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List: States where rape is most common

By John D. Sutter, CNN
updated 9:52 AM EST, Tue February 4, 2014
Rape is underreported nationwide, but Alaska's rate of reported rape is three times the national average.
Rape is underreported nationwide, but Alaska's rate of reported rape is three times the national average.
  • Alaska is estimated to have the highest rape rate in the country
  • The 2012 FBI crime data measure reported incidents of rape
  • Columnist John Sutter is covering rape in Alaska as part of Change the List
  • Alaska's rate is three times the national average; New Jersey's rate is lowest

Editor's note: John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN Opinion and head of CNN's Change the List project. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. E-mail him at

Juneau, Alaska (CNN) -- "Alaska has an epidemic," Gov. Sean Parnell told me. It's not bear attacks or deadly roads. It's rape and violence against women.

Reported rape is more common in Alaska than any other state, according to 2012 FBI crime estimates. The per capita rate is about three times the national average.

In America's "Last Frontier" state, nearly 80 incidences of rape are reported per 100,000 people, the data show. Nationally, the rate is 27 per 100,000.

The rapist next door

I recently spent more than two weeks in Alaska reporting on the state's high rape rate. You voted for me to cover this topic as part of CNN's Change the List project.

John D. Sutter
John D. Sutter

Below, I'll leave you with the full list of states. Rape is least frequent (or is least frequently reported) in New Jersey. The state with the second-highest rate of reported rape, behind Alaska, is South Dakota, with a rate of 70 per 100,000.

The lawless 'end of the land'

The FBI cautions against comparing crime rates across states without considering factors like demographics, climate, culture, economics and law enforcement capabilities. And rape is notoriously underreported nationwide, so take these numbers as estimates. The FBI only counts reported incidents of rape.

5 ways to help end rape in Alaska

But Alaska can't use those caveats as an excuse. A 2010 survey shows 59% of adult women in Alaska experience intimate partner violence, including threats, and/or sexual assault. And 37% suffer from rape or sexual violence.

So, with that in mind, here's the list of states and Washington, D.C., starting with those where rape is least frequently reported -- and ending with Alaska.

Alaska faces its 'resident evil'

Rates are the number of reported forcible rapes per 100,000 people.

1. New Jersey - 11.7

2. New York - 14.6

3. Virginia - 17.7

4. Vermont - 19.3

5. North Carolina - 20.3

6. Hawaii - 20.5

7. California - 20.6

8. Maryland - 21

9. Wisconsin - 21.3

10. Georgia - 21.4

11. West Virginia - 22.7

12. Massachusetts - 24.7

13. Missouri - 25.1

14. Louisiana - 25.2

15. Indiana - 25.5

16. Connecticut - 25.6

17. Pennsylvania - 26.1

18. Delaware - 26.5

19. Wyoming - 26.7

20. Alabama - 26.9

21. Florida - 27.2

22. Rhode Island - 27.4

23. Mississippi - 27.5

24. Illinois - 27.7

25. Maine - 28

26. Iowa - 28.3

27. Kentucky - 29

28. Oregon - 29.2

29. Texas - 29.6

30. Idaho - 30

31. Minnesota - 30.5

32. Tennessee - 31.5

33. Ohio - 31.7

34. Washington - 31.8

35. Utah - 33

36. Nevada - 33.7

37. New Hampshire - 34

38. Arizona - 34.7

39. South Carolina - 35.5

40. Kansas - 36.5

41. District of Columbia - 37.3

42. Montana - 37.7

43. Nebraska - 38.3

44. North Dakota 38.9

45. Colorado - 40.7

46. Oklahoma - 41.6

47. Arkansas - 42.3

48. New Mexico - 45.9

49. Michigan - 46.4

50. South Dakota - 70.2

51. Alaska - 79.7

What do you think about where your state ranks? Let me know in the comments.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of John D. Sutter.

Part of complete coverage on
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