Special Report

America's Most Violent and Peaceful States

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25. Montana
> Violent crime rate: 377.1 per 100,000 residents (22nd highest)
> Murder rate: 3.9 per 100,000 residents (21st lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 350 per 100,000 residents (23rd lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.7% (24th lowest)

There were 377.1 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in Montana in 2017, slightly below the national rate of 382.9 per 100,000.

While violent crime overall is slightly less common in the state than it is nationwide, gun violence — suicide in particular — is far more common. Montana has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country, and there were 15.7 suicides by firearm for every 100,000 people over the last five years, the second highest rate of any state and well more than double the 6.6 per 100,000 national rate. Montana’s overall suicide rate of 25.5 incidents per 100,000 people over the last five years is also the highest among states.

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24. Kansas
> Violent crime rate: 413.0 per 100,000 residents (19th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.5 per 100,000 residents (23rd highest)
> Incarceration rate: 332 per 100,000 residents (20th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.4% (20th lowest)

Kansas’s violent crime rate of 413 incidents per 100,000 people is one of the higher rates among states and is higher than the 382.9 per 100,000 national rate. Violence is disproportionately concentrated in urban areas within the state. Though only 68.1% of Kansas’s population lives within metro areas, over three-quarters of all violent crimes in the state are committed in metropolitan areas. In Kansas’s most dangerous city, there were more than 1,000 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2017.

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23. Florida
> Violent crime rate: 408.0 per 100,000 residents (20th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.0 per 100,000 residents (25th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 466 per 100,000 residents (11th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 3.6% (22nd lowest)

Florida ranks as a slightly more violent state than average in several measures. For example, the state’s violent crime rate of 408 incidents per 100,000 people is slightly higher than the U.S. rate of 382.9 per 100,000. The state’s incarceration rate of 466 inmates per 100,000 people is 11th highest among states.

Firearm-related deaths, including murder and suicide, are also slightly more common in Florida than nationwide. Two of the 18 deadliest mass shootings in the last 20 years were carried out in Florida.

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22. Illinois
> Violent crime rate: 438.8 per 100,000 residents (17th highest)
> Murder rate: 7.8 per 100,000 residents (10th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 324 per 100,000 residents (18th lowest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.3% (10th highest)

Few U.S. cities are more notorious for violence — gun violence in particular — than Chigaco. Over 530 people were murdered in the city in 2018, and Chicago ranks among the 10 U.S. cities with the most gun violence. Partially as a result of Chicago’s high incidence of violence, over 96% of murders in Illinois were committed in metropolitan areas when only about 88.5% of the state population lives in metro areas. While gun violence may be heavily concentrated on Chicago’s city streets, it is not especially common across the state as a whole. There were 10.1 firearm-related deaths, including suicides, for every 100,000 people in Illinois in the last five years, slightly less than the national rate of 10.9 per 100,000.

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21. Kentucky
> Violent crime rate: 225.8 per 100,000 residents (5th lowest)
> Murder rate: 5.9 per 100,000 residents (18th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 527 per 100,000 residents (8th highest)
> 2018 unemployment: 4.3% (10th highest)

Kentucky’s violent crime rate of 225.8 incidents per 100,000 people is lower than the national rate of 382.9 per 100,000. The state’s murder rate, however, is higher. There were 5.9 murders in Kentucky for every 100,000 people in 2017 compared to 5.3 per 100,000 nationwide. Kentucky also locks up more of its citizens than most states. Kentucky’s incarceration rate of 527 inmates for every 100,000 people is eighth highest among states.

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