Most Peaceful States in the U.S.
The United States does not rank high on global peace indexes. But in this large country, peace and safety vary by state. With their own laws and distinctive cultures, each state is almost its own micronation.
Of course, it’s not easy to measure peace, especially when it can change from city to city and even neighborhood to neighborhood. Still, it can be useful to have a general idea of which states fare best.
These are the most peaceful states in America.
What Makes Oregon So Peaceful
Oregon gets a bad rap mostly because of Portland, a city notorious for its high homelessness rate. However, the rest of the state — the part that is rarely on the news — lives a different story.
As a whole, the state offers the seventh-highest financial safety in the country, meaning that people are free to live without worrying about their financial futures. This leads to a general feeling of contentment that is amplified by the vast Oregonian nature.
Hiking is a popular pastime, which contributes to physical and mental wellbeing.
Population: 8.54 million
Capital city: Richmond
What Makes Virginia So Peaceful
Vast and diverse, Virginia is a difficult state to encapsulate. Its population is fairly evenly divided between conservatives and liberals, something which causes often causes tension. But despite their tendency to bump heads, Virginians enjoy high levels of peace in their state.
For one, they have the second-highest workplace safety in the country, thanks to several laws that protect workers. The state, particularly in the northern areas, is also known for the quality of its healthcare, which is affordable and efficient. Other social services such as schools and unemployment benefits are also easily accessible and managed well.
It certainly doesn't hurt that the state has famous beaches, a mountainous national park and lots of vineyards.
Population: 1.42 million
Capital city: Honolulu
What Makes Hawaii So Peaceful
With fewer than 1.5 million people spread out between its eight islands, Hawaii is one of the most sparsely populated states in the country. This contributes to its one-big-family feeling, which is emphasized by native Hawaiian culture and the importance it places on being welcoming.
Though the state is expensive and there certainly are problems with poverty and unemployment, crime rates continue to be low. Locals look out for each other and are proud of their islands, contributing to the general peacefulness enjoyed throughout the state.
As one of the most beautiful states in the U.S., Hawaii also offers locals and visitors plenty of opportunities to be active and release stress by going into nature.
Population: 6.73 million
Capital city: Indianapolis
What Makes Indiana So Peaceful
If you're surprised to see Indiana on here, you're probably not alone. Indiana isn't exactly known for peace. The state does OK in the main evaluated categories, managing to wiggle its way into the top 15 by not being too bad despite not being too good either.
Outside of a few mid-sized cities, much of Indiana is farmland, which may explain how the state enjoys relative peacefulness. Small communities where people know each other tend to see less conflict.
The state is also becoming increasingly diverse, which helps make it more welcoming for people of different races and backgrounds.
11. New Jersey
Population: 8.88 million
Capital city: Trenton
What Makes New Jersey So Peaceful
Another state that may surprise people with its safety ranking is New Jersey. A gateway to New York City and some party towns along Jersey Shore, the world at large thinks New Jersey is all gambling and getting into fights at clubs.
And while we can't deny that those things do happen in very specific places, that's not the reality of most of the state. In fact, New Jersey is fairly rural and most towns on Jersey Shore are actually peaceful and quiet.
The state is also pretty diverse, which is part of why it's known for being fairly welcoming and tolerant.
Population: 6.05 million
Capital city: Annapolis
What Makes Maryland So Peaceful
Maryland's major cities are not exactly known for their peacefulness. Once again, this is not the same for the rest of the state.
Because it borders Washington, D.C., part of the state is designated as a suburb of the nation's capital. This guarantees diversity as well as relative job security and a stable real estate market.
The state also enjoys one of the best healthcare systems in the country, with world-famous hospitals like John Hopkins. It's ranked as having the sixth-highest quality of life in the U.S.
Population: 7.62 million
Capital city: Olympia
What Makes Washington So Peaceful
Washingtonians have to deal with a lot of rain. Besides that, they have it pretty good.
The state is heaven for outdoors enthusiasts, with numerous national parks, coastline on the Pacific Ocean and easy access to mountains, glaciers and waterfalls from pretty much anywhere. Even Seattle, the state's largest and most famous city is surrounded by nature.
