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The Best U.S. Cities to Be a Superhero

Header image for a blog about the best cities to be a superhero

Superheroes, typically confined to the realms of fiction, embody archetypes with flowing capes and unwavering quests for justice. They excel in saving cities such as Gotham, Metropolis, and Atlantis, rescuing civilians with remarkable prowess. However, pondering their existence in our reality prompts the question: In our world, which cities would these vigilantes choose as their homes? 

To find out what cities superheroes would most likely be found in, we ranked the best and worst cities for superheroes based on factors like crime rate, number of skyscrapers, population density, and more. Read on to find out what cities are ideal for superheroes!

The Essential Elements of a City Where Superheroes Soar

To find out what cities superheroes would most likely be found in, we had to consider what factors make a city ideal for superheroes. We grouped these factors into four categories. 

Firstly, we considered public demand. It makes sense that the more crime there is in a city with less law enforcement, the more a superhero is needed to save the people. Also, more people means more people to save! Under this category of public demand were crime index, violent crime rate per 1,000 residents, percent of unsolved crimes, population density, and amount of law enforcement. 

Cities with lots of skyscrapers are ideal for superheroes — superheroes need to be able to bounce around from building to building. The less crowded the skies are with planes, the more room superheroes have to fly around. Our next category was urban landscapes, where we considered the number of skyscrapers in a city and nearby aviation facilities (as most superheroes would prefer to fly in skies that don’t have lots of planes).

Our third category was superhero identity. Which cities cater best to a superhero going incognito? Although superheroes spend a lot of their time fighting crime, they also need a day job. For example, superheroes like Superman and Spider-Man took roles as journalists. So, we knew that the number of journalist job openings was a factor to consider. The more costume shops there are, the more places for a superhero to find their perfect heroic ensemble. 

The last category was public interest. Superheros need the support of the people! If more people are interested in superheroes, then superheroes are more likely to thrive in that city. Under this category, we considered the number of comic book stores, search interest for comic book conventions, and the number of children 14 and under.

The 10 Best U.S. Cities for a Superhero to Save the Day

A U.S. Map Showing the Top Cities for Superheros

The best city to be a superhero in is Washington, D.C., with an overall city score of 63.8 out of 100. D.C.’s iconic landmarks and its status as the hub of political power in the U.S. provide the grounds for dramatic superhero battles. 

Following close behind D.C. with a score of 63.5, Detroit, MI, was the second-best city for superheroes. Chicago, IL, and Grand Rapids, MI, were next with scores of 61.0 and 60.3, respectively. 

Virginia Beach, VA, with its lack of skyscrapers and a low violent crime rate per 1,000 residents, was the city superheroes were least likely to be in, with a score of 21.0. Virginia Beach is often seen as a safe location to live and retire in, with U.S. News & World Report ranking it 30th for Best Places to Live. 

Boise, ID, and Charleston, SC, are also not likely to have a superhero appearance anytime soon, with scores of 21.2 and 25.7, respectively. 

Revealing the Superheroic Rankings of U.S. Cities in Various Categories

An Infographic Showing the Cities with the Highest Score by Category

After analyzing how cities place in the 12 factors under each of the four categories, we compiled rankings for each category. Under the category of public demand, D.C. placed first with the most unsolved crimes of any city.

New York City was the number one for best urban landscape for a superhero, with 316 skyscrapers — the most skyscrapers of any city. 

Allentown, PA, was ranked highest for the best cities for superheroes to create their identity with 2.2 journalist job openings per 100k people, the second most openings for a city. New Orleans, LA, had 0.58 costume shops per 100k people, the highest score for costume shops. 

Providence, RI, scored the highest for the city with the most public interest in superheroes. San Diego, CA, which placed third for most public interest in superheroes, had the highest search interest for comic conventions like San Diego Comic-Con International.

Closing Thoughts

Exploring the concept of superheroes in our reality is a fascinating thought experiment within the realms of comics and fiction. These fictional characters are known for their commitment to justice and the protection of their cities. In a different but equally admirable way, veterans demonstrate courage, resilience, and a dedication to serving others, showcasing the spirit of heroism in the real world.

At American Fidelity Life Insurance, we recognize the heroic deeds of our veterans and are committed to offering them the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved ones are cared for. Just as superheroes don their capes to shield others, we provide veterans with the tools to protect their families, honoring their service and sacrifice. 


In order to identify the best cities in the U.S. for superheroes, we started by identifying the top 100 cities using metropolitan statistical area (MSA) rankings. We then identified the 12 factors most important for a superhero’s thriving environment. 

Subsequently, we assessed these criteria on a scale ranging from 0 to 5, culminating in a total score that can vary from 0 to 100 for each city. A score of 100 indicates the most ideal setting for a superhero. We then assessed these factors within each of their categories of public demand, urban landscape, superhero identity, and public interest to determine which city ranked the best in each category. 

Ranking FactorSourceWeight
Crime IndexNeighborhood Scout2.00
Violent Crime Rate per 1,000 ResidentsNeighborhood Scout2.00
Percent of Cold Cases Per 100k ResidentsProjectcoldcase.org2.00
Population DensityGoverning.com2.00
Number of Law Enforcement Per 100k PeopleU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1.75
Number of SkyscrapersCouncil on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat1.50
Number of Aviation FacilitiesGlobalair.com1.00
Number of Journalist Job Openings Per 100k PeopleO*NET1.50
Number of Costume Shops Per 100k People U.S. Census1.75
Number of Comic Book Stores Comicshoplocator.com1.50
Search Interest For Comic Con Google Trends1.50
Number of Children 14 and Under Per 100k PeopleU.S. Census1.50