Special Report

America's Most Peaceful and Violent States

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The United States appears to be getting safer overall, according to the FBI’s latest violent crime data. The rate of violent crime  — comprising homicide, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery — fell by 3.6% in 2018 compared to the prior year. Yet the improvement was not uniform across all states, and some even reported more violent crimes per capita than they did the year before.

To identify the most and least violent states, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on four measures: the murder rate, the violent crime rate excluding murder, firearm deaths, and the incarceration rate. Data came from the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

There is a strong, if complicated, relationship between crime and poverty, and people from low-income areas are much more likely to be incarcerated than those from more affluent areas. This is due in part to the fact that previously incarcerated people often struggle to find legitimate work after leaving prison and are often convicted of another offense. Many of the states with the lowest median incomes have relatively high rates of violent crime and incarceration. These issues are often concentrated in larger cities with densely packed areas that have long struggled with systemic poverty. These are the cities hit hardest by extreme poverty in every state.

Violent crimes make up a relatively small percentage of all reported crimes in America, with property crimes making up the majority. There were 381 violent crimes for every 100,000 Americans in 2018, but 2,200 property crimes per 100,000. While property crimes are not fatal or physically harmful, they can nevertheless take an emotional and psychological toll on the victims. One such crime is motor vehicle theft — a crime that is much more likely to occur in larger cities. This is where your car is most likely to be stolen in every state.

Click here to see America’s most peaceful and violent states
Click here to read our methodology

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50. Rhode Island
> Violent crime rate: 219 per 100,000 (9th lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.5 per 100,000 (2nd lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 158 per 100,000 (3rd lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 12.9% (24th highest)

Rhode Island ranks as the most peaceful state in America. It has the second lowest murder rate (after South Dakota) at 1.5 incidents per 100,000 residents, and the lowest rate of deaths by firearms in the country.

The state reported 219 violent crimes per 100,000 residents — well below the overall U.S. violent crime rate of 381 incidents per 100,000. Robbery, rape, aggravated assault, and murder are categorized as violent crimes. Rhode Island’s violent crime rate declined 6.4% from 2017 to 2018, the two most recent years for which data is available.

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49. Maine
> Violent crime rate: 112 per 100,000 (the lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.8 per 100,000 (6th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 135 per 100,000 (the lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 11.6% (19th lowest)

Maine has the lowest violent crime rate of any state, at 112 incidents per 100,000 residents — just a fraction of the 381 per 100,000 violent crime rate in the country overall. Partially as a result, the state also has the lowest incarceration rate. Maine had just 135 federal and state prisoners per 100,000 residents in 2018, well below the U.S. incarceration rate of 448 per 100,000.

Maine has among the lowest rates of each different kind of violent crime — it ranks 6th lowest in murder, eighth lowest in rape, third lowest in robbery, and the lowest in aggravated assault.

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48. Connecticut
> Violent crime rate: 207 per 100,000 (5th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.3 per 100,000 (12th lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 252 per 100,000 (12th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 10.4% (10th lowest)

Although Connecticut already had among the lowest violent crime rates in the nation in 2017, it experienced one of the largest declines in violent crime between 2017 and 2018. The state’s violent crime rate dropped 9.5% to 207 incidents per 100,000. For comparison, the overall U.S. violent crime rate dropped 3.6% during that same time.

Partially as a result, Connecticut also has one of the lowest incarceration rates at 252 people per 100,000 residents. The state’s murder rate of 2.3 incidents per 100,000 is less than half that of the U.S. murder rate.

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47. Hawaii
> Violent crime rate: 249 per 100,000 (14th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.5 per 100,000 (16th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 230 per 100,000 (10th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 8.8% (2nd lowest)

Hawaii also ranks as one of America’s most peaceful states in part because there are relatively few firearms related deaths — just 4.0 incidents per 100,000 residents, the third lowest share of any state. Violent crime and poverty are highly correlated, so the lack of poverty may be one of the reasons the violent crime rate in Hawaii is so low. It has the second lowest poverty rate in the nation (after New Hampshire) at 8.8% and a violent crime rate of 249 incidents per 100,000, well below the U.S. violent crime rate of 381 incidents per 100,000.

Even though it was not considered in the index, Hawaii has a relatively high property crime rate. From 2017 to 2018, it was the only state to experience an increase in the property crime rate. Its rate increased 1.2%, as the nationwide rate of property crime fell 6.9%. Hawaii’s 2,870 property crimes per 100,000 residents is the ninth highest among states.

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46. Massachusetts
> Violent crime rate: 338 per 100,000 (25th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.0 per 100,000 (9th lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 145 per 100,000 (2nd lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 10.0% (8th lowest)

Though the violent crime rate in Massachusetts ranks towards the middle of all states, the New England state ranks as one of the five most peaceful states in the country. This is due in part to the state’s low murder rate of 2.0 incidents per 100,000 — less than half of the overall U.S. murder rate. Massachusetts also ranks among the least violent because of its relatively low share of firearm deaths, 3.5 per 100,000 residents, and incarceration rate, 145 per 100,000 residents, respectively. Both of those rates are the second lowest in the country.

