Safest Places to Live Are in the Southwest

Fewer floods, earthquakes, storms in the Southwest make it the safest area, study finds.

Safest Places to Live Are in the Southwest
photo of gallup, nm

Looking for a safe place to live? You may want to focus on the Southwest, according to CoreLogic, a global analytics provider. Its new “Safest Place to Live” study details the least risky places to live in the U.S. from a natural hazard perspective.

McKinley County, New Mexico, emerged as the least-risky county to live due to its lack of hurricane and earthquake risk. Additionally, five counties in Colorado rank in the top 10 for lowest-risk areas for natural catastrophes.

McKinley County is in northwestern New Mexico and is home to Gallup, a smallish town familiar to anyone who travels along I-40 through New Mexico. It's one of the few places in the United States where neither English nor Spanish is the primary language. Instead, 45% of the county's population speaks Navajo at home, followed by Spanish and English.

Median income in McKinley County, named after President William McKinley, is a relatively meager $25,005.

But while it may not have a lot going for it economically, McKinley County doesn't have many floods, tornadoes, or other natural disasters.


What happens next?

That's today. But what about tomorrow? CoreLogic deployed its Climate Risk Analytics: Composite Risk Score solution to identify counties that are currently at low risk and stress tests natural disaster risks over the next 30 years across various future climate scenarios.

The climate scenarios include a base climate where conditions do not change and a progressively worsening climate noted as “Scenario 8.5,” which represents a projection of climate-related risks to residential properties assuming that C02 emissions continue to rise throughout the 21st century.

CoreLogic analyzed wildfire, inland flood, severe convective storm, winter storm, earthquake and hurricane perils and applied its analytics capabilities to its extensive property datasets to provide deep insights into natural hazards, climate risks and the resulting impacts on the property landscape.

In examining a progressively worsening climate, Scenario 8.5, the safest counties in 2050 become:

  1. McKinley, New Mexico
  2. Conejos, Colorado
  3. Summit, Colorado
  4. Duchesne, Utah
  5. Saguache, Colorado
  6. Spokane, Washington
  7. Emery, Utah
  8. Eagle, Colorado
  9. San Juan, Colorado
  10. Chaffee, Colorado

CoreLogic said its analysis considers the impactful environmental risks to 154 million properties across the U.S. and is built on CoreLogic’s comprehensive data that details the physical characteristics of those homes, including construction year, first-floor height, number of stories and square footage.