The Global Peace Index is a ranking of the safest countries in the world. This report is published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace, “an independent, non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to shifting the world’s focus to peace as a positive, achievable and tangible measure of human wellbeing and progress.” The report researches countries to determine which are the safest based on a number of different metrics.
A total of 163 countries are featured in the report. There are 23 different indicators used to determine how safe or how dangerous a country is. These factors are broken into these categories:
Based on these factors, a score is calculated for each of the 163 nations featured in the report. The lower the score, the higher the nation is ranked in terms of safety.
According to the 2019 version of the report, the nation of Iceland is considered to be the world’s safest country with a peace index of 1.072. This isn’t the first year that this nation has received this honor. In fact, 2019 is the 12th consecutive year that Iceland took the top spot on the list.
New Zealand was ranked as the second safest country in the world in 2019 with a peace index of 1.221, keeping its spot from the report released in 2018. Portugal is ranked third with a peace index of 1.274, up two spots from the 2018 report.
A majority of the top 25 safest countries are European countries. Europe is the only continent to have not seen a decline in safety since 2009. The second most-common region in the top 25 is Asia. Both regions have a homicide rate of about 3 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Most notably are the Nordic countries of Europe. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland are all in the top 25 safest countries, which is why this region is considered to be the safest in the world. The homicide rate in this region is 0.8 incidences per 100,000 inhabitants. These five Nordic countries are all in the top 10 happiest countries in the world as well.
The top 10 safest countries in the world are as follows:
- New Zealand
- Czech Republic
There are some commonalities among the safest countries in the world, such as the their levels of wealth, social welfare, and education. Additionally, these countries have effective criminal justice systems, and the governments maintain very healthy relationships with their citizens.
The United States currently ranks 128th in the Global Peace Ranking. The United States’ ranking has fallen every year since 2016, and can be attributed to a decrease in life satisfaction and an increasing wealth gap.
When comparing 2019’s report to the previous report released in 2018, a total of 86 countries were more peaceful than they were in the previous year. However, 76 “deteriorations” were reported in the 2019 report, indicating that 76 countries were less peaceful in 2019 than in 2018. The average country score improved by 0.09%.
Global peacefulness improved slightly for the first time in five years. Peacefulness improved on average on both the Safety and Security and Militarization domains, but there was a small deterioration on the Ongoing Conflict domain.