Special Report

Most Dangerous States in America

40. Idaho
> Violent crime rate: 227.1 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 35 (9th lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 601 adults per 100,000 (11th highest)
> Poverty rate: 11.8% (20th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Garden City

There were 227.1 violent crimes reported for every 100,000 people in Idaho, well below the national violent crime rate of 380.6 per 100,000. Idaho’s robbery rate of 11.4 incidents per 100,000 people is the second lowest of any state, trailing only Vermont. Idaho’s property crime rate of 1,461.4 per 100,000 is also well below the national rate of 2,199.5 per 100,000.

States with lower rates of crime tend to have smaller prison populations, but Idaho is an exception. There are 601 people age 18 and older incarcerated in Idaho state and federal prisons for every 100,000 adults statewide, the 11th highest imprisonment rate among states.

See all stories featuring: Idaho

Source: Pool / Getty Images

39. Utah
> Violent crime rate: 233.1 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 60 (15th lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 292 adults per 100,000 (8th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 9.0% (4th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: South Salt Lake

There were 7,368 violent crimes reported in Utah in 2018, or 233.1 for every 100,000 people — well below the national average of 380.6 per 100,000 people. The number of murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults committed in the state declined by 2.0% between 2017 and 2018, even as the total population climbed by 1.9%.

Wealthier areas with strong economic conditions tend to have lower crime rates than average — and Utah is no exception. The typical household in the state earns $71,414 a year, nearly $10,000 more than the typical American household. Additionally, the state’s 3.1% annual unemployment rate is well below the 3.9% national rate.

See all stories featuring: Utah

38. Mississippi
> Violent crime rate: 234.4 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 171 (23rd lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 812 adults per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.7% (the highest)
> Most dangerous city: Brookhaven

Mississippi’s violent crime rate of 234.4 incidents per 100,000 is lower than most other southern states. Crime tends to be more concentrated in areas that are struggling financially, but Mississippi is an exception. Despite a 19.7% poverty rate, the highest among states, violent crime is less common in Mississippi than in most of the country.

There are parts of the state, however, that are struggling with high crime rates. In Brookhaven for example, there were 767.0 violent crimes for every 100,000 people, well above the 380.6 per 100,000 national rate.

See all stories featuring: Mississippi

37. Hawaii
> Violent crime rate: 248.6 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 36 (10th lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 305 adults per 100,000 (10th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 8.8% (2nd lowest)
> Most dangerous city: Honolulu

There were 3,532 total reported murders, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults in Hawaii in 2018 — or about 248.6 per 100,000. For context, there were 380.6 violent crimes for every 100,000 people nationwide the same year.

Crime tends to be lower in areas with economic opportunity where people are more likely to be financially secure. In Hawaii, just 2.4% of the labor force was unemployed in 2018, the lowest jobless rate of any state. Additionally, Hawaii’s 8.8% poverty rate is the second lowest of any state.

See all stories featuring: Hawaii

Source: TheCatalyst31 / Wikimedia Commons

36. Iowa
> Violent crime rate: 250.1 per 100,000 people
> Total 2018 murders: 54 (14th lowest)
> Imprisonment rate: 372 adults per 100,000 (16th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (18th lowest)
> Most dangerous city: N/A

Iowa ranks among the safest states in the Midwest and as the 15th safest state nationwide. Iowa’s 2018 violent crime rate of 250.1 per 100,000 people is well below the 380.6 per 100,000 national rate. Areas with low rates of violence also tend to have low property crime rates, and Iowa is no exception. There were 1,691.5 property crimes in Iowa for every 100,000 people in 2018, far less than the national rate of 2,199.5 per 100,000.

With lower crime rates, Iowa also has a smaller prison population. There are just 372 adults incarcerated in Iowa state and federal prisons for every 100,000 state residents 18 and over, a smaller share than in most states.

See all stories featuring: Iowa