The Most Dangerous (And Safest) States In America Ranked

Harriet King May 8th 2018 Entertainment
It can be really hard keeping track of where all the safe places are in America. With the mainstream news networks and social media saturated with terrible stories on a 24/7 basis, how do you know what's really happening? The important thing to remember is to always stick to the facts and official statistics - don't let sensational news give you a warped impression. We've ranked all 50 states from safest to most violent so you don't have to do the work. The 5 most violent states are a bit surprising!
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50. Vermont
Beautiful Vermont! It's no surprise that this simply gorgeous state is the safest in the country. When you stop to think about it, you realize that you barely ever hear any bad news from there. The towns are pretty sleepy and it's one of the smaller states, so it's not totally fair to be putting it up against something like New York, for example. But the stats don't lie! Move here if you want to be safe.
Vermont has a fairly low unemployment rate at only 3.1 percent, which isn't the lowest in the country (it's actually the ninth lowest), but it's still something to be proud of, especially with no large metropolitan areas to speak of. The most recent crime statistics reveal that Vermont has the lowest violent crime rate in the entire country. Violent crime rate: 118.0 per 100,000 (the lowest) - Murder rate: 1.6 per 100,000 (3rd lowest) - Median household income: $56,990 (20th highest) - May unemployment rate: 3.1% (9th lowest)
49. Maine
Another picturesque state takes out a top spot in the safest places awards. As it turns out, Maine isn't just a pretty face - it totally lives up to its peaceful, seaside image. To put things into perspective, the national average when it came to violent crimes was 373 per 100,000 people. In Maine it was only 130, which is less than half! The state's incarceration rate is also less than half of the national average.
This could have something to do with the low unemployment rate of 3.2 percent. Studies show a correlation between low crime and high employment rates, so it seems like Maine definitely has the balance right. While incomes are actually at the lower end of the scale, this hasn't seemed to affect crime. Maybe it's a sign that money isn't everything? Violent crime rate: 130.1 per 100,000 (2nd lowest) - Murder rate: 1.7 per 100,000 (4th lowest) - Median household income: $51,494 (21st lowest) - May unemployment rate: 3.2% (13th lowest)
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48. New Hampshire
We're betting nobody expected New Hampshire to be dangerous, so it's not really a shock to see that this leafy state is the third safest in the country. One of the coolest things about it is that it has one of the lowest gun ownership rates in the USA. In fact, in 2015 (the year these statistics were recorded), there were only 14 homicides in New Hampshire - the lowest in the country when adjusted to account for population.
In New Hampshire, 90 percent of crimes are financially motivated, which does tend to provide a sense of safety to residents. It's easier to get over someone stealing your wallet than other types of violent crimes. New Hampshire's unemployment rate is extremely low at just 2.9 percent, meaning that even financially motivated crimes aren't terribly frequent anyway. Violent crime rate: 199.3 per 100,000 (4th lowest) - Murder rate: 1.1 per 100,000 (the lowest) - Median household income: $70,303 (7th highest) - May unemployment rate: 2.9% (6th lowest)
47. Rhode Island
Here we have another state with low gun ownership that has a correlating low gun-related homicide rate. It seems like these peaceful little spots have discovered the secret to not murdering each other: don't own a gun! In Rhode Island, less than one in ten people live in a house with a gun. When you compare this to the national average of one in three, you can see the difference this really makes.
Just like Maine, Rhode Island's incarceration rate is less than half of the national average. Maybe there really is something about the seaside that keeps people calm. And when you think about it, have you ever been angry on a boat? Rhode Island doesn't have an extraordinarily low unemployment rate compared to others (4.1 percent), but it seems like the people there are doing just fine. Violent crime rate: 242.5 per 100,000 (11th lowest) - Murder rate: 2.7 per 100,000 (12th lowest) - Median household income: $58,073 (19th highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.1% (25th lowest)
46. Hawaii
Okay, this definitely gives our seaside theory some legitimacy. Hawaii has the second lowest murder rate in the entire country (after New Hampshire). And we have to think again that it's because it's difficult to be upset when you're by the ocean, or just in Hawaii in general. If we're getting technical, it could be something to do with their gun control laws. In Hawaii, residents must obtain a permit in order to own a gun. All gun owners are also registered in an FBI database.
This sensible gun control clearly works, as guns are involved in only 20 percent of both murders and suicides. The need to obtain a permit clearly keeps guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. Though violent crimes are low in Hawaii, property crimes, such as burglary and vehicle theft are more common. Violent crime rate: 293.4 per 100,000 (20th lowest) - Murder rate: 1.3 per 100,000 (2nd lowest) - Median household income: $73,486 (2nd highest) - May unemployment rate: 2.7% (3rd lowest)
45. Minnesota
There's something about Minnesota that just makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Maybe it's dreams of a lakeside cabin, walking through the woods, and getting a classic taste of the great outdoors. If it sounds that good to think about, maybe its residents think so too. Loving your beautiful state would probably be enough to stop you going on a murder spree.
