Texas is the nation’s 5th most dangerous state to live in, according to a ranking that considers crime, weather, pollution and dangerous workplaces, among other factors. Ahead of it were Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, the most dangerous. The 10 most dangerous states all were from the Sun Belt region.
The five states considered the safest, according to the ranking, are Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, Utah and Wyoming.
In total, the 50 states were compared across 53 key metrics by personal-finance website WalletHub. The data set ranges from the state’s coronavirus support to assaults per capita, the unemployment rate and the rate of uninsured residents.
Texas had the highest share of uninsured population in the nation. Nearly one-quarter of families in Harris County are uninsured, according to the 2020 Kinder Houston Area Survey. Among the households responding to the survey, the families of 30% of U.S.-born Hispanics are uninsured, and that rate increases to 44% for the families of Hispanic immigrants.
The state’s emergency response preparedness was ranked 48. The emergency response preparedness score was based on the number of climate disasters causing $1 billion or more in damages and loss amount from climate disasters causing $1 billion or more damages per capita between 1980 and 2020. When it comes to personal and residential safety — based on the number of mass shootings, murders and non-negligent manslaughters per capita, assaults per capita and sex offenders per capita, among others metrics — Texas is No. 40.
When it comes to the aggressiveness of each state’s response to COVID-19 and mitigating its spread, Texas, remains one of the least vigilant in the nation (42nd), according to WalletHub, which has released three rankings on states’ aggressiveness since mid-March. (Texas was 49 on March 16, then moved up to No. 39 on March 23.) It’s 41st on WalletHub’s list of states offering the most coronavirus support.
Texas continues to reopen its economy in phases, with child care centers being allowed to expand services this week. At the same time, child care subsidies for low-income parents will end, and evictions and debt collections have resumed. When asked if it’s safe enough for states to reopen at this point, Ahmet S. Yayla, director of the Center for Homeland Security at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, says yes, but with caution.
“There needs to be a balance between the safety of the populations and the economy, which needs to resume eventually,” Yayla says. “The rules are clear in terms of not spreading the virus and being protected through social distancing and hygiene. I believe masks, social distancing, and hygiene are still the most critical factors in being able to resume the economy. Another issue is mass tests, so we can figure out who has the virus and who has the antibody, which would enable the local governments to trace the pandemic better.”
Here’s how Texas ranked among some of the measurements used in the rankings:
42nd – Loss amounts from climate disasters per capita
27th – Murders and non-negligent manslaughters per capita
30th – Assaults per capita
26th – Fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 full-time workers
34th – Fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel
16th – Law-enforcement employees per capita
15th – Bullying incidence rate
36th – Sex offenders per capita