Maine "most peaceful" state; Louisana the least
Washington, D.C., United States (AHN) – Maine, the northeastern state dubbed “Vacationland,” has just been named the “most peaceful” state.
The northernmost and easternmost portion of New England received the honors in the latest United States Peace Index. The report is issued annually by the Institute for Economics & Peace, which defines peace as “absence of violence.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Louisiana placed last, for the eleventh consecutive year.
By metropolitan areas, the 2012 study finds Cambridge-Newton-Framingham in Massachusetts as most peaceful, with Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn in Michigan as least peaceful.
The five criteria used in the rankings are the number of homicides per 100,000 people; number of violent crimes; incarceration rate; number of police employees; and availably of small arms.
Among findings in survey, issued yearly since 1991, the United States overall improved in all five categories over 2011, revealing a 3.2 percent drop in homicides, and a 5.5% decline in violent crimes.
However, the decrease in officially recorded violence has been partially offset by the increase in violence in prisons.
As in years past, a strong correlation between peace and economic opportunity, health, education and social capital is very apparent.
The current upper and lower rankings remained little changed from 2011.
Wyoming enjoyed the biggest leap, climbing six places from last year and finishing in the top 20 for the first time since 1995.
Meanwhile, Arizona, which experienced a sharp increase in the homicide rate, fell the hardest, dropping nine notches from 2011, landing in the bottom five for the first time.
The top ten states in order are: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah, North Dakota, Washington, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Iowa.
The bottom ten from bad to worse include: Mississippi, South Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Tennessee, and Louisiana.
The full report is available at http://www.visionofhumanity.org/gpi-data/#/2011/scor.