CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — WalletHub has released a list of 2022’s Best State Capitals for Safety & More, ranking Charleston, W.Va. at 40.

To achieve their rankings, all 50 capitols were compared across 49 key indicators within 4 dimensions of “affordability, economic well-being, quality of education and health, and quality of life.”

Map of state capitol rankings:

Source: WalletHub
Overall Rank CityState Capital Index Affordability Economic Well-Being Quality of Education & Health Quality of Life 
40Charleston, W.Va.43.8828343445
Note: With the exception of “State Capital Index,” all of the columns in the table above depict the relative rank of that state, where a rank of 1 represents the best conditions for that metric category.

Using the compiled 49 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights, WalletHub graded each metric on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most livable state capital.

The weighted average of each state capital was then calculated across all metrics to find their respective State Capital Index.

An asterisk (*) means that metric was available only at the state level. Two asterisks (**) means the square root of the population was used to calculate the population size “in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across cities.”

Affordability – Total Points: 25

  • Cost of Living: Double Weight (~10.00 Points)
  • Median Household Income: Double Weight (~10.00 Points)
    Note: This metric was adjusted for the cost of living.
  • Housing Costs: Full Weight (~5.00 Points)
    Note: This composite metric was calculated as follows: (Median House Price / Median Annual Household Income); (Median Rent Price / Median Annual Household Income).

Economic Well-Being – Total Points: 25

  • Population Growth: Full Weight (~1.85 Points)
  • Income Growth: Double Weight (~3.70 Points)
  • Median Credit Score: Half Weight (~0.93 Points)
  • Income Inequality: Full Weight (~1.85 Points)
  • Debt as a Share of Median Income: Double Weight (~3.70 Points)
  • Share of Population Living in Poverty: Full Weight (~1.85 Points)
  • Unemployment Rate: Full Weight (~1.85 Points)
  • Underemployment Rate: Full Weight (~1.85 Points)
  • Growth in Number of Businesses (2019 vs 2018): Full Weight (~1.85 Points)
  • Foreclosure Rate: Half Weight (~0.93 Points)
  • Bankruptcy Rate: Half Weight (~0.93 Points)
  • Building-Permit Activity: Full Weight (~1.85 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the number of new unit permits pulled per capita.
  • Share of State, Local & Federal Government Employees: Full Weight (~1.85 Points)

Quality of Education & Health – Total Points: 25

  • K–12 School-System Quality: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: This metric measures the share of public schools rated by GreatSchools.org with an above average score.
  • High School Graduation Rate: Double Weight (~2.63 Points)
  • Average University Score: Double Weight (~2.63 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “2022 Best Colleges & Universities” ranking.
  • Number of Universities in Top 1,015: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “2022 Best Colleges & Universities” ranking.
  • Share of Adults with at Least a Bachelor’s Degree: Double Weight (~2.63 Points)
    Note: “Adults” include the population aged 25 and older.
  • Percentage of Residents Who Are Fully Vaccinated: Double Weight (~2.63 Points)
  • Share of Population with Health-Insurance Coverage: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: “Population” includes ages 16 and older.
  • Quality of Public Hospital System: Double* Weight (~2.63 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on data from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Hospital Beds per Capita**: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Premature-Death Rate: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: This metric measures average years of potential life lost.
  • Infant-Mortality Rate: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Share of Adults in Good Health: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on a health survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Good Health” includes responses of “good,” “very good” and “excellent” health. “Adults” include respondents aged 18 and older.
  • Adult Obesity Rate: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)
  • Physical Inactivity: Full Weight (~1.32 Points)

Quality of Life – Total Points: 25

  • Share of Millennial Newcomers: Double Weight (~2.13 Points)
  • Number of Attractions: Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
    Note: “Attractions” include, for instance, zoos, museums and theaters.
  • Nightlife Options per Capita (sqrt of pop): Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
  • Restaurants per Capita (sqrt of pop): Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
  • Affordable Restaurants with Ratings of 4.5+ Stars: Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
  • Coffee Shops per Capita (sqrt of pop): Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
  • Movie Theaters per Capita (sqrt of pop): Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
  • Fitness Centers per Capita (sqrt of pop): Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
  • Walkability: Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on data from Walk Score.
  • Access to Public Transportation: Double Weight (~2.13 Points)
  • Average Commute Time: Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
  • Driving Fatalities per Capita: Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
  • Average Weekly Work Hours: Double Weight (~2.13 Points)
  • Mildness of Weather: Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Cities with the Best & Worst Weather“ ranking.
  • Air Quality: Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
  • Sports Fan-Friendliness: Full Weight (~1.06 Points)
    Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Best Sports Cities“ ranking.
  • Violent-Crime Rate: Double Weight (~2.13 Points)
  • Property-Crime Rate: Double Weight (~2.13 Points)
  • Perception of Safety (Safety walking alone during daylight/at night): Half Weight (~0.53 Points)
    Note: These data are based on perceptions of visitors of the Numbeo website in the past 3 years. If the value is 0, it means it is perceived as very low, and if the value is 100, it means it is perceived as very high.

WalletHub also ranked Charleston, WV as having the 5th highest crime rate, 5th lowest percent of Millennial Newcomers, 4th worst health conditions and tied for highest premature death rate with Baton Rouge, LA.