In all seriousness, though, Minnesota can probably attribute its low crime rate to high rates of education attainment and low poverty. The unemployment rate is also relatively low at 3.7 percent, so it helps that the majority of Minnesota's people are earning a wage. The coolest thing about this very safe state is that even Minnesota's metropolitan areas, such as the capital, Minneapolis, don't drive the crime stats up by much. Violent crime rate: 242.6 per 100,000 (12th lowest) - Murder rate: 2.4 per 100,000 (9th lowest) - Median household income: $63,488 (12th highest) - May unemployment rate: 3.7% (17th lowest)
44. Utah
As it turns out, Utah has some pretty sensible laws when it comes to crime, which might be why it has a very low incarceration rate compared to the national average. In Utah, 391 out of every 100,000 people are incarcerated, whereas the national average is 607 per 100,000 people. This has a lot to do with their Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which saw certain non-violent felonies reclassified as misdemeanors.
While the murder rate sits at the fifth lowest in the country, Utah sadly has a lot of issues when it comes to violence against women. When it comes to rape and domestic violence, Utah's rate is higher than the national average, which is more than a little alarming. Law enforcement in Utah is also less likely to process rape kits than police officers in other states. Violent crime rate: 236.0 per 100,000 (9th lowest) - Murder rate: 1.8 per 100,000 (5th lowest) - Median household income: $62,912 (13th highest) - May unemployment rate: 3.2% (13th lowest)
43. Massachusetts
You wouldn't think that a state famous for its harassment and assault of women in the form of the Salem Witch Trials would have been able to clean up its image so well. But it totally has and everybody loves it here now! In fact, it has the sixth lowest murder rate in the country, so they've definitely done away with that whole "witch" burning thing. We hear there's even some wonderful tourist attractions out that way now.
In terms of modern-day crime rate, Massachusetts is a great role model for the rest of the USA. Their gun laws are some of the strictest in the country, with background checks and gun safety courses required of all gun owners. Though gun violence is low, other violent crimes do take place at a rate higher than the national average. Violent crime rate: 390.9 per 100,000 (18th highest) - Murder rate: 1.9 per 100,000 (6th lowest) - Median household income: $70,628 (6th highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.2% (23rd highest)
42. Connecticut
We're not going to make any crazy assumptions here, but it's definitely worth noting that the state of Connecticut has the fifth highest median household income in the country. Sitting nicely at $71,346, it's certainly something to consider when you ponder the state's very low crime rates. Only 10.5 percent of the population lives in poverty, which is the sixth lowest in the USA.
Connecticut has also been doing really well on the imprisonment front and is currently at its lowest incarceration rate in more than twenty years. Puzzlingly, unemployment rates are some of the worst in the country at 4.9 percent, which is the seventh highest. Does this count all of the wealthy people who just chill out in their big houses all day? We'd like to think that they're listed as officially 'unemployed'. Violent crime rate: 218.5 per 100,000 (6th lowest) - Murder rate: 3.3 per 100,000 (17th lowest) - Median household income: $71,346 (5th highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.9% (7th highest)
41. New Jersey
Here we have the final state that made it into the top ten. Most people probably wouldn't have expected to see New Jersey up the top of this list, but given the high median household income of $72,222 (the fourth highest in the country), we guess everyone is probably too busy working to care about going on violent killing sprees.
It seems that these northeastern states are really onto something with the low gun ownership thing. Only about 11 percent of New Jersey's population belong to a household that owns a gun. In terms of violent crimes, such as robbery, murder, and rape, New Jersey is well below the national average and is considered extremely safe. With such close proximity to New York, which has a much higher crime rate, we think New Jersey residents kind of get the best of both worlds. Violent crime rate: 255.4 per 100,000 (13th lowest) - Murder rate: 4.1 per 100,000 (22nd lowest) - Median household income: $72,222 (4th highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.1% (25th lowest)
40. Iowa
Iowa kind of turns our theory about low gun ownership equaling low crime on its head. Despite one in three people being from gun owning households, which is above the national average, Iowa remains a relatively safe state to live in. The murder rate is the eighth lowest in the country, which we're sure comforts a lot of Iowans, given the volume of guns hanging around.
Iowa is certainly an exception to the gun owning rule. Their thriving economy might be the reason why they've managed to escape higher crime rates. Built off the back of the agriculture industry (which is still very active today), Iowa is now a manufacturing hot spot with the ninth highest unemployment rate in the USA. A lot of these statistics reveal a link between employment and crime, and it's probably why Iowa is so safe. Violent crime rate: 286.1 per 100,000 (18th lowest) - Murder rate: 2.3 per 100,000 (8th lowest) - Median household income: $54,736 (25th highest) - May unemployment rate: 3.1% (9th lowest)
39. North Dakota
Wow, North Dakota is certainly impressive when it comes to unemployment rate. It's sitting at 2.5 percent, making it the second lowest in the entire country. We definitely wouldn't have picked it! But relatively recent oil activity has definitely boosted the amount of jobs overall. As we've seen previously, lots of jobs generally means a lot less violence.
However, North Dakota is far from perfect. In fact, the rise in job availability and incomes has even led to higher rates of property crime, such as burglary and vehicle theft. Instances of drug use and addiction are also on the rise. Though North Dakota's murder rate is the 13th lowest in the country, it has recently recorded its highest number of annual homicides (21) since 1993. We won't bring it down any further - all in all North Dakota is doing pretty good! Violent crime rate: 239.4 per 100,000 (10th lowest) - Murder rate: 2.8 per 100,000 (13th lowest) - Median household income: $60,557 (16th highest) - May unemployment rate: 2.5% (2nd lowest)
38. Washington
We always imagined it would be so peaceful up in Washington. Maybe because of all the greenery and nature trails, or maybe because of its proximity to Canada. We're not totally sure where the idea came from, but it definitely seems to hold true, as Washington sits pretty high on this list. This is especially impressive given the large metropolitan area of capital city, Seattle.