However, Massachusetts does have a higher rate of aggravated assault than most other states. The state reported 249 aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents, in line with the overall U.S. rate.

45. Minnesota
> Violent crime rate: 220 per 100,000 (10th lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.9 per 100,000 (7th lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 179 per 100,000 (4th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 9.6% (6th lowest)

Minnesota is the most peaceful Midwestern state, ranking among the 10 states with the lowest rates of murder, violent crime, incarceration, and firearm deaths. It is one of just eight states with fewer than two murders per 100,000 residents.

Minnesota’s rate of violent crimes per 100,000 residents declined by 8% from 2017 to 2018, more than double the 3.6% decline seen across the country. This likely contributed to the 5.7% decline in the number of federal and state prisoners under Minnesota’s jurisdiction from 2017 to 2018. For context, the prison population declined by 1.6% nationwide during that period.

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44. New Jersey
> Violent crime rate: 208 per 100,000 (6th lowest)
> Murder rate: 3.2 per 100,000 (20th lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 217 per 100,000 (8th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 9.5% (5th lowest)

New Jersey ranks among the most peaceful states in the nation, with the sixth lowest overall violent crime rate. New Jersey has the lowest rate of rape among all states, at 16 incidents per 100,000 residents, less than half the U.S. rate. It also has the fifth lowest rate of aggravated assault, with 117 incidents per 100,000 — less than half of the U.S. rate.

New Jersey has among the most strict gun laws in the nation. This may contribute to the low rate of firearm deaths in the state. There were only 4.8 accidental discharges, intentional self-harm by firearm, assault, and legal interventions that resulted in death for every 100,000 residents — the fifth lowest rate among states.

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43. New Hampshire
> Violent crime rate: 173 per 100,000 (3rd lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.5 per 100,000 (3rd lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 202 per 100,000 (6th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 7.6% (the lowest)

There is a correlation between crime and poverty, and New Hampshire may rank among the most peaceful states in the country because just 7.6% of residents live in poverty — the lowest rate among all states. For comparison, the U.S. poverty rate is 13.1%.

New Hampshire has the third lowest murder rate, with just 1.5 murders per 100,000, less than a third of the U.S. rate of 5.0. The state also has the second lowest rate of aggravated assault. Its 106 assaults for every 100,000 residents is less than half the U.S. rate.

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42. Vermont
> Violent crime rate: 172 per 100,000 (2nd lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.6 per 100,000 (4th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 187 per 100,000 (5th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 11.0% (14th lowest)

Like all other New England states, Vermont ranks among the 10 most peaceful in the country. It has the second lowest violent crime rate among states at 172 crimes per 100,000 residents, less than half the rate nationwide.

Partially as a result, Vermont has the fifth lowest incarceration rate with just 187 people per 100,000. However, this is changing, as Vermont’s prison population grew more than any other state between 2017 and 2018, at 7.3%. Nationwide, the prison population dropped 1.6% between those two years.

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41. Iowa
> Violent crime rate: 250 per 100,000 (15th lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.7 per 100,000 (5th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 297 per 100,000 (16th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 11.2% (18th lowest)

Iowa is one of just four states in which violent crime dropped by more than 10% from 2017 to 2018. The Midwestern state saw a 13% drop in violent crime per capita, spurred in part by a 45.1% drop in murders — both the second largest declines among all states.

In Iowa, the rates of both rape and robbery dropped by more than 25% — the first and third largest declines, respectively. Paradoxically, Iowa had the second largest percentage increase in its total prison population, at 4.4%. Nationwide, the prison population decreased by 1.6% from 2017 to 2018. Still, the state has a relatively small share of residents imprisoned at 297 per 100,000, compared to 448 per 100,000 in the typical state.

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40. New York
> Violent crime rate: 351 per 100,000 (25th highest)
> Murder rate: 2.9 per 100,000 (17th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 239 per 100,000 (11th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 13.6% (18th highest)

Although New York has a higher violent crime rate than about half of all states at 351 incidents per 100,000 residents, it still has a lower violent crime rate than the country overall, at 381 per 100,000. New York only outpaced the United States in one violent crime category — robbery, at 93.1 incidents per 100,000. New York ranks 10th among all states, well outpacing the nation, which reported 86 robberies per 100,000 residents.

New York ranks among the most peaceful states in part because firearm deaths are relatively uncommon there. Between accidental discharges, intentional self-harm by firearm, assault, and legal interventions, there were just 4.1 firearm deaths per 100,000 New Yorkers in 2018, the fourth lowest share among states. For context, just 10 states had fewer than 10 firearm deaths per 100,000 residents.

