Most and least peaceful places in Mexico

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18th July 2022
most and least peaceful places in Mexico
Rubi Rodriguez Martinez/Shutterstock

The most and least peaceful places in Mexico have been updated for 2022. Yucatán was named the most peaceful state, while Baja California the least.

In past years, Mexico has jostled with Thailand and Russia for a place on the list of the world’s most visited countries. Currently, it sits comfortably mid-list with over 45 million tourist arrivals in 2019 – the latest reliable data available.

Particularly, for Americans, Mexico – with its famous beach resorts such as Cancún and Acapulco – is the preferred vacation destination. According to the US Department of Commerce, Mexico is by far the most popular destination for US travellers. In 2019, 39.3 million American residents visited the country.

Likewise, it is also the most popular destination for American expats with almost 900,000 American-born residents living in Mexico. Mexico City alone has over 400,000 Americans living there, making it the single urban environment outside the US with the largest number of American-born residents.

Puerto Vallarta beach in Mexico
Mexico appeals to expats and digital nomads

Mexico is also extremely popular with digital nomads and was recently ranked the 19th-best country for remote workers. The country currently offers a remote work visa scheme to anyone who can work remotely for a location-independent business or owns a non-Mexican company. The visa lasts for 12 months, with an option to extend for a further three years.

An appealing climate, low cost of living and exceptional and affordable medical care have made Mexico a tempting destination for global tourists, expats and digital nomads alike. As such, it looks as if Mexico will only grow in popularity.

A colour-coded map of the most and least peaceful places in Mexico
GPI Mapped: the most and least peaceful places in Mexico

However, when it comes to safety and security, Mexico regularly suffers from bad press with headlines often focusing on the worst of the country’s dangerous and violent crimes which are nearly always related to organized criminal activities.

It would also be remiss to gloss over the troubles the country faces. According to the Mexico Peace Index, produced by the Vision of Humanity for the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), Mexico’s peacefulness deteriorated by 17.1% over the last seven years.

The deterioration was been driven by substantial increases in criminal activity, with the rate of organised crime rising by 48.1% since 2015, driving high levels of homicides in Mexico. The national homicide rate has nearly doubled from 15.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015 to 26.6 in 2021.

The city of Tijuana in Baja California
Denis Kabanov/Shutterstock The city of Tijuana in Baja California

That said, in the past two years, peacefulness in the country has improved by 3.6% with 2021 seeing another increase, albeit smaller at just 0.2%. Overall, 23 of the 32 states improved in peacefulness, while nine states deteriorated over the last 12 months. While this is encouraging, the country clearly has a long way to go.

The index measures peace using five key indicators, scored between 1 and 5, where 1 represents the most peaceful score and 5, the least peaceful. The data was gathered from 2015 to 2019 and is comprised of the following five indicators:

  • Homicide: the number of victims of intentional homicide per 100,000 people.
  • Violent Crime: the number of robbery, sexual assault, and family violence cases and the number of violent assault victims per 100,000 people.
  • Organized Crime: the number of extortions, drug trade-related crimes, and kidnapping or human trafficking investigations per 100,000 people.
  • Firearms Crime: the number of victims of intentional or negligent homicide or assault committed with a firearm per 100,000 people.
  • Detention without a Sentence: the ratio of persons in prison without a sentence to the number of homicides and violent crimes.

The Vision of Humanity also produces the Global Peace Index, which ranks the most peaceful countries in the world, as well as indices for the USA, UK and a Global Terrorism Index.

most and least peaceful places in Mexico

Now in its eighth year, the Mexico Peace Index ranks all 32 Mexican states from most peaceful to least peaceful. Yucatán was named the most peaceful state, while Baja California the least. All data used to calculate the MPI comes from government organisations in Mexico.

  1. Yucatán, 1.254
  2. Tlaxcala, 1.517
  3. Chiapas, 1.613
  4. Campeche, 1.622
  5. Hidalgo, 1.817
  6. Nayarit, 1.869
  7. Coahuila, 1.967
  8. Veracruz, 2.028
  9. Puebla, 2.042
  10. Durango, 2.051

  1. Tamaulipas, 2.064
  2. Tabasco, 2.113
  3. Aguascalientes, 2.15
  4. Oaxaca, 2.29
  5. Sinaloa, 2.294
  6. Querétaro, 2.348
  7. Mexico City, 2.426
  8. Baja California Sur, 2.478
  9. Jalisco, 2.496
  10. San Luis Potosí, 2.73

  1. Nuevo León, 2.802
  2. Guerrero, 2.862
  3. Mexico State, 2.904
  4. Quintana Roo, 3.052
  5. Michoacán, 3.19
  6. Morelos, 3.299
  7. Chihuahua, 3.517
  8. Sonora, 3.524
  9. Guanajuato, 3.567
  10. Colima, 3.989
  11. Zacatecas, 4.227
  12. Baja California, 4.307

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Lead image: Rubi Rodriguez Martinez/Shutterstock