Thanksgiving is usually a time for big family gatherings filled with food, celebrations and reflections on all that we have to be grateful for. In 2020, though, things will be different for many Americans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to minimize virus transmission and promote safety, families and friends may opt for smaller, separate dinners connected by video calls, whether by choice or because of state regulations. Football games might be postponed or played without fans and the Macy’s parade will be held virtually. Some Americans will proceed with celebrations as normal, though.
With safety being a chief concern this year, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 10 key metrics to see which provide the safest conditions for the Thanksgiving holiday. Our data set includes metrics examining how the state is handling the COVID-19 pandemic, such as positive testing rate and death rate in the past week, as well as other indicators of general safety like the crime rate and the average number of DUI-related fatalities in November.
Safest States to Spend Thanksgiving
(1 = Best)
Ask the Experts
Thanksgiving will be very different for many Americans this year due to COVID-19. For more insight, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts. Click on the pictures of the experts below to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- Given the economic fallout from COVID-19, what advice do you have for celebrating Thanksgiving on a budget?
- Do you think this year’s Thanksgiving is an opportunity to actually save some money?
- A recent survey conducted by Travelocity finds that almost 60% of Americans won’t travel to see friends and family this year. For people who will be visiting loved ones this holiday season, what precautions can they take to prevent spreading or contracting the virus?
- Should we expect to see a high number of virtual Thanksgiving dinners this season as a strategy to celebrate safely?
Ask the Experts
In order to identify the safest states to spend Thanksgiving, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 10 relevant metrics, which are listed below with their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the safest conditions for Thanksgiving celebrations.
We then determined each state’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its overall score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the states.
- COVID-19 Death Rate in the Past Week: Triple Weight (~18.75 Points)
- COVID-19 Positive Testing Rate in the Past Week: Double Weight (~12.50 Points)
- COVID-19 Hospitalization Rate in the Past Week: Double Weight (~12.50 Points)
- Requirement to Wear a Face Mask in Public: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
Note: This metric measures the presence or absence of state action requiring residents to wear a face mask in public.
- 1 – No state action on public face coverings;
- 0.5 – State requires the use of face coverings for certain employees;
- 0.25 – State allows local officials to require the use of public face coverings for the general public;
- 0 – Face coverings required for the general public.
- Share of Multigenerational Households: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
Note: “Multigenerational households” refers to family households consisting of three or more generations.
- State Guidance on Customer Health Checks at Restaurants: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
Note: This metric refers to whether states have issued guidance on customer health checks at restaurants.
- 1 – No requirement or recommendation for customer health checks at restaurants;
- 0 – Some form of requirement or recommendation for customer health checks at restaurants.
- Share of Offline Homes: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
Note: This metric serves as a proxy for states where people would not be able to have at least a Zoom call with their loved ones. It measures the share of households lacking a computer and a broadband Internet service.
- Crime Rate: Double Weight (~12.50 Points)
- Pedestrian Fatalities per Capita: Full Weight (~6.25 Points)
- DUI-Related Fatalities in Motor Vehicle Crashes Around Thanksgiving per Capita: Double Weight (~12.50 Points)
Note: The average of November fatalities was used to calculate this metric.
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Kaiser Family Foundation, National Restaurant Association and The COVID Tracking Project.