The Pacific Northwest is the most secure place to live, work and raise a family, according to the fifth annual Farmers Insurance Study, which ranks the most secure places to live in the U.S.

The study examines 379 municipalities throughout the U.S., considering myriad factors such as crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, housing depreciation, foreclosures, air quality, life expectancy and job loss numbers. Municipalities were divided into three groups: large metropolitan areas (500,000 or more residents), midsize cities (150,000- 500,000 residents) and small towns (fewer than 150,000 residents).

A high job growth rate and long life expectancy, as well as minimal housing depreciation and lack of extreme weather contributed to the area’s top rating in the study. The area is home to such Fortune 500 companies as Amazon.com, Nordstrom, Starbucks, Safeco Corp. and T-Mobile USA.

The Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash., area catapulted from 17th place among large metropolitan areas in 2007 to first place in 2008. The Portland-Beaverton, Ore./ Vancouver, Wash., area ranks second among large cities in this year’s study, while Honolulu, Hawaii, is third. This marks the fifth straight year Honolulu is ranked in the Top 20 among large cities.

The Pacific Northwest also continued to dominate in the midsize U.S. city category, according to the study. Olympia, Wash., came in first for the second year in a row. Las Cruces, N.M.–the most secure midsize of 2006–came in second, with Salem, Ore., ranking third.

In the category of small towns the dynasty of the Pacific Northwest was cemented with Corvallis, Ore., in first place. Veteran top-20 municipalities Bismarck, N.D., and Logan, Utah, were second and third, respectively.

Robert Woudstra, Farmers chief executive officer, said in a statement, “The Farmers Most Secure Places to Live survey reveals a lot about how local governments and citizens work together to make their communities a desirable choice for individuals and families to live, work and grow.”

A complete list can be found at HYPERLINK “http://www.bestplaces.net” www.bestplaces.net .