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The US Peace Index.

by Sean Milligan

On April 6,2011, the Institute for Peace and Economics released its first U.S. Peace Index. The index compares the relative peacefulness of various states based on a variety of factors, including crime rates, educational attainment, household income, infant mortality rate, etc. The study found that the 10 most peaceful states, in descending order, are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, North Dakota, Utah, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Iowa and Washington. What do these geographically diverse states have in common? Not much, except that all have black populations below the national average, and white, non-Hispanic populations above the national average.

According to the latest census figures, blacks make up about 12.9 percent of the U.S. population. Maine, the most peaceful state, is just 1 percent black. New Hampshire (the second most peaceful) is just 1.4 percent black. The black population is 1 percent in Vermont. Among the 10 most peaceful states, the average black population is only 3.3 percent– about a quarter of the national average.

Nationwide, about 65 percent of the population is European (defined in the census data as white and non-Hispanic). Among the country’s most peaceful states, the percentages are 94.9 percent (Maine), 92.8 percent (New Hampshire) and 94.9 percent (Vermont). On average, the country’s ten most peaceful states have an average European population of 86 percent.

Conversely, the average European population in the ten least peaceful states is just 63.5 percent. The least peaceful state, Louisiana, is just 61.5 percent European.

Amazingly, every single state that has a black population above the national average– a total of 17 states– falls in the bottom half of the peace index. Of those 17 states, 14 also had violent crime rates above the national average.

The Institute for Economics and Peace is by no means a conservative organization. In fact, some of the metrics that were used in the state peace index penalize conservative, rural states, including the “availability of small arms” and the percentage of the population with home internet access. Kentucky, for example, is ranked as only the 20th most peaceful state despite a violent crime rate that is far below the national average. It is more than 87 percent European. Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, West Virginia and Virginia were all excluded from the10 most peaceful list despite below-average violent crime rates. All have European populations above the national average.

The conclusion to be drawn from this data is unmistakable: communities disproportionately comprised of European-Americans are more peaceful than those disproportionately comprised of blacks and Hispanics. Certainly, there are white criminals, just as there are peaceful and law-abiding blacks. However, the statistics leave no doubt that ethnic diversity is negatively related to peacefulness and public safety