2017’s Most Caring Cities in America
Caring means having intimate and human connection with others. And it can be expressed in multiple ways — from helping an elderly person cross the street to fighting a house fire. But certain parts of America put this into practice more than others.
As a whole, Americans have shown their care through charitable giving more and more. According to Giving USA, Americans donated over $390 billion in 2016, up 2.7% from the previous year. But even if you can’t afford to give away your income, there are plenty of other ways to show kindness to others.
In order to identify the areas that care the most, WalletHub compared the 100 largest cities across 36 key indicators of a compassionate spirit. Our data set ranges from share of sheltered homeless persons to number of volunteering hours per capita to share of income donated to charity. Continue reading below for the complete ranking, expert commentary and a full description of our methodology.
Most Caring Cities in America
|Overall Rank*||City||Total Score||‘Caring for the Community’ Rank||‘Caring for the Vulnerable’ Rank||‘Caring in the Workforce’ Rank|
|2||Virginia Beach, VA||63.73||6||17||23|
|5||Jersey City, NJ||63.00||4||42||14|
|9||St. Paul, MN||61.17||35||43||3|
|11||San Francisco, CA||60.86||51||2||49|
|12||San Diego, CA||60.28||11||3||78|
|13||Colorado Springs, CO||60.18||19||13||34|
|14||San Jose, CA||59.98||3||9||93|
|21||New York, NY||58.67||2||88||26|
|29||Chula Vista, CA||57.24||7||25||80|
|39||Los Angeles, CA||55.23||32||29||68|
|41||Kansas City, MO||54.56||60||64||24|
|46||Oklahoma City, OK||53.75||79||34||32|
|54||Santa Ana, CA||52.81||33||41||90|
|58||Long Beach, CA||52.21||47||50||74|
|59||Fort Worth, TX||52.19||27||59||84|
|62||Fort Wayne, IN||51.91||55||75||35|
|72||St. Petersburg, FL||50.08||65||67||60|
|74||St. Louis, MO||49.64||96||61||17|
|76||New Orleans, LA||49.24||57||95||43|
|78||San Antonio, TX||48.62||76||68||57|
|79||Las Vegas, NV||48.46||59||55||94|
|83||Corpus Christi, TX||47.85||82||73||52|
|88||El Paso, TX||47.11||46||84||85|
|89||Baton Rouge, LA||46.67||93||92||29|
|91||North Las Vegas, NV||46.36||53||81||94|
|98||San Bernardino, CA||41.45||85||94||97|
*No. 1 = Most Caring
Ask the Experts
Every now and then, we all need a helping hand. Sometimes that help must come from our local government and community. We asked a panel of experts for their ideas on how cities can provide the care that residents need and address other important challenges. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and thoughts on the following key questions:
- Should people who care for children or other relatives receive financial compensation from the government?
- How can local authorities encourage citizens to be more caring?
- Foster care has largely replaced orphanages in the United States. Is this trend good?
- How can local communities strike the right balance between care services provided by the government versus nonprofits, charities and religious organizations?
- How can cities design programs that care for people in need while also encouraging self-sufficiency?
In order to determine the most caring cities in America, WalletHub compared the 100 most populated cities across three key dimensions: 1) Caring for the Community, 2) Caring for the Vulnerable and 3) Caring in the Workforce.
We then evaluated those dimensions using 36 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the highest level of caring. Data for metrics marked with an asterisk (*) were available only at the state level. For metrics marked with two asterisks (**), we used the square root of the population to calculate the population size in order to avoid overcompensating for minor differences across cities.
Finally, we determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its total score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.
In determining our sample, we considered only the city proper in each case and excluded cities in the surrounding metro area.
Caring for the Community – Total Points: 40
- Violent Crime Rate: Double Weight (~4.00 Points)
- Property Crime Rate: Double Weight (~4.00 Points)
- Alcohol-Impaired Fatalities per Capita: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
- Driving Fatalities per Capita: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
- Pedestrian Fatality Rate: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
- Care for the Environment: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
Note: The percentage of workers who carpool was used for this metric.
- WalletHub “Energy Efficiency” Ranking: Half* Weight (~1.00 Point)
Note: This metric is based on WalletHub’s “Most & Least Energy Efficient States ranking.”
- Social Ties: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
Note: This metric is based on responses to Sharecare’s RealAge® Test and was used in our analysis to highlight the places where relationships with family and friends are strongest and therefore likely to result in a positive effect on a person’s social life.
- Civic Engagement: Half* Weight (~1.00 Point)
Note: The percentage of citizens who voted in the 2014 elections was used for this metric.
- Favors for Neighbors: Triple Weight (~6.00 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage of residents who do favors for their neighbors daily or multiple times per week.
- Food & Clothing Distribution to the Needy: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage of residents who collect or distribute food or clothing for the needy.
- Share of Residents Who Fundraise or Sell Items to Raise Money: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
- Share of Income Donated to Charity: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
- Online Giving per Capita: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
- Volunteering Hours per Capita: Double Weight (~4.00 Points)
- Google Search Interest for “Charitable Donations”: Full Weight (~2.00 Points)
Note: This metric measures the real intent of the population to find information using the following search terms: “volunteer,” “non profit organizations,” “charity,” “charitable donations” and “charitable organizations.” “Real intent” is measured using the average monthly search volumes for those specific terms.
Caring for the Vulnerable – Total Points: 40
- Child Poverty Rate: Double Weight (~6.40 Points)
- Adult Poverty Rate: Double Weight (~6.40 Points)
- Adoption Rate: Half* Weight (~1.60 Points)
Note: This metric measures the number of children adopted through public agencies per adult population.
- Availability of Paid Family Leave*: Full Weight (~3.20 Points)
Note: This binary metric considers the presence or absence of paid family leave in the state.
- Percentage of Sheltered Homeless Persons: Double Weight (~6.40 Points)
- Rehabilitation Centers per Capita**: Full Weight (~3.20 Points)
- Pet Shelters & Rescue Services per Capita**: Full Weight (~3.20 Points)
- Animal Protection Laws Ranking: Full Weight (~3.20 Points)
Note: This metric is based on the “2016 U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings” report.
- Disability-Friendliness of Employers: Full Weight (~3.20 Points)
Note: This metric measures the percentage of people with disabilities who are employed.
- Uninsured Rate: Full Weight (~3.20 Points)
Caring in the Workforce – Total Points: 20
- Residents Who Work in Community & Social Services per Capita: Double Weight (~3.64 Points)
- Physicians per Capita: Full Weight (~1.82 Points)
- Nurses per Capita: Full Weight (~1.82 Points)
- Special-Education Teachers per School-Aged People With Disabilities: Full Weight (~1.82 Points)
- Teachers’ Care for Students’ Well-Being: Full Weight (~1.82 Points)
Note: Student-teacher ratio was used for this metric.
- Counselors’ Care for Students’ Well-Being: Full Weight (~1.82 Points)
Note: Student-counselor ratio was used for this metric.
- Mental-Health Counselors & Therapists per Capita: Full Weight (~1.82 Points)
- Personal-Care Aides per Capita: Full Weight (~1.82 Points)
- Firefighters per Capita: Full Weight (~1.82 Points)
- Paramedics per Capita: Full Weight (~1.82 Points)
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Corporation for National & Community Service, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Center for Education Statistics, Sharecare, Animal Legal Defense Fund, National Conference of State Legislatures, Yelp and WalletHub research.
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