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39. Nebraska
> Violent crime rate: 285 per 100,000 (18th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.3 per 100,000 (12th lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 280 per 100,000 (15th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 11.0% (15th lowest)

The violent crime rate in Nebraska dropped 8.7% from 2017 to 2018, a larger decline than all but six states. Though the state’s murder rate increased slightly, to 2.3 incidents per 100,000 residents, that is still less than half the U.S. homicide rate. Nebraska’s rates of robbery and aggravated assault per 100,000 are also well below the national rate.

Despite this decline in violent crime, the Nebraska prison population grew more rapidly than all but two other states, increasing 3.4% to nearly 5,500 total incarcerated people. Still, it has a relatively low share of its residents in prison, at 280 people per 100,000, well below the 448 per 100,000 national share of incarcerated people. Nebraska ranked as one of the most peaceful states in part because it reported nine firearm deaths per 100,000 residents in 2018, making it one of just 10 states with fewer than 10 firearm deaths per 100,000.

38. Utah
> Violent crime rate: 233 per 100,000 (12th lowest)
> Murder rate: 1.9 per 100,000 (7th lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 208 per 100,000 (7th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 9.0% (3rd lowest)

Utah has a much lower violent crime rate, at 233 incidents per 100,000, than the country as a whole, at 381 incidents per 100,000. It also has a murder rate less than half that of the U.S. murder rate, at 1.9 homicides per 100,000.

Crime and poverty are highly correlated, and Utah residents are much less likely to struggle financially than the typical American. The state has a 9.0% poverty rate, lower than that of all but three other states. Utah also has the lowest share of households earning less than $10,000, at 3.9%.

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37. North Dakota
> Violent crime rate: 281 per 100,000 (17th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.4 per 100,000 (15th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 221 per 100,000 (9th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 10.7% (12th lowest)

Though North Dakota still has a relatively low murder rate, no state had a larger percentage increase in homicides per 100,000 residents year over year. As one of the smallest states in terms of population, North Dakota recorded just 10 homicides in 2017 and 18 murders in 2018 — a 78.8% increase. Still, this equates to a homicide rate of 2.4 incidents per 100,000 people, less than half the national rate.

North Dakota’s violent crime rate is one of the lower shares among states, at 281 violent crimes per 100,000. Partially as a result, the state has one of the lowest prison populations per capita. The state’s 221 incarcerated people per 100,000 is less than half that of the U.S. prison share of 448 per 100,000.

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36. Oregon
> Violent crime rate: 286 per 100,000 (19th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.0 per 100,000 (9th lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 362 per 100,000 (25th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 12.6% (25th lowest)

Though Oregon ranks among the most peaceful states, the violent crime rate is on the rise in the Northwestern state. With 1.8% more violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2018 than in 2017, it is one of just nine states that experienced an increase in violent crime.

Still, violent crimes are relatively uncommon in Oregon. Its 286 incidents per 100,000 residents is well below the U.S. violent crime rate of 381 per 100,000.

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35. Washington
> Violent crime rate: 312 per 100,000 (23rd lowest)
> Murder rate: 3.1 per 100,000 (19th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 256 per 100,000 (13th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 10.3% (9th lowest)

Washington has a relatively low violent crime rate of 312 incidents per 100,000 residents, compared to 381 per 100,000 in the U.S. as a whole. Yet while the U.S. violent crime rate dropped 3.6% from 2017 to 2018, Washington’s climbed by 2.9%. It was one of just nine states in which the violent crime rate increased from 2017 to 2018. All four kinds of violent crime — murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — became more common.

Washington ranks among the most peaceful states in America in part because gun violence is relatively rare. The Northwestern state reported 10.4 firearm deaths per 100,000 residents in 2018, a lower share than all but a dozen other states.

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34. Wisconsin
> Violent crime rate: 295 per 100,000 (21st lowest)
> Murder rate: 3.0 per 100,000 (18th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 391 per 100,000 (20th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 11.0% (16th lowest)

From 2017 to 2018, Wisconsin experienced one of the sharpest declines in violent crime of any state. While nationwide the violent crime rate fell from 395 incidents per 100,000 Americans in 2017 to 381 incidents per 100,000 in 2018, in Wisconsin the figure fell from 322 incidents per 100,000 to 295 per 100,000 — an 8.2% drop.

Property crimes fell by a similarly large magnitude. The incidence of property crime — which includes burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft — in Wisconsin fell from 1,811 per 100,000 in 2017 to 1,560 per 100,000 in 2018, a 13.9% decline. In comparison, the national property crime rate fell 6.9% over the same period, from 2,363 incidents per 100,000 Americans to 2,200 per 100,000.

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33. Idaho
> Violent crime rate: 227 per 100,000 (11th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.0 per 100,000 (9th lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 444 per 100,000 (12th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 11.8% (20th lowest)

Idaho has a lower violent crime rate than all but 10 states, at 227 incidents per 100,000 residents. This is due in part to the fact that robberies are very rare. Idaho’s robbery rate of 11.4 incidents per 100,000 residents is the second lowest of all states and a fraction of the nation’s robbery rate, which is 86.2 per 100,000 people.

