America’s Most (and Least) Peaceful States

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America’s Least Peaceful States

10. Mississippi
> Violent crimes (excl. murder) per 100,000: 262.7 (15th least)
> Murders per 100,000: 7.0 (4th most)
> Incarceration rate per 100,000: 686 (2nd most)
> Police per 100,000: 369.3 (11th most)
> Basic access: 77.6 (the lowest)
> Total cost of violence: $4.17 billion

Mississippi has the second-highest rate of prisoners under state jurisdiction in the country, with 686 per 100,000 people, and the fourth-highest murder rate. It also has the worst access to basic necessities, including clean water and access to a doctor. The state has the highest rate of poverty, the highest rate of children living in single parent households, the lowest average life expectancy, and the highest rate of births among teenagers.

9. South Carolina
> Violent crimes (excl. murder) per 100,000: 591.6 (5th most)
> Murders per 100,000: 6.1 (7th most)
> Incarceration rate per 100,000: 495 (11th most)
> Police per 100,000: 332.4 (24th most)
> Basic access: 80.4 (15th lowest)
> Total cost of violence: $8.36 billion

South Carolina has the seventh-highest murder rate in the country, at 7.1 per 100,000, as well as the fifth-most violent crimes per capita, at 591.6. However, the state has only the 24th highest rate of police officers per capita. The Charlotte-Gastonia MSA, which is in is ranked as the sixth-least peaceful metropolitan region in the country, with the highest rate of police per capita in the U.S. The state’s issues with crime may stem from a lack of support for its youth. South Carolina has the among the lowest high school graduation rate in the country, as well as among the highest rates of teen pregnancy and teen deaths.

8. Arkansas
> Violent crimes (excl. murder) per 100,000: 500.6 (10th most)
> Murders per 100,000: 4.7 (21st most)
> Incarceration rate per 100,000: 552 (8th most)
> Police per 100,000: 342.0 (22nd most)
> Basic access: 80.2 (12th lowest)
> Total cost of violence: $4.99 billion

Arkansas is one of the least peaceful states, as evident by its high incarceration rate of 552 prisoners per 100,000 residents. The state also has several factors correlating with its high crime rate. It has the nation’s highest rate of teenage deaths, with one death for every 1,000 teens, one of the highest rates of births among teenagers. The state also has a poverty rate of 18.4%, the third-highest in the country.

7. Texas
> Violent crimes (excl. murder) per 100,000: 445.3 (15th most)
> Murders per 100,000: 5.0 (18th most)
> Incarceration rate per 100,000: 648 (4th most)
> Police per 100,000: 359.5 (14th most)
> Basic access: 79.2 (6th lowest)
> Total cost of violence: $42.75 billion

For one of the least peaceful states in the U.S., Texas actually has relatively low violent crime and murder rates. However, the state has the fourth-highest incarceration rate, with 648 of every 100,000 residents in state prison. According to the Peace Index, violence costs the state $42 billion each year, more than any state but California. Texas has the lowest high school graduation rate in the country, at just over 80%. The state also has the lowest percentage of residents with health insurance in the U.S. The Peace Index also rated the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown area as the fifth least-peaceful large metropolitan region in the U.S.

6. Missouri
> Violent crimes (excl. murder) per 100,000: 448.0 (14th most)
> Murders per 100,000: 7.0 (3rd most)
> Incarceration rate per 100,000: 508 (10th most)
> Police per 100,000: 346.4 (19th most)
> Basic access: 81.9 (20th lowest)
> Total cost of violence: $9.48 billion

Missouri’s quest for peace is most severely set off course by the state’s murder rate, which is the country’s third-highest. The state also has a particularly high incarceration rate, with 508 out of every 100,000 residents in state prison. Missouri has one of the highest rates of teenage deaths, as well as one of the lowest life expectancies, at just 77.4 years. Among major metropolitan areas, the Kansas City metropolitan area is also among the least peaceful.