Perhaps this is why people from Washington are so chill. But if you want something more concrete, the numbers back us up: Washington has some of the lowest crime rates in the country.
8. Rhode Island
Population: 1.06 million
Capital city: Providence
What Makes Rhode Island So Peaceful
Like Hawaii, Rhode Island is pretty small, with just over a million people. By comparison, the population of New York City is 8.4 million.
This has helped create an idyllic feeling of homeliness and safety in the Ocean State. It is easy to get to know your neighbors and to create community, an important factor for creating peace.
The state also has the third-lowest incarceration rate in the country and a high quality of healthcare. Add to this a beautiful shoreline, plenty of greenery, and rows of historic homes, and you'll start wondering if you should move to Rhode Island.
Capital city: Boston
What Makes Massachusetts So Peaceful
Boston has been the site of conflicts and tragedies throughout history. We can't deny that. But the city also has the highest quality of life out of all 50 state capitals.
Outside of Boston, Massachusetts, locals enjoy financial safety and tight-knit communities. Healthcare is affordable, accessible and high quality, which helps people live better.
High education rates and a good public school system also contribute to the state's peace ranking.
Population: 3.57 million
Capital city: Hartford
What Makes Connecticut So Peaceful
Connecticut ranks No. 1 in the country for personal and residential safety. Being able to live without constant worry for yourself and your property is extremely important in terms of quality of life. It's also a strong reflector of how peaceful the state is.
Connecticut is fairly rural and quiet, which is why it's so often ignored for its more glamorous neighbors. When visiting, you can try to find inner peace by participating in one of the state's most timeless pastimes: watching the migration of majestic whales.
Population: 3.21 million
Capital city: Salt Lake City
What Makes Utah So Peaceful
They say nature brings peace to the heart of people, and Utah may just prove that this is true. With five national parks and a population that makes the most out of them, peace seems somewhat easy to come by in the state.
Of course, other factors come into play. Utah has a fairly stable economy and low unemployment, and it also invests in infrastructure to make life better for its residents.
The state is ranked as having the fourth-best overall quality of life.
Population: 5.64 million
Capital city: Saint Paul
What Makes Minnesota So Peaceful
Minnesota ranks first for workplace safety and fourth for financial safety. Feeling secure in your financial future and safe in your place of work provides a sense of peace that residents don't take for granted. Of course, these are accompanied by a strong economy.
Healthcare is also good, and locals are fairly active thanks to the state's more than 10,000 lakes — and despite its extremely cold winters. Minnesotans are also known for their niceness and for being welcoming.
3. New Hampshire
Population: 1.36 million
Capital city: Concord
What Makes New Hampshire So Peaceful
This is New England's most ignored state, and there's a reason you don't hear much about New Hampshire. The state is tranquil and quiet. Manchester is its most populated city — and it only has 115,644 people.
Other things the state can boast is a good educational system, low crime rates, densely forested areas and no sales taxes. The one factor that works against the state is its lack of diversity, which may limit how welcoming it is to different people.
Capital city: Augusta
What Makes Maine So Peaceful
Quiet, beautiful, remote, Maine effortlessly exudes peace. The state is mostly rural, with lots of farmland as well as several state and national parks. A generous coastline is dotted with small historic towns decorated with sailboats and graced with gorgeous sunrises.
Besides its natural beauty, the state has the lowest violent crime rate in the entire country, and ranks third in personal and residential safety.
Capital city: Montpelier
What Makes Vermont So Peaceful
With just over 600,000 people in the entire state, Vermont is the smallest state by population. Once again, this has contributed to the feeling like the whole place is one big, happy family.
Everyone lives and breathes the outdoors, taking advantage of the mountains and woods that dominate the landscape. Farms abound, property is affordable, and maple syrup sweetens much more than pancakes.
Despite its size, Vermont is also known for its tolerant views and its welcoming attitude to people of diverse races and sexualities. This makes it a peaceful and pleasant place to live for almost anyone.