> Violent crimes per 100,000: 446.1
> Population: 5,976,407
> Total 2014 murders: 365 (14th highest)
> Poverty rate: 10.1% (2nd lowest)
Based on the number of violent incidents documented by the FBI, Maryland is the 10th most violent state in the nation. Each year, approximately 446 violent crimes are reported per 100,000 state residents versus the national violent crime rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 Americans. As in most states, violence varies considerably across Maryland. In the Baltimore area, for example, the violent crime rate of 1,339 incidents per 100,000 metro area residents is one of the highest of any U.S. region and much higher than the statewide rate. Low incomes are closely tied to the prevalence of violent crime, and in Baltimore, incomes are much lower than incomes across the state. Nearly 24% of individuals in Baltimore live in poverty compared to Maryland’s 10.1% poverty rate, which is lower than in every state except for New Hampshire.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 480.1
> Population: 2,966,369
> Total 2014 murders: 165 (25th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.9% (6th highest)
Little Rock is the largest city in Arkansas and also a significant source of the state’s crime woes. Also the state capital, Little Rock reports the 12th highest murder rate of any large city in the country at roughly 22 murders for every 100,000 residents. Additionally, the rate of aggravated assault reported in the city, at 933 per 100,000 people, is the fifth highest of any large U.S. city. Including all violent crimes, there are approximately 1,392 violent incidents per 100,000 Little Rock residents each year.
Violent crime is more common among less affluent populations, and incomes in Arkansas are among the lowest in the nation. The typical household in Arkansas earns $41,262 annually, considerably less than the national median household income of $53,657.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 489.1
> Population: 935,614
> Total 2014 murders: 54 (13th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.5% (17th lowest)
Delaware has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country, with 489 reported incidents per 100,000 residents. In particular, robberies are extremely common in the state, with 136 incidents reported each year per 100,000 people, the third highest rate in the country. The high violent crime rates in most of the states on this list are driven largely by the presence of large, densely-populated cities. In Wilmington, the largest city in the state, the violent crime rate of 1,637 incidents per 100,000 residents is more than three times the corresponding statewide rate, and one of the highest of any large city in the country.
7. South Carolina
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 497.7
> Population: 4,832,482
> Total 2014 murders: 311 (19th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.0% (11th highest)
Each year, approximately 498 violent crimes per 100,000 residents are reported in South Carolina. Low incomes are closely associated with high violent crime rates, and South Carolina is one of the poorer states in the nation. As many as 18% of state residents live below the poverty line, one of the higher poverty rates in the country. Crime is also more common in dense urban areas, and violence in South Carolina’s cities drives up the state’s overall violent crime rate. In Columbia and North Charleston, the respective violent crime rates of 749 and 731 incidents per 100,000 people are both more than twice the national rate of 366 incidents per 100,000 Americans.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 514.7
> Population: 4,649,676
> Total 2014 murders: 477 (10th highest)
> Poverty rate: 19.8% (3rd highest)
Murder in Louisiana is common even compared to the most dangerous in the country. With 10.3 murders for every 100,000 residents, the murder rate in the Gulf state is the highest in the country and more than double the national rate of 4.5 murders per 100,000 people. Louisiana’s two largest cities, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, each rank among the 10 large U.S. cities with the highest murder rates. As is the case in many of the most dangerous states, poverty is relatively common in Louisiana, which has the third highest poverty rate of any state in the country at 19.8%. Also, slightly more than one in every 10 households in the state earns less than $10,000 annually, the third largest share of low income households in the country.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 540.5
> Population: 19,893,297
> Total 2014 murders: 1,149 (3rd highest)
> Poverty rate: 16.5% (16th highest)
Florida’s violent crime rate overall is fifth highest in the country, with 541 reported incidents per 100,000 people in a single year. As is the case in most states with crime issues, violence is particularly concentrated in the state’s urban areas. Of the state’s 21 cities with populations of at least 100,000, seven have violent crime rates that are at least double the U.S. rate. Homestead, Daytona Beach, and Fort Myers are the most dangerous cities in Florida. Each have violent crime rates in excess of 1,100 incidents per 100,000 people.
4. New Mexico
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 597.4
> Population: 2,085,572
> Total 2014 murders: 101 (21st lowest)
> Poverty rate: 21.3% (2nd highest)
Compared to other border states such as Arizona, immigrants in New Mexico face less obstacles. Still, American immigration policy has contributed to the creation of a younger, less educated, and poorer immigrant population. Many of the immigrants live in poverty — itself closely associated with crime. It is likely immigrants comprise a disproportionately high share of the state’s high poverty rate of 21.3% — the second highest rate in the nation. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, Hispanic state residents are also disproportionately represented in New Mexico’s prisons. Most of the violent crimes in New Mexico are aggravated assaults — the rate of 422 incidents per 100,000 people is third highest nationwide. Non-violent crimes too are common in New Mexico. Approximately 3,542 property crimes are reported per 100,000 people annually in the state, second highest after only Washington.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 608.4
> Population: 6,549,352
> Total 2014 murders: 371 (13th highest)
> Poverty rate: 18.3% (7th highest)
Tennessee is one of only three states where the violent crime rate exceeds 600 reported incidents for every 100,000 residents. Aggravated assaults are more common in Tennessee than in any other state. The rate of 453 aggravated assaults for every 100,000 Tennesseans is nearly double the corresponding national rate of 233 incidents per 100,000 people. As in many of the most dangerous states, violence in cities drive up the overall crime rate. Memphis, the state’s largest city, reports a violent crime rate of 1,741 incidents for every 100,000 residents, the second highest of any large U.S. city.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 635.6
> Population: 2,839,099
> Total 2014 murders: 170 (24th highest)
> Poverty rate: 15.2% (23rd highest)
Nevada’s violent crime rate of 636 incidents per 100,000 residents is the second highest of any state. A disproportionately large share of violent criminals in the United States tend to be young, unemployed men, which may be especially noteworthy in Nevada. The state has the fourth highest share of men aged 25-54 of any state, and it is tied with Mississippi for the highest unemployment rate in the country. Robberies make up a relatively large proportion of violent crimes committed in Nevada. About 210 robberies are reported for every 100,000 Nevada residents annually, by far the highest robbery rate in the country.
> Violent crimes per 100,000: 635.8
> Population: 736,732
> Total 2014 murders: 41 (11th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.2% (6th lowest)
Alaska’s violent crime rate is the highest of any state in the country. While murders and robberies are not as common in Alaska as they are in many of the other most dangerous states, rape and aggravated assault are highly prevalent. With roughly 105 reported rapes for every 100,000 state residents, the incidence of rape in Alaska is the highest of any state in the country and nearly triple the corresponding national rate. The rate of aggravated assault in Alaska is also disproportionately high. About 440 assaults are reported for every 100,000 people, the second highest rate in the country and nearly double the corresponding national rate.
Unlike most states with a high violent crime rate, people in Alaska are much less likely to be impoverished than most other Americans as the state has the sixth lowest poverty rate in the country. Also, only 3.9% of Alaskan households earn less than $10,000 annually, the second smallest share of any state in the country after only New Hampshire.