Despite the relatively low occurrence of violent crimes, Idaho has one of the higher prison populations, with 444 incarcerated people for every 100,000 residents — most states have fewer than 375 per 100,000. It was also one of just a dozen states in which the share of residents that are incarcerated increased from 2017 to 2018.

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32. Virginia
> Violent crime rate: 200 per 100,000 (4th lowest)
> Murder rate: 4.6 per 100,000 (24th highest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 429 per 100,000 (16th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 10.7% (11th lowest)

Virginia is one of the safest states in the country. In 2018 there were 200 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents, the fourth lowest violent crime rate in the country and nearly half the U.S. rate of 381 incidents per 100,000 Americans. There were 183 burglaries per 100,000 Virginia residents that year, the third lowest burglary rate of any state.

While Virginia has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country, the state has one of the larger prison populations relative to its size. There are 429 federal and state prisoners per 100,000 residents in Virginia, the 16th highest incarceration rate of any state.

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31. South Dakota
> Violent crime rate: 405 per 100,000 (18th highest)
> Murder rate: 1.4 per 100,000 (the lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 444 per 100,000 (13th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 13.1% (20th highest)

South Dakota reported just 1.4 murders per 100,000 residents in 2018, the lowest murder rate of any state. The state’s murder rate fell by more than half from the previous year. Yet the state still has one of the higher violent crime rates among states, with 405 incidents per 100,000 residents.

South Dakota reported nearly 70 rapes per 100,000 residents in 2018, the sixth highest rate among states. Its rate of 304 aggravated assaults per 100,000 was also well above the national rate.

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30. California
> Violent crime rate: 447 per 100,000 (14th highest)
> Murder rate: 4.4 per 100,000 (25th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 321 per 100,000 (19th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 12.8% (25th highest)

California has a relatively high violent crime rate, at 447 incidents per 100,000. This is largely driven by the state’s high incidence of robberies. With 137 robberies reported for every 100,000 residents, California has the second highest share of this crime, well beyond the U.S. robbery rate of 86 incidents per 100,000 residents.

Despite its high violent crime rate, California does not rank among the more violent states in America. This is due in part to the fact that firearm deaths are relatively rare. California reported just 7.5 firearm deaths per 100,000 residents, a lower share than all but six other states.

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29. Wyoming
> Violent crime rate: 212 per 100,000 (8th lowest)
> Murder rate: 2.3 per 100,000 (12th lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 441 per 100,000 (14th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 11.1% (17th lowest)

Wyoming has a lower violent crime rate than all but seven other states, at 212 incidents per 100,000 residents, and a murder rate less than half that of the nation as a whole. Wyoming reported just 17 robberies for every 100,000 residents, roughly one-fifth of the U.S. robbery rate.

Though Wyoming has relatively low violent crime and murder rates, firearms deaths are still alarmingly common. For every 100,000 Wyoming residents, 21.5 died as a result of a firearm discharge — the third highest share of any state. These include accidental discharges, intentional self-harm by firearm, assault, and legal interventions that resulted in death.

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28. Ohio
> Violent crime rate: 280 per 100,000 (16th lowest)
> Murder rate: 4.8 per 100,000 (23rd highest)
> Incarceration rate: 431 per 100,000 (15th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 13.9% (16th highest)

Ohio had one of the largest declines in its murder rate from 2017 to 2018 — falling 24.1% from 6.4 incidents per 100,000 residents to 4.8 homicides per 100,0000, just below the national rate. Its violent crime rate of 280 incidents per 100,000 residents is also well below the national rate of 381 per 100,000.

In spite of the low crime rate, incarceration is relatively common. Ohio has the 15th highest incarceration rate in the country, as there are 431 incarcerated people for every 100,000 residents.

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27. West Virginia
> Violent crime rate: 290 per 100,000 (20th lowest)
> Murder rate: 3.7 per 100,000 (23rd lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 376 per 100,000 (23rd highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 17.8% (4th highest)

No state had a larger reduction in violent crime from 2017 to 2018 than West Virginia. Its violent crime rate dropped nearly 20%, from 361 to 289.9 incidents per 100,000 residents. Partially as a result, it ranked as the 27th most violent state, improving from 18th the previous year.

The total number of murders dropped from 98 in 2017 to 67 in 2018 — resulting in a murder rate of 3.7 incidents per 100,00, below the nation’s 5.0 per 100,000 murder rate. West Virginia does, however, have a high share of firearm deaths per capita. The state reported 18.2 firearm deaths per 100,000 residents — the ninth highest among states. This includes accidental discharges, intentional self-harm by firearm, assault, and legal interventions that resulted in death.

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26. Colorado
> Violent crime rate: 397 per 100,000 (20th highest)
> Murder rate: 3.7 per 100,000 (23rd lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 353 per 100,000 (23rd lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 9.6% (7th lowest)

While violent crime became less common in most states from 2017 to 2018, Colorado saw a 6.7% increase — the third highest in the country. Violent crimes — which include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — are now slightly more common in Colorado, at 397 incidents per 100,000 than they are nationwide. The U.S. violent crime rate is 381 incidents per 100,000 residents.

