Special Report

America's Most Violent (and Peaceful) States

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5. Nevada
> Violent crime rate: 678.1 per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> Murder rate: 7.6 per 100,000 (7th highest)
> Median household income: $55,180 (24th lowest)
> May unemployment rate: 4.2% (7th highest)

There were 224 murders reported in Nevada in 2016, the seventh most of any state when adjusted for the population. Nevada also has the highest robbery rate in the country. In total, there were 678 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, far above the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans and the third highest violent crime rate of any state. Some 96.0% of all violent crime in the state occurred in metro areas, the sixth largest share nationwide.

While Nevada has some of the loosest gun regulation in the country, the state’s gun homicide rate is roughly in line with the U.S. as a whole. Nevada averages 3.9 firearm homicides per 100,000 residents annually, compared to the national rate of 3.8 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

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4. Tennessee
> Violent crime rate: 632.9 per 100,000 (4th highest)
> Murder rate: 7.3 per 100,000 (9th highest)
> Median household income: $48,547 (8th lowest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.0% (17th lowest)

Only three states have a higher violent crime rate than Tennessee. There were 633 violent crimes in the state for every 100,000 people in 2016, well above the national violent crime rate of 386 per 100,000. The state’s murder rate, which is included in the violent crime rate, is also far higher than the national rate. There were 7.3 homicides in Tennessee for every 100,000 people in 2016 compared to 5.3 murders per 100,000 people nationwide.

Tennessee has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country, and homicides are much more likely to be carried out with a firearm in the state than they are nationwide. There were 5.5 murders committed with a firearm for every 100,000 people in Tennessee from 2012 to 2016, well above the national rate of 3.8 per 100,000 over the same period.

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3. Alaska
> Violent crime rate: 804.2 per 100,000 (the highest)
> Murder rate: 7.0 per 100,000 (11th highest)
> Median household income: $76,440 (2nd highest)
> May unemployment rate: 7.0% (the highest)

There were 52 murders, 1,053 rapes, 850 robberies, and 4,011 aggravated assaults reported in Alaska in 2016. When adjusting for the state’s population, there were 804 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Alaska residents, the most of any state and more than twice the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans. One factor that may contribute to the high prevalence of violent crime in Alaska may be the lack of law enforcement in the rural parts of the state, particularly in remote villages.

According to the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, Alaska has the loosest gun regulation of nearly any state. An estimated 60.6% of Alaskan households own a gun, nearly the largest such share. Alaska averages 20.5 firearm-related deaths per 100,000 residents annually, the most of any state and nearly twice the national figure.

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2. Alabama
> Violent crime rate: 532.3 per 100,000 (7th highest)
> Murder rate: 8.4 per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> Median household income: $46,257 (5th lowest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.7% (17th highest)

Alabama has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country. It also has some of the highest rates of gun violence of any state. Including murders and suicides, there were 18.5 deaths by firearm for every 100,000 people in Alabama in from 2012 to 2016, more than in all but three other states and well above the national rate of 11.0 per 100,000 over that time. While about 83% of violent crimes are committed in metro areas across the country, in Alabama, violence is more common in rural areas. Just 42.5% of violent crimes in Alabama in 2016 occured in metro areas.

States with lower median incomes typically have higher crime rates, and in Alabama, the typical household earns $46,357 a year, about $11,360 less than the typical American household.

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1. Louisiana
> Violent crime rate: 566.1 per 100,000 (5th highest)
> Murder rate: 11.8 per 100,000 (the highest)
> Median household income: $45,146 (4th lowest)
> May unemployment rate: 4.7% (4th highest)

Louisiana is the most violent state in the country. In 2016, there were 11.8 murders reported per 100,000 residents, more than twice the national homicide rate of 5.3 murders per 100,000 Americans and the most of any state. In total, there were 566 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents, the fifth most of any state and far more than the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

Louisiana has some of the laxest gun regulations in the country, and gun violence is relatively common in the state. There were 10 homicides carried out with a firearm for every 100,000 state residents from 2012 through 2016, more than double the national figure and the most of any state.

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