Report: Best and Worst State Capitals to Live In (2022)

Austin, Texas, landed at the top of WalletHub’s Best State Capitals for their Public Safety and More report. (@techiemamma/pixabay)

MOBILE, Ala., Jan. 17, 2022 — State capitals aren’t just for lawmaking. They can also be some of the best places to live in America.

But that depends on the capital.

17 cities are the largest in their states, but the biggest population doesn’t always represent the best quality of life, according to personal-finance website WalletHub, which released a report on 2022’s Best State Capitals for Safety & More.

To find the most livable seats of state government, WalletHub compared all 50 cities across 49 metrics, ranging from the cost of living to safety.  

Ranking the State Capitals

Source: WalletHub
Top 20 State Capitals
1. Austin, TX11. Des Moines, IA
2. Raleigh, NC12. Denver, CO
3. Madison, WI13. Nashville, TN
4. Boise, ID14. Atlanta, GA
5. Lincoln, NE15. Helena, MT
6. Concord, NH16. Olympia, WA
7. Salt Lake City, UT17. St. Paul, MN
8. Columbus, OH18. Montpelier, VT
9. Bismarck, ND19. Annapolis, MD
10. Oklahoma City, OK20. Santa Fe, NM
Source: WalletHub
Hartford, Conn., ranked No. 48 on WalletHub’s list of Best State Capitals for Public Safety and More. (Balazs Busznyak/Unsplash)

Bottom 20 State Capitals
31. Pierre, SD41. Providence, RI
32. Tallahassee, FL42. Little Rock, AR
33. Frankfort, KY43. Montgomery, AL
34. Topeka, KS44. Augusta, ME
35. Richmond, VA45. Carson City, NV
36. Harrisburg, PA46. Baton Rouge, LA
37. Indianapolis, IN47. Jackson, MS
38. Lansing, MI48. Hartford, CT
39. Honolulu, HI49. Dover, DE
40. Charleston, WV50. Trenton, NJ
Source: WalletHub

To identify the best state capitals to live in, WalletHub compared all 50 states across four dimensions: Affordability, Economic Well-Being, Quality of Education & Health and Quality of Life.

Best vs. Worst 

  • Concord, New Hampshire, has the lowest violent-crime rate per 1,000 residents, 1.92 — which is 9.6 times lower than in Little Rock, Arkansas, the city with the highest at 18.50.
  • Austin, Texas, has the highest median household income (adjusted for cost of living) — $70,310, which is 2.2 times higher than in Hartford, Connecticut, the city with the lowest at $31,851.
  • Montpelier, Vermont, has the highest share of adults 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 state capital’s rank, click here

Further Reading

The Top 25 Cities with Mosquito Problems
Home Maintenance Costs You Can Expect, State by State
The Top 25 Termite-Infested Cities


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