The high median household income certainly wouldn't be harming the peace up there - it's the tenth highest in the country. Washington also has high rates of education attainment, with 34 percent of adults holding a bachelors degree and 91 percent holding at least a high school diploma. Education attainment is positively linked to low crime rates in countries and cities all over the world, so they're definitely doing something right! Violent crime rate: 284.4 per 100,000 (17th lowest) - Murder rate: 2.9 per 100,000 (14th lowest) - Median household income: $64,129 (10th highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.5% (17th highest)
37. Oregon
Another state famous for its stunning nature makes it on the safer end of this list. To be honest, everyone in Oregon is probably way too busy hiking and enjoying the fresh air to worry about committing violent crimes. While this leafy state sits at number 14 for overall safety, Oregon makes it into the top ten for its low murder rate of only 2.5 per 100,000 people per year. We've got to say, we love a good low murder rate.
Like its upstairs neighbor, Washington, education attainment rates are high in Oregon, with 32 percent of the population holding a bachelor's degree. Around 90 percent of the population holds at least a high school diploma, which is above the national average of 87 percent. Unemployment rates in Oregon are also some of the best in the country. Violent crime rate: 259.8 per 100,000 (14th lowest) - Murder rate: 2.5 per 100,000 (10th lowest) - Median household income: $54,148 (25th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 3.6% (15th lowest)
36. New York
We were really shocked when we saw that New York was one of the safest states in the USA. Given that it is home to the most populous city in the States, we kind of thought bad stuff would be going on all the time. New York City itself has a higher than average crime rate, which is not unusual for a city of more than eight million people, but the rest of the state is pretty normal when it comes to crime.
New York has really been working on reducing its incarceration rate, and it seems to be paying off. State reforms have seen previous non-violent felony charges be downgraded to misdemeanors, which has seen the prison population decline significantly. The median household income is lower than you might think, at $60,850, which could mean a lot more people in poverty in the city. Violent crime rate: 379.7 per 100,000 (23rd highest) - Murder rate: 3.1 per 100,000 (15th lowest) - Median household income: $60,850 (15th highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.4% (20th highest)
35. Idaho
Idaho might be number 16 on this list, but we would like to point out that its murder rate is very low. At 1.9 per 100,000 people per year, it's the seventh lowest in the entire country. So, well done to Idaho! Of the few murders that do take place, 80 percent are carried out with a gun, which makes it a little different from the other states with low murder rates.
Gun ownership is really quite high in Idaho, with around 57 percent of residents living in households with guns. Given the national average of 29 percent, this is extremely high. It's not really a huge surprise that 80 percent of murders are carried out with guns after seeing this statistic. Imagine how low it would be if gun control laws were in place! Violent crime rate: 215.6 per 100,000 (5th lowest) - Murder rate: 1.9 per 100,000 (7th lowest) - Median household income: $48,275 (11th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 3.2% (13th lowest)
34. Nebraska
We've said it before and we'll say it again - when people have jobs there's significantly less crime to report. In Nebraska's case, they boast one of the lowest unemployment rates in the whole country. Only 2.9 percent of the population doesn't have a job, which is the sixth lowest in the United States. The amount of people living in poverty is also below the national average.
The violent crime rate in Nebraska is relatively low at only 274 per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 373 per 100,000 people. It's actually the 15th lowest in the country, even though Nebraska sits at number 17 on this list. We guess that all of the agriculture work must keep people super busy! There is definitely a lot of corn to take care of over there. Violent crime rate: 274.9 per 100,000 (15th lowest) - Murder rate: 3.3 per 100,000 (18th lowest) - Median household income: $54,996 (24th highest) - May unemployment rate: 2.9% (6th lowest)
33. Wyoming
Wyoming is one of only six states where more than half of all households own a gun. After learning this, you'd think it would feature a lot further down on the list. But despite all of the gun ownership, Wyoming is relatively safe. The violent crime rate in Wyoming is significantly lower than the national average (373 per 100,000 people per year), at only 222 per 100,000 people per year.
It's not just murders we're looking at here. The rate of reported rapes and other forms of sexual assault is also low, as well as robbery. Unfortunately, Wyoming does have the highest rate of suicides carried out with guns. Each year about 15 suicides per 100,000 people take place in Wyoming. It just goes to show that guns can be misused in a variety of ways. Violent crime rate: 222.1 per 100,000 (8th lowest) - Murder rate: 2.7 per 100,000 (11th lowest) - Median household income: $60,214 (17th highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.1% (25th lowest)
32. Colorado
Here's another state favored by nature lovers all over the world. But this one is not ranked as high as some of the others. Colorado's safety is kind of brought down a little by the metropolitan area of Pueblo, where there is some gang violence that alters the statistics. In general, Colorado is a very safe state and perfect for hiking and ski trips!
