Special Report

America's Most Violent (and Peaceful) States

Source: Thinkstock

35. Idaho
> Violent crime rate: 215.6 per 100,000 (5th lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.9 per 100,000 (7th lowest)
> Median household income: $48,275 (11th lowest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.2% (13th lowest)

Idaho has one of the lowest murder rates of any state in the country. There were 1.9 murders for every 100,000 people in the state in 2015, less than half the murder rate across the country as a whole.

Guns are, more often than not, the weapon used in homicides across Idaho. An estimated 80% of murders in the state were carried out with a firearm, the fifth largest share in the country. The disproportionately high share of firearm-related homicides may be explained by their relative availability. Some 56.9% of state residents belong to a household with a gun, well above the 29.1% gun ownership rate nationwide.

Source: Thinkstock

34. Nebraska
> Violent crime rate: 274.9 per 100,000 (15th lowest)
> Murder rate: 3.3 per 100,000 (18th lowest)
> Median household income: $54,996 (24th highest)
> May unemployment rate: 2.9% (6th lowest)

Positive economic conditions can be a bellwether for lower violent crime rates. In Nebraska, only 2.9% of the workforce is out of a job, and 12.6% of the population lives below the poverty line, each below the 4.3% and 14.7% corresponding national rates. Favorable economic conditions likely play a role in Nebraska’s relatively low violent crime rate. There were 275 violent crimes reported per 100,000 state residents in 2015, far less than the national rate of 373 incidents per 100,000 Americans and one of the lower violent crime rates of any state.

Source: Thinkstock

33. Wyoming
> Violent crime rate: 222.1 per 100,000 (8th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.7 per 100,000 (11th lowest)
> Median household income: $60,214 (17th highest)
> May unemployment rate: 4.1% (25th lowest)

A relatively low incidence of rape and the nation’s lowest robbery rate contribute to a low overall violent crime rate in Wyoming. There were only 222 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 state residents in 2015, one of the lowest such rates of all states.

While the state’s violent crime rate is relatively low, a far larger than typical share of Wyoming households feel the need to own a gun. Wyoming is one of only six states nationwide where over half of all households own a gun. The presence of a gun can lead to its misuse, and each year, there are about 15 suicides carried out with a firearm for every 100,000 state residents, the most of any state.

Source: Thinkstock

32. Colorado
> Violent crime rate: 321.0 per 100,000 (23rd lowest)
> Murder rate: 3.2 per 100,000 (16th lowest)
> Median household income: $63,909 (11th highest)
> May unemployment rate: 2.3% (the lowest)

In Colorado, 39.2% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, and just 2.3% of the labor force is unemployed — the second highest educational attainment rate and the lowest unemployment rate in the country. While economic opportunity often leads to lower crime rates, there were 321 violent crimes and 2,642 property crimes reported per 100,000 Colorado residents in 2015, roughly in line with the corresponding national rates. The state’s crime rate is partially driven by the Pueblo metropolitan area, where rising drug use and gang violence has led to a sharp increase in crime in the past several years.

Like a number of states, Colorado has partially reduced its prison population in recent years through a number of parole reform policies aimed at lowering its high recidivism rate. Today, 583 in every 100,000 Colorado residents are in state prison, similar to the national incarceration rate of 607 inmates per 100,000 Americans.

Source: Thinkstock

31. Virginia
> Violent crime rate: 195.6 per 100,000 (3rd lowest)
> Murder rate: 4.6 per 100,000 (24th highest)
> Median household income: $66,262 (8th highest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.8% (18th lowest)

Low violent crime rates are often correlate with high educational attainment rates and positive economic conditions. Some 37.0% of adults in Virginia have at least a bachelor’s degree, and the state has one of the highest median household incomes and one of the lowest poverty rates among all states. Virginia is also one of only four states with a violent crime rate below 200 incidents per 100,000 people.

However, Virginia also has a relatively high incarceration rate, and a larger than typical share of suicides in the state are carried out with a firearm.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.