U.S. Peace Index makes TIME, USA Today

NextNow Collab met Steve Killelea in 2007 while preparing the Fifth International Symposium for Digital Earth.  Steve couldn’t make it to present at the conference but thanks to our ISDE5 team member Tim Foreman we caught up with him between flights at the San Francisco International Airport where he introduced The Peace Index.  We’ve been waiting all these years and it’s amazing to see the Peace Index of the United States completed and launched earlier this month.  Now, it’s making the news.

From their website and other sources:

Just two weeks ago, the Institute for Economics and Peace launched the first-ever United States Peace Index (USPI) and we have already seen a tremendous response.  Nearly 200 news stories have featured the report, with the USPI as a must-read story on USA Today and featured in TIME, the Huffington PostThe Washington Times and The Guardian, amongst many others.  We were overwhelmed not only by the level of the response but also by its positive tone.

The USPI ranks the 50 U.S. states according to their levels of peacefulness, identifies the environments associated with peace, and estimates the cost savings and additional economic activity of increased peace.  Click here to watch a short video about the findings.

The report finds that in the U.S., reductions in violent crime and incarceration to levels equal to Canada would yield an estimated $361 billion in direct savings and additional economic activity, and potentially create 2.7 million jobs.  It also shows that peace is linked to health, education, and opportunity but not related to political affiliation.

This research aims to further understand the types of environments that are associated with peace and to help quantify the economic benefits that could result from increases in peace, leading to a more informed discussion around these opportunities. The Index is now being used as a resource for policy discussions, with an op-ed on the report published by a U.S. Congressman and as a tool for advocacy.  Download the full report:

More on the index:

The inaugural United States Peace Index, created by the international think tank, Institute for Economics and Peace is the first-ever ranking of the fifty U.S. states based on their levels of peace. The U.S. Peace Index (USPI) shows Maine is the most peaceful U.S. state, while Louisiana is ranked the least peaceful.

The USPI report reveals that peace in the United States has improved since 1995 primarily driven by a substantial decrease in homicide and violent crime.


  • First-ever ranking of peace in the U.S. shows the nation has become more peaceful since 1995
  • Reductions in violence and crime to levels equal to Canada would yield an estimated $89 billion in direct savings, $272 billion in additional economic activity, and potentially create 2.7 million jobs.
  • New York, California and Texas record highest increases in peace since 1991, while North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana see largest declines
  • Peace is significantly correlated with factors related to  economic opportunity, education and health
  • Peace is politically neutral – neither Republican nor Democratic states have an advantage

Economic Impact – potential to create 2.7 million jobs

The Institute for Economics and Peace estimates that at a time when states and lawmakers in Washington are struggling to balance budgets, the USPI shows reductions in violence, crime and incarcerations to the same levels as Canada would result in $361 billion in savings and additional economic activity. This additional economic activity has the potential to create 2.7 million jobs, which would significantly reduce unemployment.

Education and health outcomes correlate strongly with peace

The USPI also finds that a state’s ranking is strongly correlated with various socio-economic factors including the high school graduation rate, access to health insurance and the rate of infant mortality. Significant economic correlants included the degree of income inequality and the rate of participation in the labor force. Meanwhile, factors such as median income and a state’s political affiliation had no discernable impact on a state’s level of peace.