Colorado has the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 2.3 percent, so most people have jobs to keep them busy and to keep a roof over their heads, which is wonderful. Education attainment is also high, with almost 40 percent of the population holding a bachelor's degree. We think the people of Colorado have proven how much good education and plenty of jobs can create a happy and peaceful state. Violent crime rate: 321.0 per 100,000 (23rd lowest) - Murder rate: 3.2 per 100,000 (16th lowest) - Median household income: $63,909 (11th highest) - May unemployment rate: 2.3% (the lowest)
31. Virginia
Virginia definitely has a lot to be proud of. With a violent crime rate of 195 per 100,000 people per year, it's the third lowest in the country. Median household salaries are the eighth highest in the USA, which, as we've seen, often correlates with low violence. However, high salaries may partially be skewed due to the state being home to the nation's capital, Washington D.C.
Education attainment is high in Virginia, with 37 percent of the population holding bachelor's degrees. We can hear you wondering why Virginia isn't way further up in this list. We thought the same. But as it turns out, the incarceration rate is high. The murder rate is also the 24th highest in the country. A large percentage of suicides in Virginia are also carried out with a firearm, pushing this relatively safe state up to position 20. Violent crime rate: 195.6 per 100,000 (3rd lowest) - Murder rate: 4.6 per 100,000 (24th highest) - Median household income: $66,262 (8th highest) - May unemployment rate: 3.8% (18th lowest)
30. Wisconsin
Home of cheese curds, lush nature and lakes, and many, many craft breweries, life in Wisconsin tends to be pretty laid back for residents. There's definitely less than the average amount of violence to worry about. There are around 306 violent crimes per 100,000 people per year in Wisconsin, whereas the national average is 373 per 100,000 people per year.
Most of Wisconsin's cities are extremely safe. The only area driving up violence is the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metropolitan area. In fact, it's one of the most dangerous cities in the USA. The unemployment rate in Wisconsin is the ninth lowest in the country at 3.1 percent, which could explain why most of the state is so safe. Unfortunately, incarceration rate is high in Wisconsin and 606 of every 100,000 people are living in state prisons. Violent crime rate: 305.8 per 100,000 (21st lowest) - Murder rate: 4.2 per 100,000 (23rd lowest) - Median household income: $55,638 (23rd highest) - May unemployment rate: 3.1% (9th lowest)
29. Ohio
While Ohio isn't a particularly violent state in general, its cities really increase the rate of violence. The city of Toledo has a violent crimes rate of 1,129 per 100,000 people per year. The national average is 373 per 100,000 people per year, so you can see how much more dangerous certain cities are! About 90 percent of violent crimes in Ohio take place in metropolitan areas - outside of this, crime rates are relatively low.
The entire state has a violent crime rate of 292 per 100,000 people, which is actually less than the national average, so it's not all bad in Ohio. One of the more concerning things about Ohio, however, is its high unemployment rate. At 4.9 percent, it's much higher than the national average and could be a factor in why the cities have such high instances of violence. Violent crime rate: 291.9 per 100,000 (19th lowest) - Murder rate: 4.3 per 100,000 (24th lowest) - Median household income: $51,075 (17th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.9% (7th highest)
28. Montana
As a state, Montana does really well when it comes to education. About 94 percent of the population has graduated from high school, which usually correlates with lower levels of violence. However, gun ownership in the state is high, with more than half of all households possessing one. This makes it the sixth highest for gun ownership in the country. People in Montana do love hunting season, which is one of the reasons why so many people own guns in the first place.
In terms of violent crime rate, Montana sits fairly close to the national average, at 350 per 100,000 people per year. The national average is 373 per 100,000 people per year, so Montana is definitely a middle of the range kind of state. Median household income is also the 14th lowest in the country at $49,000. Violent crime rate: 349.6 per 100,000 (25th highest) - Murder rate: 3.5 per 100,000 (19th lowest) - Median household income: $49,509 (14th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 3.9% (20th lowest)
27. West Virginia
When it comes to crime, West Virginia is one complicated state. Gun ownership here is the fourth highest in the country, with more than half of all households possessing a firearm. Funnily enough, despite high gun ownership, only 50 percent of homicides in the state are committed with a gun, which is an unusual statistic.
Unfortunately, gun suicide rates are high in West Virginia - the fifth highest in the country at 11 people per 100,000 people per year. Across the country, high gun ownership tends to correlate with high suicide rates. We guess guns just make it that bit more convenient for people going through a rough time to end their lives, but in these situations there are typically many other factors at play, too. Median household income is also quite low at $42,000 (third lowest in the country). Violent crime rate: 337.9 per 100,000 (24th lowest) - Murder rate: 3.8 per 100,000 (21st lowest) - Median household income: $42,019 (3rd lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.5% (17th highest
26. South Dakota
Sitting halfway down the list at number 25, South Dakota is fairly middle of the range when it comes to crime statistics. The violent crime rate is just slightly above the national average; however, the murder rate is below the average. It is mostly aggravated assault driving the violent crime statistics up, as opposed to homicides. Only 44 percent of South Dakota's homicides were carried out using a firearm, which is quite low considering gun ownership is above the national average. Good work South Dakota!