This bump in violent crime was largely driven by aggravated assaults. Colorado reported 12.1% more aggravated assaults per 100,000 residents in 2017 than it did in 2018. During that same time, aggravated assaults across the U.S. fell by 1%.

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25. Montana
> Violent crime rate: 374 per 100,000 (24th highest)
> Murder rate: 3.2 per 100,000 (20th lowest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 353 per 100,000 (24th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 13.0% (22nd highest)

Montana ranks towards the middle of all states in a number of measures of violence and crime. In 2018 there were 374 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents, roughly in line with the national violent crime rate of 381 incidents per 100,000 Americans. There were 2,496 property crimes per 100,000 Montana residents, slightly above the national property crime rate of 2,200 per 100,000.

Firearm deaths, however, are more common in Montana than in most of the country. Montana has more guns per capita than most of the United States, and in 2018 there were 17.3 firearm deaths per 100,000 Montana residents — more than the national rate of 11.9 deaths per 100,000 Americans and the 13th most of any state.

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24. Pennsylvania
> Violent crime rate: 306 per 100,000 (22nd lowest)
> Murder rate: 6.1 per 100,000 (13th highest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 366 per 100,000 (25th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 12.2% (23rd lowest)

Pennsylvania ranks as more violent than most other states in large part because of its murder rate. With 6.1 homicides for every 100,000 residents, there are only a dozen other states with a higher murder rate. The state’s murder rate increased 5.5% from 2017 to 2018, even as the nation’s murder rate declined 6.8%.

Still, Pennsylvania’s violent crime rate of 306 incidents per 100,000 residents is lower than the American violent crime rate of 381 incidents per 100,000.

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23. Delaware
> Violent crime rate: 424 per 100,000 (16th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.0 per 100,000 (22nd highest)
> Incarceration rate: 410 per 100,000 (18th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 12.5% (24th lowest)

There were 424 violent crimes reported per 100,000 Delaware residents in 2018, far more than the national violent crime rate of 381 incidents per 100,000 Americans and the 16th most of any state. While there are more violent crimes per capita in Delaware than in most of the country, Delaware ranks below the United States as a whole in a number of other measures related to violence and crime.

In 2018 there were 11.6 firearm deaths per 100,000 residents, slightly below the national rate of 11.9 deaths per 100,000 Americans. Delaware also has a smaller prison population relative to its size than most states, with 410 state and federal prisoners per 100,000 residents — below the national incarceration rate of 448 inmates per 100,000 Americans.

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22. Kansas
> Violent crime rate: 439 per 100,000 (15th highest)
> Murder rate: 3.9 per 100,000 (24th lowest)
> Incarceration rate: 342 per 100,000 (22nd lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 12.0% (21st lowest)

Though Kansas ranks as the 22nd most violent state in the country, it had the second highest jump in violent crime from 2017 to 2018. Even as the overall American violent crime rate declined 3.6%, Kansas’ grew by 9.6%.

This increase was propelled by a 4.2% increase in rapes per 100,000 — double the national rate of increase — up to 54 incidents per 100,000. Nationwide, there were 43 rapes per 100,000. The state also has reported 328 aggravated assaults per 100,00 residents, 11th in the nation. Kansas reported a 14% increase in aggravated assaults from 2017 to 2018, the second highest growth rate.

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21. Kentucky
> Violent crime rate: 212 per 100,000 (7th lowest)
> Murder rate: 5.5 per 100,000 (18th highest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 523 per 100,000 (7th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 16.9% (6th highest)

Kentucky’s violent crime rate of 212 incidents per 100,000 residents is one of the lowest in the nation. This is largely because the state reported just 113 aggravated assaults for every 100,000 residents, less than half the U.S. rate.

However, Kentucky does not rank as one of the most peaceful states. Its murder rate of 5.5 incidents per 100,000 residents is above the 5.0 per 100,000 national murder rate. Firearms deaths are also relatively common in Kentucky. The state reported 16.9 such deaths for every 100,000 residents, well above the national firearms death rate of 11.9 incidents per 100,000. In spite of its relatively low violent crime rate, Kentucky has the seventh highest incarceration rate, at 523 people per 100,000 residents.

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20. Texas
> Violent crime rate: 411 per 100,000 (17th highest)
> Murder rate: 4.6 per 100,000 (24th highest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 549 per 100,000 (6th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 14.9% (11th highest)

In 2018 there were 411 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Texas, greater than the national rate of 381 incidents per 100,000 Americans and the 17th most of any state. There were 2,367 property crimes per 100,000 residents, above the national rate of 2,200 property crimes per 100,000 Americans.

A high incidence of violent crime may be one factor contributing to the high incarceration rate in Texas. There are currently 549 state and federal prisoners in Texas per 100,000 residents, far above the national average of 448 inmates per 100,000 Americans and the sixth highest incarceration rate of any state.

