Louisiana has once again been named the least peaceful state in America, retaining the title it has held for 20 years.
The United States Peace Index (USPI), produced by the UN-sponsored Vision of Humanity, provides a comprehensive measure of US peacefulness dating back to 1991.
It also provides an analysis of the socio-economic measures that are associated with peace as well as estimates of the costs of violence and the economic benefits that would flow from increases in peace.
In the report, a Metropolitan Peace Index has also been produced which measures the peacefulness of 61 metropolitan statistical areas within the US.
The USPI is based on the work of the Global Peace Index, the preeminent global measure of peacefulness, which has been produced by the Institute of Economics and Peace every year since 2007.
The USPI uses five indicators to assess peace throughout the US:
- Number of homicides per 100,000 people
- Number of violent crimes per 100,000 people
- Incarceration rate per 100,000 people
- Number of police employees per 100,000 people
- Availability of small arms
Maine is the most peaceful state in the U.S. for the 11th year in a row and Louisiana is the least peaceful.
The Northeast of the country continues to be the most peaceful region with three of the five most peaceful states.
The South is once again the least peaceful region in America, with four of the five least peaceful states.
For the 20th year in a row, Louisiana is the least peaceful state.
There are significant economic benefits from improving peacefulness. Violence and violence containment cost the average taxpayer $3,257 each year.
If all the states in the U.S. had the same level of peacefulness as the most peaceful state (Maine), the total economic effect would be over 274 billion dollars.
More peaceful states tend to have more economic opportunities, better provision of basic services and higher levels of educational attainment.
In addition, the USPI has repeatedly found there is a strong correlation between social capital and peace. More peaceful states tend to have more social capital which represents a better sense of community and higher rates of volunteerism.
Vision of Humanity also produces a UK, Mexico and Global Peace Index annually.
Least peaceful: Louisiana
Louisiana is once again the least peaceful state in the U.S., a position it has held for the last twenty years.
Furthermore, the gap between Louisiana and the 49th ranked Tennessee is greater than any other gap between two states.
Louisiana is ranked last in the nation on homicides, equal last on incarceration and ranks in the bottom ten on the other three indicators.
Most peaceful: Maine
Maine is once again the most peaceful state in America, retaining the title it has held since the year 2000.
Maine is ranked first in the U.S. on three of the five indicators, with the lowest levels of violent crime, incarceration, and police employees.
It is also ranked in the top ten on the homicide indicator but performs poorly on small arms, where it is ranked 28th.
Complete rankings of the United States Peace Index (USPI)
The USPI is a composite measure made up of five indicators: homicide, violent crime, incarceration, police employees and small arms. The lower the score the more peaceful the state.
The below is the complete rankings of the most peaceful state to the least peaceful state.
- Maine, 1.308
- Vermont, 1.547
- New Hampshire, 1.551
- Minnesota, 1.614
- Utah, 1.723
- North Dakota, 1.744
- Washington, 1.782
- Hawaii, 1.784
- Rhode Island, 1.788
- Iowa, 1.865
- Nebraska, 1.927
- Massachusetts, 2.004
- Oregon, 2.072
- Connecticut, 2.194
- West Virginia, 2.197
- Idaho, 2.226
- Wyoming, 2.264
- Montana, 2.273
- Wisconsin, 2.302
- Kentucky, 2.318
- South Dakota, 2.318
- Ohio, 2.328
- Indiana, 2.345
- Pennsylvania, 2.375
- Virginia, 2.477
- Colorado, 2.526
- Kansas, 2.573
- New Jersey, 2.631
- Michigan, 2.694
- North Carolina, 2.714
- New York, 2.722
- California, 2.738
- Alaska, 2.751
- New Mexico, 2.853
- Illinois, 2.892
- Georgia, 3.04
- Oklahoma, 3.111
- Maryland, 3.145
- Delaware, 3.148
- Alabama, 3.17
- Mississippi, 3.17
- South Carolina, 3.178
- Arkansas, 3.201
- Texas, 3.202
- Missouri, 3.205
- Arizona, 3.217
- Florida, 3.365
- Nevada, 3.368
- Tennessee, 3.413
- Louisiana, 4.049