Unfortunately, rape occurs at a higher than normal rate in South Dakota. In fact, it has the seventh highest rate of rapes, at 58 people per 100,000 people per year. There are some good things about the state that do deserve a mention, though. For example, it has the sixth lowest unemployment rate in the entire country, at 2.9 percent. Violent crime rate: 383.1 per 100,000 (22nd highest) - Murder rate: 3.7 per 100,000 (20th lowest) - Median household income: $53,017 (23rd lowest) - May unemployment rate: 2.9% (6th lowest)
25. California
Our 'less crime happens by the ocean' theory might be a little shaky now that we've reached California. The stereotype is chilled out surfers, gorgeous beaches, and pretty great weather all year round, so it's not unreasonable to think that it might be fairly safe. And it is definitely not a 'dangerous' state to visit, but it's just not as innocent as you may have originally thought.
The violent crime rate is well above the national average and is the 13th highest in the country. But to be fair to California, 98 percent of these crimes take place in major metropolitan areas. While the rate of murders, rapes, assaults, and robberies is above average, suicide in California is uncommon and is the seventh lowest in the country. Must be all of that time in the sun! Violent crime rate: 426.3 per 100,000 (13th highest) - Murder rate: 4.8 per 100,000 (22nd highest) - Median household income: $64,500 (9th highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.7% (13th highest)
24. Illinois
Home to the city of Chicago, nobody could blame you for assuming Illinois might be a little more violent than position 27 on this list. It seems like all we ever hear about on the news is gun violence in Chicago, so it makes sense to think that Illinois could be the most dangerous state of them all. This isn't actually true, though - this misunderstood state is pretty in line with national averages when it comes to crime.
The murder rate in Illinois is definitely higher than most, sitting at 14th highest in the country. This is partially due to gang violence in metropolitan areas. However, for all of the gun violence you hear about, gun ownership is actually quite low state-wide. Only 26 percent of households possess a gun, which is one of the lowest rates in the USA. Violent crime rate: 383.8 per 100,000 (21st highest) - Murder rate: 5.8 per 100,000 (14th highest) - Median household income: $59,588 (18th highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.6% (16th highest)
23. North Carolina
As the state with the tenth lowest median household income, you wouldn't exactly expect a crime-free environment (low salaries and crime often go hand in hand). However, North Carolina doesn't score too badly on the statistics front. Most elements are pretty much in line with the national averages. Homicide is slightly higher than middle range, though, and is the 18th highest in the country.
Perhaps a sign that there's a bit of crime to fight over in North Carolina is the volume of police on the streets. It's the sixth largest police force in the United States, with 341 officers to every 100,000 residents. In terms of violent crime in general, North Carolina ranks 25th - exactly halfway through the list. Unemployment rates are a little high, sitting at around 4.5 percent, which is the 17th highest in the country. Violent crime rate: 347.0 per 100,000 (25th lowest) - Murder rate: 5.1 per 100,000 (18th highest) - Median household income: $47,830 (10th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.5% (17th highest)
22. Kentucky
Kentucky is what people think of when they imagine southern charm, hunting, and fishing. It also has a bit of a hillbilly stereotype attached to it, but we won't go too far into that one! Given its position at number 29 on this list you'd probably be surprised to learn that the violent crime rate in Kentucky is one of the lowest in the country. The seventh lowest, in fact. For every 100,000 people, there were 219 violent crimes annually - way below the national average of 373.
The reason it is on the more violent side of this list is because of the high gun ownership, as well as high incarceration rate. It has the ninth highest incarceration rate in the USA, with 760 people per 100,000 living in state prisons. About 70 percent of all suicides in Kentucky are committed with a firearm. Violent crime rate: 218.7 per 100,000 (7th lowest) - Murder rate: 4.7 per 100,000 (23rd highest) - Median household income: $45,215 (5th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 5.0% (5th highest)
21. Kansas
As far as Kansas goes, it's probably got the most average violent crime statistics of all the states. In fact, it comes in 25th place for murder rate, so you can't get much more average than that. Gun ownership is slightly higher than the national average, with 32 percent of households possessing a firearm. However, despite ownership being only slightly higher than the average, it seems like guns are a bit of an issue here. In about 75 percent of all homicides, a gun was used to carry out the murder.
It does really get you thinking - if gun ownership wasn't common, would those 75 percent of homicides have even occurred? Do guns just make it easier and more convenient, or would people have gone out there with a knife if they didn't have a gun? Violent crime rate: 389.9 per 100,000 (19th highest) - Murder rate: 4.4 per 100,000 (25th lowest) - Median household income: $53,906 (24th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 3.7% (17th lowest)
20. Pennsylvania
At your first glance of the stats, Pennsylvania seems fairly peaceful. With slightly lower rates of gun ownership and violent crime than the national average, you'd be thinking "what's the problem over there?" It's not so much that Pennsylvania is 'dangerous' but it does have a higher than average incarceration rate, with 655 people imprisoned for every 100,000 people (the national average is 607).
The murder rate is also slightly higher than average, though not by much. In Pennsylvania, 5.1 people for every 100,000 people are murdered, whereas the national average is 4.9 people. Pennsylvania also has one of the highest unemployment rates in the entire country at 5 percent. It's the fifth highest, to be exact. Based on similar sets of statistics, this can often correlate with higher crime rates, which seems to be the case here. Violent crime rate: 315.1 per 100,000 (22nd lowest) - Murder rate: 5.1 per 100,000 (19th highest) - Median household income: $55,702 (21st highest) - May unemployment rate: 5.0% (5th highest)
19. Michigan
Michigan is certainly a mixed bag when it comes to crime and the overall stats don't always reveal the full story. Metropolitan areas bump Michigan up to 15th highest murder rate and 15th highest violent crime rate, but most non-city areas experience little violence. All round, the violent crime rate here is 416 incidents per 100,000 people per year, which isn't ridiculously higher than the national average of 373.
