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Cost of moving: The price of peace

Maine is the most peaceful state in the Union, according to a recent survey.

Maine is the most peaceful state in the Union, according to a recent survey.

You can't put a price on peace. Beauty pageant contestants long for it, John Lennon wanted you to give it a chance and hippies would much prefer you made it instead of war. A lot of people have a peaceful place they retreat to when they feel stressed out. But if you're packing up and moving to a new state, which one is going to give you the most peace?

For the last 20 years, the Institute for Economics & Peace has ranked each of the 50 states in order of peacefulness. According to the group, there are more benefits to statewide peace than one might think. In addition to the obvious - things will be quieter, calmer, a bit more relaxing - residents of states that have a higher peace rating - as measured by regional crime indices - often have lower tax burdens. This is something that's sure to pique the interest of someone looking for a new locale.

So which state is the most peaceful? It's Maine, according to the United States Peace Index. For 11 years, the Pine Tree State has had the highest peace rating of any state in the Union. Because of the tranquil nature of their neighbors, the average annual tax burden for Maine residents when it comes to law enforcement needs is just $1,281. Compare that with an average of $7,166 per taxpayer in Washington, D.C.

The overall cost of living in Maine is lower than the national average, though it can be a little bit pricier living in the Portland metropolitan area, according to real estate group Maine Home Connection. Everything from entertainment to education costs less in Maine. Even utilities ring it below the national average.

If you don't mind a bit of chaos, however, you might tell the moving company to drop off your stuff in Louisiana. For 20 years running, the Pelican State has been at the bottom of the list of peaceful places. According to the IEP, it ranks last due to high rates of homicide and incarceration (tied with five other southern states), and places in the bottom 10 in other measures like violent crime, police employees and small arms ownership.

It's not all bad news for those on the bayou. According to real estate guru Bert Sperling, the state's average cost of living is much lower than the rest of the United States. But watch out for your air conditioning bill - State Guides USA puts the average temperature in June, July and August at 90 degrees or higher.