In the past two years, more states have improved in than deteriorated in peacefulness, with 2021 witnessing the highest number of improving states in the past seven years. However, despite the vast majority of states improving in peacefulness in 2021, the national score experienced only a marginal improvement. This reflects the degree to which deteriorations in a minority of states are driving elevated levels of violence in Mexico.

5 Mexico states that deteriorated the most in peacefulness in 2022

In comparison to previous years, the five Mexican states with the largest deteriorations in peacefulness all experienced relatively modest changes in score in 2021. Four of the five states that deteriorated the most in peacefulness also recorded the country’s largest deteriorations in both homicide and firearms crime rates, in contrast to the national trend toward improvement.


In 2021, Sonora experienced the largest decline in peacefulness in Mexico. The state deteriorated across all indicators, except for detention without a sentence. The most significant change was in the homicide indicator, with the rate rising by 20.8 %, equivalent to 1,975 deaths. Sonora’s homicide rate of 63.5 per 100,000 people is now the fifth highest rate in the country.


Zacatecas experienced the second largest deterioration in Mexico in 2021, marking its sixth consecutive year of decline. Since 2015, Zacatecas has experienced the most drastic fall in peacefulness of any state, falling from 14th to 31st in the rankings. 2021 was the worst year since at least 2015 for Zacatecas across all indicators, except for detention without a sentence.

Nuevo León

In 2021, Nuevo León posted the third largest deterioration in peacefulness in Mexico, falling from 18th to 21st in the rankings. This decline was driven by substantial deteriorations in organized crime, homicide and violent crime, while slight improvements were recorded in the firearms crime and detention without sentence indicators.


Morelos had the fourth largest deterioration in Mexico in 2021, dropping one place from the previous year to become the seventh least peaceful state in the country. This deterioration was driven almost exclusively by increases in the state’s homicide rate, which rose by 22.9 %, the second largest increase in the country, after Zacatecas.


The fifth largest deterioration in peacefulness occurred in Michoacán, which placed 25th in the rankings in 2021, down one spot from 2020. The state deteriorated across all indicators except for detention without a sentence, registering its worst homicide, violent crime, firearms crime and organized crime rates since at least 2015.

The Mexico Peace Index (MPI) is based on the concepts and framework of the Global Peace Index (GPI), the leading global measure of peacefulness produced annually by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) since 2007.

ENG MPI 2022 Cover Art

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