Most Violent Countries 2022

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Which country is the most violent in the world? The answer to that question can change depending upon which specific type of violence one chooses to evaluate. For example, one measure of violence might be to examine statistics such as the number of homicides, mass shootings, and stabbing deaths to determine the murder rate of each country. Another measure might be to compare the total number of terrorist attacks or violent crimes per country. Rape statistics per country are another possible avenue of investigation and would likely help determine the most dangerous countries for women. It might also be appropriate to check a list of countries currently at war with drug lords, insurrectionists, or one another. Each of these metrics is a valid measure of violence, and each will result in a unique list of countries. That said, when enough data can be compared, trends do emerge that show certain countries are burdened with a greater degree of ongoing violence than others.

Perhaps the most comprehensive measure of a country's level of violence is the annual Global Peace Index from the Institute for Economics & Peace, which is designed to measure peace but in the process also measures the opposite of peace: violence. This report gauges the presence or absence of violence, from the simple fear of it to actual violent acts, across 23 categories that are then grouped into three domains: Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict (6 indicators); Societal Safety and Security (10 indicators); and Militarisation (7 indicators). These indicators cover a wide range of topics, from military conflicts and political instability to homicide rates and levels of violent crime. 2021's most peaceful country, Iceland, attained an overall score of 1.1 (low scores are better). However, thirteen countries managed to score 2.9 or more, indicating that they were the least peaceful/most violent countries in the world.

The national cost of violence

The most obvious negative impact of violence is its potential to inflict injury or death upon people. However, violence can also damage a country and its people in many less direct and/or less obvious ways. One of the most far-reaching effects of prolonged violence is its tendency to suppress the economy and the infrastructure, which can result in decreased income from tourism, a less functional industrial sector, reduced wages, increased poverty, and reduced access to public services from clean water to public education to health care. The end result is a massive overall reduction in quality of life. If these trends continue, they can ultimately make the country one of the world's worst countries in which to live (or, for foreigners, the worst counties to visit).

Top 13 Most Violent Countries in the World (Global Peace Index 2021):

  1. Afghanistan - 3.631 (higher scores indicate less peace)
  2. Yemen - 3.407
  3. Syria - 3.371
  4. South Sudan - 3.363
  5. Iraq - 3.257
  6. Somalia - 3.211
  7. Congo (Dem. Rep of) - 3.196
  8. Libya - 3.166
  9. Central African Republic - 3.131
  10. Russia - 2.993
  11. Sudan - 2.936
  12. Venezuela - 2.934
  13. North Korea - 2.923

As the Global Peace Index (the rest of which is viewable in the table further down this page) implies, most of the most violent countries on Earth are located in three geographical regions: Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Violence in these regions is frequently sparked by ongoing poverty and fueled by factors such as oppressive or exploitative governments; civil wars and/or armed insurrections; or tensions between people of different races, ethnicities, or religions.

Five additional studies of violence per country

Additional tools, metrics, and studies can offer further insight into the various levels of violence in each of the world's countries. Many of these evaluations produce conclusions that support, even mirror those of the Global Peace Index. For example, the risk management company Drum Cussac released a study that tabulated data in the categories of political, medical, environmental, infrastructural, and security risk. Based on this data, the ten most violent countries included Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Burundi, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Libya. The only one of these that falls outside the GPI's top 13 is Burundi, which still lands at 35th most violent out of the 163 countries on the GPI.

Meanwhile, a 2021 "Travel Risk Map" by fellow risk management specialists International SOS measured indicators ranging from political violence and petty crime to medical services. The resulting map gave its highest risk rating to (in no particular order) Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Libya, Mali, and parts of Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Egypt near the Gaza Strip.

Other studies focus upon specific categories of violence, which can produce different results. Brazilian think tank the Igarape Institute analyzes the number of homicides in nations across the world to determine the most violent countries. This study's 2019 data found that 17 of the 20 countries with the highest homicide rates were located in Latin America. In fact, seven of these countries: Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, are among the top 20 countries in the world for overall death count from homicides. Overall, Latin America and the Caribbean have 8% of the world's population, but 33% of its homicides.

An unrelated analysis by the World Economic Forum investigated the prevalence of terrorism and violence in each country and chose the nations of Pakistan, El Salvador, Nigeria, Yemen, and Colombia as among the most dangerous countries in the world. In another report, Insider Monkey compiled data on crime and political instability and selected as its most dangerous countries (in descending order) Syria, Libya, Somalia, Venezuela, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Central African Republic.

The Top 10 Least Violent Countries in the World (Global Peace Index 2021):

  1. Iceland - 1.100 (Lower scores are better)
  2. New Zealand - 1.253
  3. Denmark - 1.256
  4. Portugal - 1.267
  5. Slovenia - 1.315
  6. Austria - 1.317
  7. Switzerland - 1.323
  8. Ireland - 1.326
  9. Czech Republic - 1.329
  10. Canada - 1.330

On the opposite end, the world's safest countries are Iceland, New Zealand, and Portugal, which also happened to be three of the world's four most peaceful countries during 2021. Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan have some of the overall lowest crime rates worldwide.

