational injury rate - Since agriculture is a huge part of the South Dakota economy and farming is considered to be one of the most dangerous occupations, (Bureau of Labor Statistics figures from 2014 indicated a 9% increase in deaths of those in farming, fishing and forestry occupations)  it is probably needless to say South Dakota ranked high in this category.
  • Estimated property losses from natural disasters
  • Unemployment rates - South Dakota was number 3 in this category right under Nebraska (lowest) and North Dakota (second lowest).

Overall South Dakota came in 37th on the list and things could always be worse. We could be Mississippi who came in (if you'll pardon the expression) "dead last".

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