Special Report

The Safest States in America

4. Wyoming
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 197.7
> Population: 582,658
> Total 2013 murders: 17 (3rd lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.9% (6th lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 93.5% (the highest)

The violent crime rate in Wyoming dipped slightly between 2012 and 2013 to 197.7 incidents reported per 100,000 residents. This was despite murder and nonnegligent manslaughter and robbery rates each increasing by more than 20%. Still, a total of only 1,152 violent crimes were reported in Wyoming, fewer than in every state except Vermont. Wyoming’s income was among the most evenly distributed in the country, which may have contributed to the state’s low crime rates. A typical household earned $58,752 in 2013, among the higher incomes in the nation. Additionally, Wyoming adults are quite educated, with nearly 94% having received a high school diploma as of 2013, the highest proportion in the country.

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3. Virginia
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 187.9
> Population: 8,260,405
> Total 2013 murders: 316 (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.7% (9th lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 88.4% (23rd lowest)

As in several other safe states, Virginia’s low violent crime rate can be partly attributed to financial stability among residents. A typical household earned $62,666 last year, the eighth highest such income in the country. The state also had among the lowest poverty rates, at 11.7% in 2013. By contrast, nearly 16% of Americans lived below the poverty line last year. In addition to a low violent crime rate, property crimes were also particularly uncommon in Virginia. For example, there were only 322 burglaries reported per 100,000 state residents, the second-lowest rate nationwide.

2. Maine
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 121.6
> Population: 1,328,302
> Total 2013 murders: 24 (8th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 14.0% (20th lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 91.8% (5th highest)

There were just 69 incidents per 100,000 residents of aggravated assault reported last year in Maine, the lowest rate reviewed. This was despite incidents increasing 12.9% in 2013 from 2012, the largest increase in the nation. In fact, incidents of aggravated assaults declined across the nation. Mainers, who are perhaps more dependent on their vehicles because they live in one of the nation’s most rural areas, are also fortunate to have one of the country’s lowest motor vehicle theft rates. There were fewer than 69 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents reported last year, second only to Vermont.

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1. Vermont
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 114.9
> Population: 626,630
> Total 2013 murders: 10 (the lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.3% (12th lowest)
> Pct. of adults with high school diploma: 91.5% (tied-9th highest)

Vermont is the safest state in the country, with a violent crime rate of just 115 incidents per 100,000 residents. The state also led the nation in nominal terms, with a total of only 720 violent crimes reported in 2013. Violent crime in the state has also fallen dramatically. Vermont’s violent crime rate fell 19.2% in 2013 from 2012, the largest improvement in the country. As in other safe states, Vermont’s relatively well-educated population may have contributed to its low crime rates. Nearly 36% of adults had attained at least a bachelor’s degree as of last year, and 91.5% had completed at least high school, both among the highest rates nationwide.

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