Most peaceful states 2012
In rankings by metropolitan area, the 2012 survey finds Cambridge-Newton-Framingham in Massachusetts as most peaceful and Detroit-Livionia-Dearborn in Michigan as least peaceful.The survey, issued annually by the Institute for Economics & Peace, defines peace as "absence of violence."
The five criteria used in the ranking are the number of homicides per 100,000 people; number of violent crimes; incarceration rate; number of police employees; and availability of small arms.
The survey, first issued in 1991, finds that the United States improved in all five categories over 2011, including a 3.2% drop in homicides and a 5.5% dip in violent crimes.
The survey finds, however, that the decrease in officially recorded violence has been partially offset by increases in violence in prison.
The survey, once again, notes a strong correlation between peace and economic opportunity, health, education and social capital.
While the upper and lower rankings have remained relatively stable, Wyoming jumped the most, rising six places over last year and finishing in the top 20 for the first time since 1995.
Arizona, which registered a sharp increase in the homicide rate, had the sharpest fall, dropping nine places over 2011, ending up in the bottom five for the first time.
A sampling of the winners and losers from the survey:
1. Maine 2. Vermont 3. New Hampshire 4. Minnesota; 5. Utah 6. North Dakota 7. Washington 8. Hawaii 9. Rhode Island 10. Iowa.
... 41. Mississippi 42. South Carolina 43. Arkansas 44 Texas 45 Missouri 46 Arizona 47. Florida 48. Nevada 49. Tennessee 50 Louisiana.
By metropolitan area
1. Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Mass. 2. Edison-New Brunswick, N.J. 3 Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash. 4. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn. 5. Peabody, Mass. 6 Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, R.I.-Mass. 7 Lake County-Kenosha County, Ill.-Wis. 8. Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y. 9. Salt Lake City, Utah 10. Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash.
... 52. Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill. 53. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C.-S.C. 54. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif. 55 Jacksonville, Fla. 56 Las Vegas-Paradise Nev. 57. Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown, Texas 58. Baltimore-Towson, Md. 59. Miami-Miami Beach-Kendal, Fla. 60 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La. 61. Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich.
Overall, it finds the Northeast to be America's most peaceful region with the lowest homicide, violent crime and incarceration rates in the country. The South is the least peaceful region with the highest homicide, violent crime, and incarceration rates, as well as the highest prevalence of gun ownership, and the second highest police employee rate.
Maine is America's most peaceful state with recorded reductions in the homicide and incarceration rates as well as the number of police employees.
If you’re looking for a little peace in your life – look no further than Maine. The New England state has been ranked as the most peaceful state in the country, while Louisiana was ranked the least peaceful.
The findings – the first-ever ranking of peace in the U.S. – shows the nation has become more peaceful since 1995, with a "substantial decrease” in homicide and violent crime driving the outcome. Other factors include incarcerations rates, high school graduation rates, access to health insurance and the rate of infant mortality.