Jackson • When it comes to safest states to live in America, Mississippi came in last, according to financial website WalletHub.

While that news may be startling at first glance, a breakdown of the ranking methodology puts into perspective why Mississippi came in at 50..

WalletHub used five key dimensions to rank state safety: personal and residential safety, financial safety, road safety, workplace safety and emergency preparedness. WalletHub writer Adam McCann explains the methods used:

“Our data set ranges from assaults per capita to unemployment rate to total loss amounts from climate disasters per capita.”

Overall safety was determined on a 100-point scale, with personal and residential safety being worth 40-points and the other four categories being worth 15-points each. Mississippi earned 33.11 overall points. WalletHub did not offer a point breakdown of state’s individual categories on their website.

When it comes to personal and residential safety, Mississippi was only ranked 21, making it its strongest ranking. Twenty factors helped determine that ranking, which included the presence of terrorist incidents or attacks in a city between 2008 and 2018, number of mass shootings, law-enforcement employees per capita, suicide rate, share of elder-abuse, hate groups per capita and share of families with children aged 0 to 17 years who feel they live in safe neighborhoods. Factors such as murders, assaults and forcible rapes were worth double the normal point worth, and factors such as drug abuses per capita and overdose deaths per capita were given half-weight.

The weakness in Mississippi’s overall ranking is that all other categories were ranked last or near last. Mississippi ranked 50 in both road safety and emergency preparedness. It ranked 49 in financial safety and 48 in workplace safety.

Road safety included fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, pedestrian and pedalcyclist fatality rate per capita, DUIs per capita, road quality and driving laws rating. Emergency preparedness looked at two factors: the number of climate disasters causing over $1 billion in damages in past decades and loss amount from climate disasters causing over $1 billion in damages per capita.

Workplace safety and financial safety looked at factors such as fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 full-time workers, injuries & illnesses per 10,000 full-time workers, presence of Occupational Safety & Health Act plans, unemployment, identity-theft complaints per capita, personal bankruptcy filings per capita and share of homes with negative equity.

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