It seems like the US has decided to give peace a chance.

According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, 2010 was the most peaceful year in terms of violent crime in the last 20 years. In fact, there has been a higher rise in prison-related crimes than there has been for crimes in the civilian world.

The report assigned a “peace index” to each state based on tabulated data that looked at the number of reported homicides, violent crimes, citizens serving time in prison and police staffing levels. It also measured the ability to access and purchase small guns.

Some states, of course, are more peaceful than others. Maine won the honor of being the most peaceful state for 2011. Louisiana came in dead last as the least peaceful state in the country by the widest margin compared to any other state. California, Michigan and New York all showed the biggest improvements dating back from 1991. Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota experienced the largest decreases in peacefulness.

The 10 Most Peaceful States in the US Based on Their ‘Peace Index’

1. Maine

2. (tie) Vermont and New Hampshire

4. Minnesota

5. Utah

6. North Dakota

7. (tie) Washington and Hawaii

9. Rhode Island

10. Iowa

The 10 Least Peaceful States in the US Based on the Their ‘Peace Index’

1. Louisiana

2. Tennessee

3. (tie) Florida and Nevada

5. Arizona

6. Missouri

7. (tie) Arkansas and Texas

9. South Carolina

10. (tie) Alabama and Mississippi – 3.17

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