Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) reveals the most peaceful countries in the world. Despite living in the most peaceful century in human history, the world has become less peaceful over the last seven years. 

Author: Gilly Wright, Valentina Pasquali
Project Coordinator: S.J. Yun

The Global Peace Index (GPI) defines a nation at "peace" as being one "not involved in violent conflicts with neighboring states or suffering internal wars" – which is sometimes called "negative peace" (i.e., absence of war). This is more measurable and can be used as a starting point to identify the attributes of "positive peace" (structures and institutions that create and maintain peace).

Since 2008, 111 countries have seen their levels of peace deteriorate, while only 51 have improved.


TOP 10 MOST PEACEFUL COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD


(Full List On Next Page)

Rank

Country

Score

Categories for map

1   Iceland 1.189   Very high state of peace
2   Denmark 1.193   Very high state of peace
3   Austria 1.2   Very high state of peace
4   New Zealand 1.236   Very high state of peace
5   Switzerland 1.258   Very high state of peace
6   Finland 1.297   Very high state of peace
7   Canada 1.306   Very high state of peace
8   Japan 1.316   Very high state of peace
9   Belgium 1.354   Very high state of peace
10   Norway 1.371   Very high state of peace

The 8th edition of the Global Peace Index 2014 is composed of 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators using three broad themes:

Measures of ongoing domestic &
international conflict:
Measures of societal safety & security:
Measures of militarization:
  # of external & internal
  conflicts fought
  Level of perceived
  criminality in society
Military expenditure
as a % of GDP
  Estimated # of deaths
  from organized conflict (external)
  # of displaced people as
  a % of the population
# of armed services
personnel per 100,000 people
  # of deaths
  from organized conflict (internal)
  Political instability Volume of transfers (imports) of
major conventional weapons
per 100,000 people
  Level of organized
  conflict (internal)
  Political Terror Scale Volume of transfers (exports) of
major conventional weapons
per 100,000 people
  Relations with
  neighboring countries
  Terrorist acts Financial contributions to
UN peacekeeping missions


 
  # of homicides
  per 100,000 people
Aggregate weighted # of
heavy weapons
per 100,000 people
  Level of violent crime Ease of access to
small arms & light weapons
  Likelihood of violent
  demonstrations
Military capability/sophistication
  # of jailed population
  per 100,000 people

 
  # of internal security officers
  & police per 100,000 people

The last year included increased tensions in the Ukraine, ongoing conflict in Syria, civil war in South Sudan and a broadening and increased intensity of terrorist activity in many countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines and Libya. All these contributed to the world becoming slightly less peaceful, continuing the global slide in peacefulness, which has now been in effect for the last seven years.

Ongoing civil war in Syria saw it overtake Afghanistan as the least peaceful nation while South Sudan experienced the largest peace decline.

Georgia had the most improved score as it continues to recover from its 2008 conflict with Russia, while Ivory Coast and Libya were the second and third most improved respectively as they too recover from conflict.

At the other end of the peace spectrum, Iceland tops the index again, with several other Nordic and alpine countries also faring well.

Europe keeps its place as the most peaceful region, with fourteen nations in the top 20, although the UK (47) and France (48) fared less well. Austerity-driven unrest and a decline in economic conditions led to social unrest, however, most notably in Greece. 

The largest improvement was seen in what nonetheless remains the most violent region, South Asia (which includes Afghanistan).

Aside from sub-Saharan Africa where violent crime is often fuelled by ethnic tensions and unrest, Latin America, in particular Central America and the Caribbean recorded the highest homicide rates.

Ten countries likely to deteriorate in peace over the next two years are: Zambia, Haiti, Argentina, Chad, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Burundi, Georgia, Liberia and Qatar. 

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