With the highest homicide rate and one of the highest rates of handgun accessibility, Louisiana ranks dead last on the Institute for Economics and Peace’s latest U.S. Peace Index. The non-profit think tank headquartered in New York and Sydney, Australia, ranks states on five primary indicators: homicides per 100,000 people, violent crimes per 100,000 people, incarceration rate, per capita number of police officers and availability of small arms.
The Bayou State (as in, “I’m gonna pass by you house and shoot y’ass!”) is preceded in ascending order by fellow bottom dwellers Tennessee, Florida, Nevada and Alabama. Southern states were generally among the most violent while the northeast, New England and upper Midwest fared well. The report ranks states based on a composite score, with a low score being better. For comparison, the United States’ overall peace index is 2.056 while Canada’s is 1.392.
Read the full report here. In the meantime, here’s what the IEP had to say about the Pelican State (as in, “I’m gonna kill that pelican and throttle you with it!”):
With a score of 3.97, Louisiana is the lowest ranking state on the USPI. It is however interesting to note that since 1997 Louisiana has increased its peacefulness by 17%. This was due to improvements in all of its indicators other than the incarceration rate.
Although Louisiana has a high crime rate, the number of police officers is near the national average. Louisiana however has the highest incarceration rate of any state at 886 prisoners per 100,000 people, as well as the highest number of homicides. This closely corresponds to very high availability of small arms at 67% or 3rd highest gun availability in the country.
Louisiana’s low state of peace corresponds to a bottom ten ranking in all 15 significant correlations. Louisiana is ranked 48th on the infant mortality rate (9.17), has 10.7% of the population with diabetes, while 16% of the population is not covered by health insurance. The state is characterized by a high poverty rate of 17.6%, low perceptions of access to services, lower than average labor force participation rates and the fourth worst income inequality in the country.
Louisiana does however have lower-than-national average unemployment.