Special Report

America's Most Peaceful and Violent States

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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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