However, when you look at specific cities, the crime rates skyrocket. In Flint the violent crime rate is 580 incidents per 100,000 people, and in Saginaw it's 606. If you thought that was bad, wait until you hear about Detroit. It's the second highest violent crime rate for a US city and it's 1,760 incidents per 100,000 people. We probably won't be visiting any time soon! Violent crime rate: 415.5 per 100,000 (15th highest) - Murder rate: 5.8 per 100,000 (15th highest) - Median household income: $51,084 (18th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.2% (23rd highest)
18. Indiana
While Indiana as a whole enjoys a relatively low unemployment rate of 3.2 percent (13th lowest in the country), there are still a lot of problems when it comes to violent crime. Much of this crime is to do with gun ownership. With one in three households owning a firearm, it's no surprise that they're involved in a lot of incidents that take place, particularly murder and suicide.
More than 75 percent of all homicides in Indiana are carried out with a gun, which is the tenth highest in the USA. When it comes to suicides, about 54 percent are carried out with a gun, which is higher than the national average. The capital, Indianapolis, is one of the most dangerous cities in the US with a violent crime rate of 675 incidents per 100,000 people. Violent crime rate: 387.5 per 100,000 (20th highest) - Murder rate: 5.6 per 100,000 (16th highest) - Median household income: $50,532 (16th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 3.2% (13th lowest)
17. Arizona
When most people think of Arizona, they immediately conjure up images of the Grand Canyon, cactus-filled deserts, and the flowing Colorado River in their minds. What most people don't realize is that it's not exactly the most peaceful state in the country, despite all of the wide-open space and surrounding nature.
Arizona's violent crime rate is above average, at 410 incidents per 100,000 residents. It also has one of the highest incarceration rates in the United States. Around 800 people per 100,000 people live in state prisons. Arizona also has one of the largest police forces in the country. While that doesn't always mean there's more crime to fight, it's certainly a good sign. Unemployment rates are the fourth highest in the US at 5.1 percent, which could contribute to the higher than average crime rates. Violent crime rate: 410.2 per 100,000 (17th highest) - Murder rate: 4.5 per 100,000 (25th highest) - Median household income: $51,492 (20th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 5.1% (4th highest)
16. Texas
We've got to be honest, we really thought Texas would be a little more violent. It's not exactly in the best position on this list, but we were betting on it being up there in the top five. So, well done Texas, you've surprised us! Texas is true to the stereotype: there are a whole lot of guns there. In 2015, 3,203 people died at the hands of a firearm, which was the most of any US state.
Around 36 percent of households possess a gun, which is well above the national average of 29 percent. More than 70 percent of the state's homicides are carried out with guns, which is one of the highest rates in the country. About 58 percent of suicides are committed with guns, too, which is also higher than average. Violent crime rate: 412.2 per 100,000 (16th highest) - Murder rate: 4.8 per 100,000 (21st highest) - Median household income: $55,653 (22nd highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.8% (12th highest)
15. Florida
Many of us picture silver-haired retirees, cocktails by the pool, and beautiful beaches when we think of Florida. But like so many places, there's a bit of an underbelly that you don't necessarily see in the tourist brochures. Florida boasts the 11th highest violent crime rate in the country. For every 100,000 residents, 462 violent incidents occur per year. This is much higher than the national average of 373 incidents.
As with most states, metropolitan areas push up the stats significantly, and in the case of Florida, tourists aren't getting murdered while they're on a beach vacation. The Tallahassee area certainly does its share when it comes to crime - there are 769 violent incidents per 100,000 residents, which is more than double the national average. Florida also has a high incarceration rate, with 755 people living in state prisons for every 100,000 residents. Violent crime rate: 461.9 per 100,000 (11th highest) - Murder rate: 5.1 per 100,000 (20th highest) - Median household income: $49,426 (13th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.3% (21st highest)
14. Maryland
Maryland is another state where major cities drive up the crime rate. In this case, the state's largest city, Baltimore, is the culprit. In 2015 there were 8.6 homicides per 100,000 people in Maryland, making it the highest murder rate in the whole country. To be fair, there were riots that year, which definitely increased this rate a little more than what it would usually be.
Being close to the nation's capital, it's not super surprising that Maryland records the highest median household earnings at $75,847. However, you don't usually see a high violent crime rate along with those kinds of salaries. In addition to high salaries, gun ownership is not common in Maryland. Only a little over 20 percent of households possess a gun, putting it well below the national average for gun ownership. Violent crime rate: 457.2 per 100,000 (12th highest) - Murder rate: 8.6 per 100,000 (3rd highest) - Median household income: $75,847 (the highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.2% (23rd highest)
13. Georgia
The state of Georgia certainly has a rich history of violence that spans centuries. As one of the original Confederate states, it's not totally shocking that violence still continues down here today. When it comes to gun ownership, Georgia is only slightly above average. About 31 percent of households have a gun, while the national average is 29 percent.