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19. Florida
> Violent crime rate: 385 per 100,000 (21st highest)
> Murder rate: 5.2 per 100,000 (19th highest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 454 per 100,000 (10th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 13.6% (17th highest)

Florida has among the 10 highest incarceration rates in the nation. For every 100,000 residents, 454 are incarcerated. It is one of a dozen states in which the murder rate increased from 2017 to 2018. There were 5.2 murders per 100,000 people in Florida in 2018, slightly higher than the U.S. rate.

However, the violent crime rate in Florida did decline by 5.7% from 2017 to 2018 — a larger reduction than in most other states, and a greater decline than the 3.6% reduction seen in the U.S. overall.

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18. North Carolina
> Violent crime rate: 378 per 100,000 (23rd highest)
> Murder rate: 6.0 per 100,000 (15th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 324 per 100,000 (20th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 14.0% (15th highest)

While the violent crime rate decreased in 41 states from 2017 to 2018, it increased in North Carolina by 1.9%. No state had a more drastic increase in the rate of rape than North Carolina, with 34%. Yet the state’s rate of rape is the fifth lowest in the country at 25 incidents per 100,000 residents, compared to 43 incidents per 100,000 nationwide.

The state also had a notable bump in aggravated assaults per capita, increasing 6.4% to 265 assaults per 100,000 residents. Though the state’s murder rate declined slightly to 6.0 incidents per 100,000, it is still higher than the national rate of 5.0 homicides per 100,000 residents.

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17. Illinois
> Violent crime rate: 404 per 100,000 (19th highest)
> Murder rate: 6.9 per 100,000 (9th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 314 per 100,000 (18th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 12.1% (22nd lowest)

Illinois has among the highest murder rates in the country, with 6.9 incidents per 100,000 residents. It also ranks sixth in rate of robbery, with nearly 112 incidents for every 100,000 residents. Overall, the state’s violent crime rate of 404 crimes per 100,000 residents outpaces the U.S. violent crime rate of 381 incidents per 100,000.

Danville, about 120 miles south of Chicago, just across the border from Indiana, is one of the most dangerous cities in the country. It is one of just two metro areas to report more than 20 murders per 100,000 residents, and it ranks fifth in the nation in terms of violent crimes per capita.

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16. Michigan
> Violent crime rate: 449 per 100,000 (13th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.5 per 100,000 (18th highest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 387 per 100,000 (22nd highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 14.1% (13th highest)

Michigan ranks among the most violent states largely for its high violent crime rate. There were 449 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Michigan in 2018, far more than the national violent crime rate of 381 incidents per 100,000 Americans and the 13th most of any state.

Like in most states, the high violent crime rate in Michigan is driven by its urban areas. In Detroit, the largest city in the state, there were 535 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, the 53rd most of any U.S. metro area. In Flint there were 683 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents, the most of any metro area in Michigan and the 24th most of any metro area nationwide.

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15. Georgia
> Violent crime rate: 327 per 100,000 (24th lowest)
> Murder rate: 6.1 per 100,000 (13th highest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 501 per 100,000 (8th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 14.3% (12th highest)

Georgia’s murder rate of 6.1 incidents per 100,000 is one of the highest in the country, well above the national murder rate of 5.0 homicides per 100,000. However, the state has one of the lower violent crime rates, at 327 incidents per 100,000 — largely because aggravated assaults, rapes, and robberies are less common in Georgia than they are nationwide.

Though most states have a higher rate of violent crime than Georgia, it still ranks as the 15th most violent state. This is in part because the state reported 15.7 firearms deaths for every 100,000 residents, well beyond the American rate of 11.9 deaths per 100,000. Georgia is also one of just eight states in which more than 500 people per 100,000 are incarcerated.

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14. Indiana
> Violent crime rate: 382 per 100,000 (22nd highest)
> Murder rate: 6.5 per 100,000 (11th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 400 per 100,000 (19th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 13.1% (21st highest)

Indiana’s violent crime rate of 382 incidents per 100,000 residents is roughly in line with the national violent crime rate. However, its murder rate of 6.5 homicides per 100,000 residents is higher than all but 10 other states, and it is increasing. While the U.S. homicide rate dropped 6.8% from 2017 to 2018, Indiana’s increased 5.5%.

Indiana’s incarceration rate also increased year over year, up to 400 inmates per 100,000 residents, the 19th highest ratio.

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13. Arizona
> Violent crime rate: 475 per 100,000 (10th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.1 per 100,000 (21st highest)
> Incarceration rate: 559 per 100,000 (5th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 14.0% (14th highest)

In 2018 there were 475 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in Arizona far above the national violent crime rate of 381 incidents per 100,000 Americans and the 10th most of any state. Similarly, there were 2,677 property crimes reported per 100,000 Arizona residents, greater than the national rate of 2,200 property crimes per 100,000 Americans.

