The South: Nation’s most violent region

Jul 26, 2012

The American South is the most violent region in the country, according to a study of assault deaths in the United States by Duke University sociologist Kieran Healy.

As the chart below shows, Southern states tend to have two to three more assault deaths per 100,000 people.  (In 2010, the South had just over 7 assault deaths per 100,000 people, compared to about 5 in the Midwest, 4.5 in the West and 4 in the Northeast.)

Says Healy:  “Despite their large differences, all of the U.S. regions have higher average rates of death from assault than any of the 24 OECD countries we looked at previously. The placid Northeast comes relatively close to the upper end of the most violent countries in our OECD group.”

Last year in the Center’s Briefing Book, we noted that five Southern states (Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida and Arkansas) are among the 10 in the nation with the highest rates of violent crime.  See more information.

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