ISSN 2330-717X

Maine Most Peaceful US State, Louisiana Least – US Peace Index


According to the U.S. Peace Index (USPI), Maine is the most peaceful U.S. state, while Louisiana is ranked the least peaceful.

The inaugural United States Peace Index – created by the international think tank Institute for Economics and Peace – is the first-ever ranking of the fifty U.S. states based on their levels of peace. According to the USPI, New York, California and Texas recorded highest increases in peace since 1991, while North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana saw the largest declines.

Overall, the USPI report showed that peace in the United States has improved since 1995 primarily driven by a substantial decrease in homicide and violent crime. Additionally, according to the report reductions in violence and crime to levels equal to Canada would yield an estimated $89 billion in direct savings, $272 billion in additional economic activity, and potentially create 2.7 million jobs.

The Institute for Economics and Peace estimates that at a time when states and lawmakers in Washington are struggling to balance budgets, the USPI shows reductions in violence, crime and incarcerations to the same levels as Canada would result in $361 billion in savings and additional economic activity. This additional economic activity has the potential to create 2.7 million jobs, which would significantly reduce unemployment.

The USPI also finds that a state’s ranking is strongly correlated with various socio-economic factors including the high school graduation rate, access to health insurance and the rate of infant mortality.

Significant economic correlants included the degree of income inequality and the rate of participation in the labor force.

Meanwhile, factors such as median income and a state’s political affiliation had no discernable impact on a state’s level of peace.

Additional Findings

The ten most peaceful states as identified by the USPI are (from 1 to 10) Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, North Dakota, Utah, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Iowa and Washington.

Maine was ranked first overall because it topped the list of states on three of the five USPI indicators: number of violent crimes, number of police officers and the incarceration rate.

The ten least peaceful states are (from 50 to 40) Louisiana, Tennessee, Nevada, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Maryland, respectively.

Regionally, southern states were identified as being the least peaceful, while states in the northeast were most peaceful. The peacefulness of states in the Midwest and West was about equal, with Midwest states being slightly more peaceful.

The total cost of violence per person in a state ranges from $656 in Maine to $2,458 in Louisiana. The USPI estimates that the economic effect of decreasing violence in states by 25 percent ranges from $126 million in Vermont to $16 billion in California.

New York experienced the most significant increase in peace as a result of decreases in violent crime and the homicide rate.

Conversely, South Dakota saw the largest decline due to a steady rise in incarcerations and the number of police without a fall in the incidence of homicide or violent crime.

“Peace is significantly correlated with factors related to economic opportunity, education and health,” noted the report, adding that “Peace is politically neutral – neither Republican nor Democratic states have an advantage.”

Rank State

1 Maine

2 New Hampshire

3 Vermont

4 Minnesota

5 North Dakota

6 Utah

7 Massachusetts 1

8 Rhode Island

9 Iowa

10 Washington

11 Nebraska

12 Hawaii

13 Oregon

14 South Dakota

15 Connecticut

16 Idaho

17 Montana

18 West Virginia

19 Wisconsin

20 Kentucky

21 Pennsylvania

22 Ohio

23 Wyoming

24 Indiana

25 Virginia

26 New Jersey

27 Kansas

28 Colorado

29 New York

30 Alaska

31 Michigan

32 North Carolina

33 California

34 Mississippi

35 Illinois

36 Delaware

37 Arizona

38 New Mexico

39 Georgia

40 Missouri

41 Maryland

42 South Carolina

43 Oklahoma

44 Arkansas

45 Texas

46 Alabama

47 Florida

48 Nevada

49 Tennessee

50 Louisiana

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