Want peace in America? Don’t get political — move to Maine.
We’re not quick to fall for that hippie mumbo-jumbo about peace and love saving the world — oh wait, yes we are! — but we do feel that it’d be quite nice to live in a more peaceful nation.
Luckily for us, the Institute of Economics and Peace (yes, this does exist) has produced the first-ever United States Peace Index in an effort to determine what environments are most conducive to peace and to quantify the benefits of increasing tranquility in our great states.
The good news here is that peace in the U.S. has actually increased since the mid-90s, if only by 8%, driven by substantial decreases in homicides and violent crimes. This in turn has led to economic gains and opportunities. The bad news is that we still have a long way to go to become a zen-like nation.
(More on TIME.com: See pictures of the Peace Symbol’s 50th anniversary)
The IEP study delves into five indicators — the number of homicides, violent crimes, jailed populations, police officers and arms available — to rank states in the final peace index, which tells us what states are the safest and most violent.
As for the results, well, they’re not exactly surprising. The most peaceful states are those that NewsFeed imagines to be magical places with white-picket fences, butterflies and puppy dogs. And lighthouses: Maine takes the top prize, followed by New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota and North Dakota. Conversely, the least peaceful (read: most dangerous) states almost completely cover the dirty south: Louisiana sits at the bottom, followed closely by Tennessee, Nevada, Florida and Alabama.
(More on TIME.com: See why your state doesn’t suck)
The researchers also point out that the most peaceful states are those that have healthier, more educated citizens and better opportunities for success. Politics, on the other hand, is not correlated to peace (or so they say), as neither red nor blue states have a discernible advantage in becoming more or less peaceful.
But while we’re undeniably drawn to the concept of peacefulness, there’s no need to worry; NewsFeed isn’t packing up to move to Maine, although we do hear they have great lobster. We’re actually quite content that our home state of New York has become 32.3% safer over the last decade. After all, we’re willing to live life on the edge, but not that close to the edge. (via Huffington Post)