The devastating earthquake and tsunami near Japan have led to renewed interest in the safest places to live. Over the past week, Web searches on "safest countries" and "countries with fewest natural disasters" have more than tripled.
According to a recent article from Slate, the countries of Estonia, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Andorra may be the least likely to suffer a natural disaster. The data comes from the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters.
The records aren't totally complete, but again according to Slate, the centre has "no record of fatal floods, droughts, earthquakes, or severe storms in any of these countries from 1900 to 2009."
Of course not everybody can just up and move to Qatar. For people who want to stay in the United States, there are similar studies on the safest places to live. A company called Sustain Lane found that in 2008, all things considered, Mesa, Arizona, is the safest big city to live. Miami, Florida, with its hurricanes, was found to be the least safe.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency keeps track of the number of declared emergencies in each state. This doesn't exactly equate with least dangerous places to live, but it is interesting to note that since 1953, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wyoming have declared the fewest number of disasters with eight each.
And what of the most "dangerous" places to live? In terms of disasters, Texas has declared the most with 84, followed by California with 77, and Oklahoma with 66.
FEMA's list shouldn't be taken as gospel. As Slate explains, "the data are skewed by the fact that disasters are more likely to be declared in populated areas." Still the agency's numbers are well worth a look.
So, here now for your consideration, the ten states that have declared the fewest natural disasters since 1953. Just remember -- as they say in the stock market, past performance doesn't guarantee future results.
District of Columbia