A high incidence of violent crime may be one factor contributing to the high incarceration rate in Arizona. There are currently 559 state and federal prisoners incarcerated in Arizona per 100,000 residents, far above the national average of 448 inmates per 100,000 Americans and the fifth highest incarceration rate of any state.

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12. Maryland
> Violent crime rate: 469 per 100,000 (11th highest)
> Murder rate: 8.1 per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> Incarceration rate: 310 per 100,000 (17th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 9.0% (4th lowest)

Maryland has the highest rate of robbery in the country. There were 161 reported robberies for every 100,000 residents, nearly double the national rate of 86 incidents per 100,000 residents. It also had the third highest murder rate in the nation, at 8.1 incidents per 100,000 residents. This was largely driven by the high homicide rate in Baltimore — the city has one of the highest murder rates in the country and one of the highest in the entire world.

In spite of this high murder rate, Maryland still ranks fairly low among states in terms of the number of firearm deaths per capita. The state reported 11.7 incidents per 100,000 residents, lower than 31 other states.

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11. Mississippi
> Violent crime rate: 234 per 100,000 (13th lowest)
> Murder rate: 5.7 per 100,000 (16th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 626 per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 19.7% (the highest)

While Mississippi has one of the lower violent crime rates of any state — there were 234 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2018, below the national rate of 381 incidents per 100,000 — the state has a high gun death rate and a large incarcerated population. Mississippi has more guns per capita than a majority of states, and in 2018 there were 22.9 firearm deaths per 100,000 residents — nearly twice the national rate of 11.9 deaths per 100,000 Americans and the most of any state nationwide.

Mississippi is home to 626 state and federal prisoners per 100,000 residents, far above the national average of 448 inmates per 100,000 Americans and the third highest incarceration rate of any state.

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10. Oklahoma
> Violent crime rate: 466 per 100,000 (12th highest)
> Murder rate: 5.2 per 100,000 (19th highest – tied)
> Incarceration rate: 693 per 100,000 (2nd highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 15.6% (8th highest)

Oklahoma ranks among America’s 10 most violent states, as it has a higher incidence of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault than most other states. The state has the ninth highest shares of both rape and aggravated assault among states. Oklahoma is one of just nine states in which the violent crime rate in 2018 was higher than it was in 2017. Its 1.9% increase was the sixth highest in the nation.

The state has the second highest prison population per capita among all states at 693 incarcerated people per 100,000. This is well above the U.S. rate of 448 incarcerated people per 100,000.

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9. South Carolina
> Violent crime rate: 488 per 100,000 (9th highest)
> Murder rate: 7.7 per 100,000 (6th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 366 per 100,000 (24th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 15.3% (10th highest)

South Carolina reported 488 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2018, well beyond the 381 incidents per 100,000 in the U.S. overall. The Southern state has among the 10 highest rates of murder and aggravated assault. Poverty and crime are strongly correlated, and South Carolina has the 10th highest rate of poverty, at 15.3%.

South Carolina is home to one of the most violent metro areas in the nation, in Florence. It reported 16 homicides for every 100,000 residents — the fourth highest rate among all metro areas and more than triple the U.S. murder rate.

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8. Nevada
> Violent crime rate: 541 per 100,000 (5th highest)
> Murder rate: 6.7 per 100,000 (10th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 445 per 100,000 (11th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 12.9% (23rd highest)

Nevada’s violent crime statistics looked very different in 2018 than they did the year before. The state’s murder rate dropped more than 25%, though it was still higher than in all but nine other states at 6.7 incidents per 100,000 residents. Its rate of robbery also declined more than 20%, but still remains among the five highest in the nation, with over 127 robberies reported for every 100,000 residents.

Nevada’s incidence of rape and aggravated assaults is increasing. The rate of rapes per capita increased more than 20% — the second highest increase in the country — to nearly 77 incidents per 100,000 residents, the third highest rate. Nationally, the rate of rape increased 2.1% from 2017 to 2018. The nation’s rate of aggravated assault declined 1.0% during that time, but in Nevada, it increased 1.7% to 330 assaults per 100,000 residents, the 10th highest share among states.

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7. Tennessee
> Violent crime rate: 624 per 100,000 (3rd highest)
> Murder rate: 7.4 per 100,000 (7th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 387 per 100,000 (21st highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 15.3% (9th highest)

Tennessee is one of just three states with more than 600 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. The Southern state reported the third most aggravated assaults per capita in 2018, with 469 incidents per 100,000 residents, and ranked seventh with 106 robberies per 100,000 residents. It also ranks seventh in murder, with 7.4 incidents per 100,000 residents.

Tennessee’s violent crime rate is improving, however. Between 2017 and 2018, the state’s murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault rates all declined significantly.

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6. Arkansas
> Violent crime rate: 544 per 100,000 (4th highest)
> Murder rate: 7.2 per 100,000 (8th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 589 per 100,000 (4th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 17.2% (5th highest)

The violent crime rate in Arkansas of 544 incidents per 100,000 residents is well above the national rate of 381 incidents per 100,000. It ranks among the top 10 states in terms of murder rate (eighth), rate of rape (fourth), and aggravated assault (fourth). This contributes to the state’s relatively high incarceration rate of 589 people per 100,000, the fourth highest in America.

