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Is your country peaceful? This list has the answers

This week the nonprofit Institute for Economics and Peace released its Global Peace Index for 2015. The index ranks 162 nations based on things like crime rates, militarization, and involvement in conflicts.

Let’s see how it all panned out:

With the most peaceful countries in green and the least peaceful in red, it’s easy to notice a pattern: the majority of peaceful nations are in Europe, while the least peaceful are in Africa, the Middle East, and Eurasia. Asia and much of the Americas lie somewhere in the middle.

Most Peaceful

Least Peaceful

1. Iceland

1. Syria

2. Denmark

2. Iraq

3. Austria

3. Afghanistan

4. New Zealand

4. South Sudan

5. Switzerland

5. Central African Republic

6. Finland

6. Somalia

7. Canada

7. Sudan

8. Japan

8. Democratic Republic of the Congo

9. Australia

9. Pakistan

10. Czech Republic         

10. North Korea

So what does this all mean? Here’s what you need to know:

1. This is the ninth edition of the Index. The index covers 99.6 % of the world’s population, and “gauges global peace using three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarization.”

2. Iceland was ranked as the world’s most peaceful country. Fun fact, it’s also ranked second according to the World Happiness Index.

3. Syria was ranked as the least peaceful, just followed by Iraq. Not surprising, considering militant group ISIS continues to control and terrorize regions in both countries.

4. As an American, I was interested to learn that the US ranked in the bottom half of the list, coming in at 94th place. Makes sense, when you think about it. The US ranked poorly in terms of militarization, fear of violence, and homicide (ahem GUNS).

5. The Index divides the globe into nine geographical regions. Of these, four experienced an increase in peace: Europe, North America, sub-Saharan Africa and Central America and the Caribbean.

6. The other regions experienced a decrease in peace, with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) taking the lead as the least peaceful region in the world.

7. On a macro level, the Index identified two global trends: a decrease in violent demonstrations and homicide, balanced with an increase in terrorism, militarization, and ongoing conflict.

8. Over the past eight years, the world has become less peaceful, with the average country score decreasing by 2.4%. This is mostly due to an increase in internal conflicts.

9. In addition to the human cost associated with conflict, the world is actually losing money. The index reports that violence costs the world 13.4% of GDP.


Check out the Index for more highlights and data on a country-by-country basis. This year’s Index paints a clear picture of just how much work needs to be done, while celebrating the incredible progress that’s been made.