Special Report

America's Most Violent (and Peaceful) States

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50. Maine
> Violent crime rate: 123.8 per 100,000 (the lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.5 per 100,000 (2nd lowest)
> Median household income: $53,079 (19th lowest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.0% (17th lowest)

New England states comprise six of the country’s seven least violent states. Of them, Maine is the least violent in both the region and the country. There were 124 violent crimes in Maine for every 100,000 residents in 2016, the lowest violent crime rate of any state. Additionally, just 137 people are incarcerated in a Maine state correctional facility for every 100,000 residents, the lowest incarceration rate in the country. Nationwide, aggravated assault is the most common violent crime, reported at a rate of 249 incidents for every 100,000 Americans. In Maine, there were 71 cases of aggravated assault for every 100,000 residents, the lowest aggravated assault rate of any state.

As is often the case in states with low incarceration and violent crime rates, Maine’s economy is relatively healthy. Just 3.0% of the labor force are out of work, well below the May 2018 unemployment rate of 3.8% nationwide. Additionally, just 12.5% of state residents live below the poverty line compared to 14.0% of Americans nationwide.

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49. New Hampshire
> Violent crime rate: 197.6 per 100,000 (3rd lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.3 per 100,000 (the lowest)
> Median household income: $70,936 (7th highest)
> May unemployment rate: 2.6% (9th lowest)

While nationwide there were 386 violent crimes per 100,000 Americans in 2016, in New Hampshire there were 198 incidents reported per 100,000 residents, the third lowest violent crime rate of any state. There were 17 murders reported in the state that year, equal to 1.3 cases per 100,000 residents. This is the lowest murder rate of any state.

Wealthier areas with better-educated population tend to have lower violent crime rates. The typical household in New Hampshire earns $70,936 a year, the seventh highest of any state and approximately $13,000 more than the national median. Some 92.3% of New Hampshire adults have a high school diploma, the seventh largest share nationwide.

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48. Hawaii
> Violent crime rate: 309.2 per 100,000 (21st lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.5 per 100,000 (10th lowest)
> Median household income: $74,511 (5th highest)
> May unemployment rate: 2.0% (the lowest)

Hawaii is the only state outside of the New England region to rank among the seven least violent states. While Hawaii’s violent crime rate of 309 reported incidents per 100,000 residents is not as low as it is in some parts of the country, it is markedly better than the national violent crime rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 people.

Gun violence in particular is especially rare in Hawaii. Just 19.7% of all suicides in the state between 2012 and 2016 were carried out with a firearm, the smallest share of any state and less than half the comparable national share of 50.6%. Similarly, the state’s firearm murder rate of 0.7 incidents per 100,000 people is the lowest of any state and a fraction of the nationwide rate of 3.8 per 100,000.

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47. Massachusetts
> Violent crime rate: 376.9 per 100,000 (23rd highest)
> Murder rate: 2.0 per 100,000 (5th lowest)
> Median household income: $75,297 (4th highest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.3% (21st lowest)

Like every other state in New England, Massachusetts is one of the least violent states in the country. While there were 377 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Massachusetts residents in 2016 — roughly in line with the national violent crime rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans — the state has one of the lowest murder rates in the country

There were 134 murders reported in Massachusetts in 2016, or 2.0 per 100,000 state residents. The state’s murder rate is tied with North Dakota for the fourth lowest in the country. Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, and handgun ownership is relatively uncommon. Firearms are a factor in just 21.4% of all suicides — the second smallest share of any state.

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46. Vermont
> Violent crime rate: 158.3 per 100,000 (2nd lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.2 per 100,000 (7th lowest)
> Median household income: $57,677 (20th highest)
> May unemployment rate: 2.6% (9th lowest)

There were 158 incidents of violent crime in Vermont for every 100,000 residents in 2016, the second lowest violent crime rate in the country. Aggravated assault is the most common form of violent crime in the United States, and Vermont’s aggravated assault rate of 111 incidents per 100,000 residents is less than half the national rate. Similarly, Vermont’s murder rate of 2.2 homicides per 100,000 people is less than half the U.S. murder rate of 5.3 per 100,000.

Due in part to a low violent crime rate, Vermont’s incarceration rate is among the lowest in the nation. There are only 197 people in a Vermont state correctional facility for every 100,000 state residents, the fifth lowest incarceration rate of any state and less than half the U.S. rate.

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