Impoverished areas tend to have higher rates of crime, and Arkansas is no exception. The state has a 17.2% poverty rate, well above the 13.1% national rate.

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5. Alabama
> Violent crime rate: 520 per 100,000 (7th highest)
> Murder rate: 7.8 per 100,000 (5th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 418 per 100,000 (17th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 16.8% (7th highest)

Alabama has the fifth highest murder rate in the country, with 7.8 incidents per 100,000 residents. It also has the fifth highest rate of aggravated assault. Its rate of 388 incidents per 100,000 is well above the national rate of 247 aggravated assaults per 100,000 people.

Alabama has the second highest rate of firearm deaths per capita among states — accidental discharges, intentional self-harm by firearm, assault, and legal interventions — with 21.8 incidents per 100,000 residents.

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4. Missouri
> Violent crime rate: 502 per 100,000 (8th highest)
> Murder rate: 9.9 per 100,000 (2nd highest)
> Incarceration rate: 495 per 100,000 (9th highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 13.2% (19th highest)

Missouri has the second highest murder rate in the country, with 9.9 incidents per 100,000 residents. This is nearly double the U.S. rate of 5.0 incidents per 100,000. This is largely because of St. Louis, which has one of the highest murder rates in the country and indeed the entire world. Missouri is one of a dozen states in which the murder rate increased from 2017 to 2018.

Missouri has 21.5 firearm deaths per 100,000 residents, the third highest rate among states. It also ranks among the top 10 states in terms of incarceration, with 495 prisoners per 100,000 residents.

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3. Alaska
> Violent crime rate: 885 per 100,000 (the highest)
> Murder rate: 6.4 per 100,000 (12th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 263 per 100,000 (14th lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 10.9% (13th lowest)

Alaska ranks 12th in the country for murders, with 6.4 per 100,000 residents, but still has the highest violent crime rate. This is due in part to the alarmingly high rate of rape in the state, at 162 incidents per 100,000 residents. This is nearly four times the U.S. rate of 43 incidents per 100,000 and more than twice as high as the state with the next highest rate.

Alaska also has the second highest rate of aggravated assault in the nation, at 595 incidents per 100,000, more than double the U.S. rate of 247 incidents per 100,000. The state also ranks fifth in the rate of robbery, with 122 incidents per 100,000.

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2. New Mexico
> Violent crime rate: 857 per 100,000 (2nd highest)
> Murder rate: 8.0 per 100,000 (4th highest)
> Incarceration rate: 331 per 100,000 (21st lowest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 19.5% (2nd highest)

New Mexico is the second most violent state in the country, in large part because no state had a larger increase in violent crime from 2017 to 2018. Its violent crime rate went from 779 to 857 incidents per 100,000 residents, a 10% increase. The state reported 8.0 murders for every 100,000 residents, well above the nationwide rate of 5.0 murders per 100,000.

There is a strong statistical correlation between violent crime and poverty. New Mexico has the second highest poverty rate in the country at 19.5% — well above the U.S. poverty rate of 13.1%.

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1. Louisiana
> Violent crime rate: 538 per 100,000 (6th highest)
> Murder rate: 11.4 per 100,000 (the highest)
> Incarceration rate: 695 per 100,000 (the highest)
> 2018 poverty rate: 18.6% (3rd highest)

Louisiana ranks as the most violent state in America. Though its violent crime rate is only the sixth highest in the nation, it has by far the highest murder rate in the nation, at 11.4 incidents per 100,000 residents. Louisiana is the only state with more than twice as many murders per capita as the U.S. overall, at 5.0 murders per 100,000. The state also ranks ninth in robberies per capita and fifth in aggravated assault per capita.

Louisiana also has the highest share of its residents in prison of any state, with 695 prisoners per 100,000 residents. The state ranks fifth in the nation in terms of firearm death per capita, with 21.4 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2018.

Methodology

To identify the most and least violent states, 24/7 Wall St. created an index based on four measures: the murder rate, the violent crime rate excluding murder, firearms deaths, and the incarceration rate. We drew on the 2012 United States Peace Index from the Institute for Economics and Peace. We gave full weight in the index to two of the measures: the number of murders and the number of violent crimes (excluding murder) per 100,000 people, both of which came from the FBI’s 2018 Uniform Crime Report. Incarceration rates, which capture state prisons only, were given a one-quarter weighting and came from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and are for 2017.

Figures firearms deaths are for 2018 and are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This component received a three-quarter weight. These data sets are frequently based on disparate and inconsistent population totals, so all state rates for the purposes of this index were calculated based on 2018 one-year Census American Community Survey population counts. Data on crime for cities and metropolitan areas also came from the FBI and incorporates the FBI’s population estimates.

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