Though gun ownership levels aren't much higher than average, a whopping 82 percent of homicides are carried out with firearms, which is one of the highest rates in the country. About 64 percent of suicides are committed with a gun, which is also extremely high for this type of incident. Incarceration rates are the fifth highest in the USA, with 866 people per 100,000 residents living in state prisons. Georgia's unemployment rate is the seventh highest in the country at 4.9 percent. Violent crime rate: 378.3 per 100,000 (24th highest) - Murder rate: 6.0 per 100,000 (12th highest) - Median household income: $51,244 (19th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.9% (7th highest)
12. Delaware
The great news about Delaware is that it boasts the lowest gun ownership rate in the country. The bad news is that it still suffers from a high rate of gun violence. Around 83 percent of all homicides are carried out with a gun, which is the third highest in the USA. Overall, Delaware comes in eighth for murder rate, as well as violent crime rate (which includes murder, rape, assault, and robbery).
In addition to Delaware's rather baffling gun violence issues, the state has extremely high incarceration rates. For every 100,000 residents, 708 people are housed in state prisons. A large prison population like this usually indicates a high level of violence in the state. We don't know exactly what went wrong in Delaware, but we hope they figure it out and fix it soon! Violent crime rate: 499.0 per 100,000 (8th highest) - Murder rate: 6.7 per 100,000 (8th highest) - Median household income: $61,255 (14th highest) - May unemployment rate: 4.7% (13th highest)
11. Arkansas
With the second lowest median household income in the whole country, it's not really a huge surprise that Arkansas has an issue with violent crime. We've seen time and time again that low incomes tend to correlate with higher rates of violence. In the case of Arkansas, it has the sixth highest violent crime rate in the country, at 521 incidents per 100,000 people. With the national average sitting at 373 incidents, this is well above the norm.
Arkansas has the second highest gun ownership rate in the USA and they're the main instrument used in homicides across the state. About 19 percent of Arkansas's population lives in poverty. High levels of poverty also tend to correlate with violence, so this is also not a huge surprise, when you consider the crime rate in this state. Violent crime rate: 521.3 per 100,000 (6th highest) - Murder rate: 6.1 per 100,000 (11th highest) - Median household income: $41,995 (2nd lowest) - May unemployment rate: 3.4% (14th lowest)
10. Oklahoma
Okay everyone, we've officially made it to the top ten most violent states in the USA. First up is Oklahoma, which we weren't really expecting if we're being honest. This state kind of just flies under the radar and most people probably don't associate it with violent crime. When we think of Oklahoma, we mostly just think of cowboys, tornadoes, open plains, and windmills, as opposed to high murder rates.
The murder rate here is the 13th highest in the country, with 6 homicides taking place for every 100,000 residents. Oklahoma also has the second highest prison population in the USA, with around 1,015 inmates per 100,000 residents. The metropolitan areas of Lawton, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City really drive up the crime rates, as we've seen happen in other states, too. In Lawton there were 747 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Violent crime rate: 422.0 per 100,000 (14th highest) - Murder rate: 6.0 per 100,000 (13th highest) - Median household income: $48,568 (12th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.3% (21st highest)
9. Mississippi
There are definitely a lot of things going on in this very complicated southern state. First of all, Mississippi has the lowest median household income in the whole country, which always seems to be a recipe for disaster when it comes to crime. The murder rate is the second highest in the country, with 8.7 homicides taking place per 100,000 people.
Surprisingly, given the extremely high murder rate, the overall violent crime rate is low. For every 100,000 residents, there are 276 incidents, which is actually almost 100 less than the national average. So, well done, we guess? About 22 percent of Mississippi's population lives in poverty, which is the highest percentage in the country. The rate of suicides carried out with guns is also the highest at about 70 percent. Like we said, there's a lot going on here. Violent crime rate: 275.8 per 100,000 (16th lowest) - Murder rate: 8.7 per 100,000 (2nd highest) - Median household income: $40,593 (the lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.9% (7th highest)
8. New Mexico
As we've seen with some of the other states on this list, low wages and high unemployment rates tend to go hand in hand with violent crime. In the case of New Mexico, its population suffers with the second highest unemployment rate in the country, at 6.6 percent. Due to a lack of jobs and low median household incomes (sixth lowest in the USA), about 20 percent of the state lives in poverty.
New Mexico has the third highest violent crime rate in the country. For every 100,000 residents, there were 656 violent incidents, which is much higher than the national average of 373 incidents. Gun ownership is extremely high in New Mexico, with around half of all households possessing a firearm. This is significantly higher than the US average of 29 percent of households. Violent crime rate: 656.1 per 100,000 (3rd highest) - Murder rate: 5.6 per 100,000 (17th highest) - Median household income: $45,382 (6th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 6.6% (2nd highest)
7. South Carolina
Most are familiar with South Carolina because of its stunning coastline, but it definitely has a more sinister side that you might not know anything about. Most of this state's problems with violence do seem to stem from the very high levels of gun ownership. With around 45 percent of households possessing a firearm, it's well over the nationwide average of 29 percent.
