Louisiana Most Violent State in the U.S.

Tennessee, Nevada, Florida and Arizona round out the top 5 most violent states in the U.S.

New Orleans, Louisiana.
By + More

Looking for a peaceful place to visit this summer? You might want to re-route your road trip and steer clear of Louisiana.

According to a recent report from the Institute for Economics and Peace, Louisiana was ranked America's most violent state for the 20th year in a row, based on homicide, violent crime and incarceration rates, as well availability of firearms.

[See today's best photos.]

Louisiana isn't the only state that has issues keeping the peace. Tennessee, Nevada, Florida and Arizona rounded out the top 5 most violent states, with Arizona recording the largest fall.

Violence in America not only takes its toll on communities and families, but it's a huge economic drain on the country. The annual tab for violence and its aftermath across America comes in around $460 billion, according to the IEP report, which includes costs for victims' medical care and the prison system, as well as lost productivity.

The burden to taxpayers varies across the country: In Washington, D.C., the cost of violence is more than $7,100 per resident. By contrast, in Maine—the most peaceful state in the country, according to the study—the burden is around $1,280 per taxpayer.

[Read: LaGuardia, LAX Top List of America's Worst Airports.]

The study goes on to say that if violence dropped to Maine's level, almost $275 billion in extra economic activity would be generated, potentially fueling the creation of more than 1.7 million jobs.

But despite some states' poor marks, nationally things haven't been more peaceful since 1991.

"What the [report] shows is that over the past 20 years, America has become substantially more peaceful, witnessing a significant and sustained reduction in direct violence," said IEP founder and executive chairman Steve Killelea in a release.

"Homicide rates in the U.S. have halved since 1991 and the violent crime rate has also fallen by nearly half during the same period."

[Read: More Americans Using Their Smartphones to Shop.]

The top three states serving as poster children for peace in the U.S.—Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire—are clustered on the country's east coast. Further west, Minnesota and Utah round out the top 5 most peaceful states.

Meg Handley is a business reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at mhandley@usnews.com and follow her on Twitter.