State capitals aren’t just for lawmaking. Often, they’re thriving cities with a lot of economic and cultural value. In fact, they can be some of the best places to live in America. But not all state capitals are created equal. Though 17 of them are the largest cities in their states, the biggest population doesn’t always represent the best quality of life. Some have rampant poverty problems. For example, over 28% of the population of Hartford, CT lives in poverty, compared to 11.4% of the entire United States.
Since state capitals are the seat of each state’s government, they can also be very hectic and politically-charged environments. Naturally, safety is one big consideration when deciding whether to live in a state capital – from its preparedness to deal with violence to its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and other considerations like traffic fatalities.
In order to determine which state capitals make the best homes, WalletHub compared all 50 across 49 key indicators of affordability, economic well-being, quality of education and health, and quality of life. Our data set ranges from the cost of living to K–12 school-system quality to the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated.