Bill Alen - Apr 18, 2011

Traveling to the USA? Wondering which state is the friendliest, safest or most peaceful? The Institute for Economics and Peace has just released its U.S. Peace Index assessing the 50 states with a number of indicators. brings the top five most peaceful U.S. states according to the Index.

5/ North Dakota

In 1990s North Dakota was regarded the most peaceful state. However, in recent years violent crime and incarceration have increased considerably there, while the number of homicides has remained mostly the same. The most striking fact is the 250% rise in violent crime since 2003. Such development goes against the national trend which shows that violent crime has been decreasing. North Dakota has seven economic and social factors in the top ten of the rankings. For example, it has a relatively low percentage of children living in single parent families and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.

4/ Minnesota

With the 3rd lowest incarceration rate and 5th lowest number of homicides Minnesota is the 4th most peaceful U.S. state. Its status as a peaceful state is reflected in key economic and social factors. Minnesota has the highest labor force participation rate, basic access to services, lowest percentage of the population with diabetes and the highest life expectancy in the nation (80 years).

3/ Vermont

Vermont has a very low homicide rate and a falling violent crime rate, both of which are the second lowest in the nation. The state also scores very well in education, with the highest high school graduation rate in the U.S. It has the third lowest teenage pregnancy rate, third lowest infant mortality rate, and the lowest teenage death rate in the nation.

2/ New Hampshire

New Hampshire is the state with the lowest homicide rate in the country – below 1 per 100,000 people. The figure is well below the national average of 4.96 and well below the number of homicides in many developed nations. As to the other factors assessed by the Index, New Hampshire has the lowest poverty rate of 8.6%, a teenage pregnancy rate of 19.8% and the highest percentage of individuals with home internet access in the country at 84.7%. New Hampshire also recorded the second highest ranking in educational opportunities score. The state also has a low percentage of children living in single parent families.

1/ Maine

Maine is the most peaceful U.S. state. It is the number one because of three indicators – the number of violent crimes, the number of police officers and the incarceration rate. As to the homicide rate (2 per 100,000), Maine is the ninth in the country. What is more, Maine has been one of the most peaceful states for the last nineteen years. Since 2000 it has always ended in the first place in the ranking.

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  1. Just a note - you say "assessing the 51 states"... since when are there 51 US States?

    Last I checked, there were only 50 (except in Obama's weird mind, since he doesn't really know anything about the U.S.A. and its history).

    I believe a correction warranted!

    Suzanne Pomeranz (Israel)
  2. Sorry for the typo. Corrected:)

    Editor (Other)
  3. OKay, LOVED your piece on the top 5 most peaceful US cities. but.. I beg to differ..... when did we get an official 51st state?! Please make a correction!!
    Thanks Love! :) <3

    susan irvine (USA)
  4. New Hampshire is also the state that helped President Theodore Roosevelt win the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize by hosting the peace conference between Russia and Japan that resulted in the Portsmouth Peace Treaty. Roosevelt never came to Portsmouth, relying instead on the impartial hospitality and encouraging environment offered by the citizens of New Hampshire -- his official hosts for the negotiations. Thanks to 2010 legislation, New Hampshire now recognizes the date of the Treaty signing -- September 5th -- as Portsmouth Peace Treaty Day, statewide. For more on the Treaty and commemorative events and programs.

    Stephanie Seacord (USA)

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