Special Report

America's Most Violent (and Peaceful) States

Source: Thinkstock

20. Florida
> Violent crime rate: 430.3 per 100,000 (18th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.4 per 100,000 (23rd highest)
> Median household income: $50,860 (13th lowest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.4% (23rd lowest)

There were 430 violent crimes in Florida for every 100,000 people in 2016, a higher violent crime rate than in most states and higher than the national rate of 386 per 100,000. The higher than typical incidence of violent crime in the state is driven largely by aggravated assault. There were 290 cases of aggravated assault in Florida for every 100,000 people in 2016 compared to 249 cases per 100,000 Americans nationwide.

Violence in Florida is largely confined to the state’s metropolitan areas. Some 96% of all violent crimes in Florida are committed in metro areas compared to 83% of violent crimes nationwide.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

19. North Carolina
> Violent crime rate: 372.2 per 100,000 (25th highest)
> Murder rate: 6.7 per 100,000 (12th highest)
> Median household income: $50,584 (12th lowest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.7% (17th highest)

While rape, robbery, and aggravated assault are less common in North Carolina than they are nationwide, the state has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. There were 678 murders reported in the state in 2016, or 6.7 for every 100,000 people, the 12th most nationwide. Breaking from the national trend, just 17.8% of murders occurred in North Carolina’s metro areas, one of the smallest shares of any state. In total, there were 372 violent crimes reported per 100,000 state residents in 2016, slightly below the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans.

Source: DougLemke / Getty Images

18. Michigan
> Violent crime rate: 459.0 per 100,000 (13th highest)
> Murder rate: 6.0 per 100,000 (17th highest)
> Median household income: $52,492 (18th lowest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.8% (14th highest)

There were 459 violent crimes committed in Michigan for every 100,000 people in 2016, a higher violent crime rate than in all but a dozen other states. As is the case nationwide, aggravated assault was the most common form of violence in the state.

Violence in Michigan is largely confined to urban areas. About 88% of the 45,572 violent crimes reported in the state in 2016 were committed in metropolitan areas. Metro areas in the state include Detroit-Warren-Dearborn — and Detroit is one of the most violent cities in the country.

Source: f11photo / Getty Images

17. Indiana
> Violent crime rate: 404.7 per 100,000 (20th highest)
> Murder rate: 6.6 per 100,000 (14th highest)
> Median household income: $52,314 (16th lowest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.2% (18th lowest)

There were 439 murders, 2,501 rapes, 7,330 robberies, and 16,575 aggravated assaults reported in Indiana in 2016. Adjusted for the population, there were 405 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, more than the national rate of 386 incidents per 100,000 Americans. The two biggest factors driving violent crime in Indiana relative to the rest of the nation were murder and robbery.

Crime tends to be more prevalent in less wealthy areas with lower educational attainment. In Indiana, the typical household earns $52,314 a year,and some 25.6% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to the national median household income of $57,617 and college attainment rate of 31.3%.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

16. Texas
> Violent crime rate: 434.4 per 100,000 (17th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.3 per 100,000 (24th highest)
> Median household income: $56,565 (25th highest)
> May unemployment rate: 3.7% (17th highest)

Texas has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country. It also struggles more with suicide by firearm than the country as a whole. Some 57.4% of all suicides in the state were carried out with a firearm, a larger share than the 50.6% of suicides nationwide. There were slightly more than 9,300 suicides by firearm in Texas in from 2012 through 2016, the most of any state.

Texas also has a higher incarceration rate than most states. Some 563 people are incarcerated in Texas state prisons for every 100,000 residents, more than in all but six other states.

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