A large percentage of suicides in South Carolina are committed with a gun - about 64 percent, to be exact. For every 100,000 people, six are killed by guns every year, which is one of the highest homicide by firearm rates in the country. The violent crime rate is the seventh highest in the USA and the murder rate is the fifth highest, making South Carolina one of the country's least peaceful states. Violent crime rate: 504.5 per 100,000 (7th highest) - Murder rate: 8.1 per 100,000 (5th highest) - Median household income: $47,238 (8th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.1% (25th lowest)
6. Missouri
Famous for the Ozark Mountains, jazz and blues, delicious barbecues, and perfectly brewed beer, Missouri is one of those states that simply doesn't seem threatening when you think about it. Unfortunately, the violent crime statistics tell a completely different story. Once again, gun ownership and use seem to be the major problem in this troubled state.
As we've seen with many of the states, the violence in a particular city or cities can drive up the crime rate. In the case of Missouri, it's St. Louis, which is technically the most violent city in the USA. With a rate of 1,817 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, it's no wonder Missouri as a whole looks kind of dangerous on paper. About 84 percent of all homicides in Missouri are carried out with a firearm - the second largest percentage after Illinois. Violent crime rate: 497.4 per 100,000 (9th highest) - Murder rate: 8.3 per 100,000 (4th highest) - Median household income: $50,238 (15th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 3.9% (20th lowest)
5. Tennessee
Here we were thinking of Tennessee as the peaceful home of country music, when in reality it's the fifth most violent state in the USA. Who would have thought? Definitely not us! Like many of the more violent states in the country, there is high gun ownership in this state, but that's not the only thing driving up the violent crime rates in Tennessee. Aggravated assault takes place here at a higher rate than most other states. For every 100,000 residents, about 452 instances of aggravated assault take place.
The overall violent crime rate in Tennessee is the fourth highest in the country at 612 incidents per 100,000 residents. The murder rate is high, but surprisingly only tenth highest, at 6.2 homicides per 100,000 residents. The area driving up most of these statistics is the metropolitan area of Memphis, as opposed to the state's capital of Nashville. Violent crime rate: 612.1 per 100,000 (4th highest) - Murder rate: 6.2 per 100,000 (10th highest) - Median household income: $47,275 (9th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.0% (21st lowest)
4. Nevada
As the ninth least densely populated state in the USA, it's hard to imagine Nevada as the fourth most violent state in the country. All we really think about is the vast and empty desert. Of course, it does start to make a whole lot of sense when you think about all the trouble that goes on in Las Vegas. There's a reason the saying exists, and it's because things that aren't meant to happen definitely end up happening there.
Nevada has the second highest violent crime rate in the country, at 696 incidents per 100,000 people. The population also has a relatively low rate of education attainment, with only 23 percent of people holding a bachelor's degree (the national average is 31 percent). The bulk of crime, 97 percent, to be exact, takes place in the state's metropolitan areas. Violent crime rate: 695.9 per 100,000 (2nd highest) - Murder rate: 6.2 per 100,000 (9th highest) - Median household income: $52,431 (22nd lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.7% (13th highest)
3. Alabama
Fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd probably automatically start singing the lyrics to "Sweet Home Alabama" when they think of Alabama. But in terms of violent crime, it's really anything but sweet. One of the main indicators of violence in the state is its extremely high prison population. In Alabama there are 883 inmates for every 100,000 residents, which is the fourth highest incarceration rate in the country.
When it comes to death by firearms, Alabama is almost number one. About 20 homicides carried out by a gun take place per 100,000 residents per year, which is the third highest rate in the country. The nationwide average for suicides carried out by guns is 50 percent. In Alabama, it's 70 percent, which is significantly higher. There's no doubt about it: this troubled state definitely has some problems with guns. Violent crime rate: 472.4 per 100,000 (10th highest) - Murder rate: 7.2 per 100,000 (7th highest) - Median household income: $44,765 (4th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 4.9% (7th highest)
2. Alaska
Well, we certainly weren't expecting the most sparsely populated state in the country to be one of the most violent! All we think about when we imagine Alaska is salmon, bears, and lots and lots of snow. We never would have thought of it as the state with the highest rate of violent crime in the USA. We thought everyone up there was living a peaceful life in the great outdoors. It really shows that you can't assume anything.
When you consider the violent crime rate of 730 incidents per 100,000 residents, it's not surprising to find out that gun ownership is the highest in the country here in Alaska. About 62 percent of households have a gun, which is more than double the national average of 29 percent. Besides gun crime, Alaska has the highest rate of rape and aggravated assault in the United States. Violent crime rate: 730.2 per 100,000 (the highest) - Murder rate: 8.0 per 100,000 (6th highest) - Median household income: $73,355 (3rd highest) - May unemployment rate: 6.7% (the highest)
1. Louisiana
Here we are at number one, and the 'winner' is Louisiana. We have to admit, we always felt a creepy vibe about all of those swamps and empty plains you see in the movies. We're not totally surprised that there's a fair bit of violence going on in this southern state. The main thing cementing Louisiana in first place is its extremely high murder rate, which is the highest in the country.
For every 100,000 residents in Louisiana, 10.3 people are murdered. That is a ridiculously high number, especially when you think back to New Hampshire's murder rate of 1.1 per 100,000 people at the very beginning of this list. About 80 percent of Louisiana's murders are carried out with a gun, which is not a huge shock, given the high ownership rates across the state. Violent crime rate: 539.7 per 100,000 (5th highest) - Murder rate: 10.3 per 100,000 (the highest) - Median household income: $45,727 (7th lowest) - May unemployment rate: 5.7% (3rd highest)

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