Most Violent Countries 2022

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Most Violent Countries 2022

Note: Higher Peace Index scores indicate increased violence.
Country Peace Index 2021 2022 Population
Afghanistan3.63140,754,388
Yemen3.40731,154,867
Syria3.37119,364,809
South Sudan3.36311,618,511
Iraq3.25742,164,965
Somalia3.21116,841,795
DR Congo3.19695,240,792
Libya3.1667,040,745
Central African Republic3.1315,016,678
Russia2.993145,805,947
Sudan2.93645,992,020
Venezuela2.93429,266,991
North Korea2.92325,990,679
Pakistan2.868229,488,994
Turkey2.84385,561,976
Mali2.81321,473,764
Lebanon2.7976,684,849
Nigeria2.712216,746,934
Cameroon2.727,911,548
Colombia2.69451,512,762
Israel2.6698,922,892
Ukraine2.6643,192,122
Iran2.63786,022,837
Mexico2.62131,562,772
Ethiopia2.613120,812,698
Palestine2.615,345,541
Niger2.58926,083,660
Eritrea2.5553,662,244
India2.5531,406,631,776
Burkina Faso2.52722,102,838
Zimbabwe2.4915,331,428
Chad2.48917,413,580
Myanmar2.45755,227,143
Nicaragua2.4456,779,100
Burundi2.43412,624,840
Brazil2.43215,353,593
Philippines2.417112,508,994
Egypt2.397106,156,692
Saudi Arabia2.37635,844,909
Honduras2.37110,221,247
South Africa2.34460,756,135
United States2.337334,805,269
Azerbaijan2.33410,300,205
Algeria2.3145,350,148
Republic of the Congo2.2915,797,805
Mauritania2.294,901,981
Belarus2.2859,432,800
Kenya2.25456,215,221
Togo2.2398,680,837
Uganda2.21948,432,863
Thailand2.20570,078,203
Lesotho2.2022,175,699
Guatemala2.19518,584,039
El Salvador2.1846,550,389
Turkmenistan2.1546,201,943
Haiti2.15111,680,283
Papua New Guinea2.1499,292,169
Djibouti2.1461,016,097
Bolivia2.1411,992,656
Ivory Coast2.12327,742,298
Mozambique2.12333,089,461
Bahrain2.1211,783,983
Guyana2.114794,045
China2.1141,448,471,400
Guinea Bissau2.1132,063,367
Tunisia2.10812,046,656
Tajikistan2.0959,957,464
Benin2.09312,784,726
Sri Lanka2.08321,575,842
Armenia2.0752,971,966
Gabon2.0742,331,533
Guinea2.06913,865,691
Bangladesh2.068167,885,689
Uzbekistan2.06234,382,084
Georgia2.0543,968,738
Ecuador2.04418,113,361
Cuba2.04211,305,652
Trinidad And Tobago2.0291,406,585
Rwanda2.02813,600,464
Dominican Republic2.02411,056,370
Angola2.01735,027,343
Morocco2.01537,772,756
Cambodia2.00817,168,639
Liberia1.9985,305,117
Kyrgyzstan1.9986,728,271
Paraguay1.9977,305,843
Jamaica1.9922,985,094
Oman1.9825,323,993
Bosnia And Herzegovina1.973,249,317
Zambia1.96419,470,234
Madagascar1.96329,178,077
Eswatini1.9551,184,817
Argentina1.94546,010,234
Kazakhstan1.93619,205,043
Greece1.93210,316,637
Namibia1.9272,633,874
Panama1.9194,446,964
Jordan1.91610,300,869
Equatorial Guinea1.9151,496,662
Cyprus1.9121,223,387
Moldova1.9094,013,171
Malawi1.90920,180,839
Tanzania1.89263,298,550
South Korea1.87751,329,899
Timor Leste1.8731,369,429
France1.86865,584,518
Senegal1.86417,653,671
Gambia1.8532,558,482
United Arab Emirates1.84810,081,785
Montenegro1.847627,950
Vietnam1.83598,953,541
Chile1.83119,250,195
Albania1.8242,866,374
Uruguay1.8173,496,016
Sierra Leone1.8138,306,436
Laos1.8097,481,023
Serbia1.7978,653,016
Mongolia1.7833,378,078
Indonesia1.783279,134,505
Botswana1.7532,441,162
North Macedonia1.7442,081,304
Costa Rica1.7355,182,354
Ghana1.71532,395,450
Lithuania1.6892,661,708
Kuwait1.6884,380,326
Latvia1.6861,848,837
Taiwan1.66223,888,595
United Kingdom1.65868,497,907
Italy1.65260,262,770
Spain1.62146,719,142
Estonia1.6121,321,910
Qatar1.6052,979,915
Mauritius1.5921,274,727
Bulgaria1.5776,844,597
Slovakia1.5575,460,193
Romania1.5319,031,335
Poland1.52437,739,785
Malaysia1.51533,181,072
Bhutan1.51787,941
Netherlands1.50617,211,447
Belgium1.49611,668,278
Hungary1.4949,606,259
Croatia1.484,059,286
Germany1.4883,883,596
Australia1.4726,068,792
Sweden1.4610,218,971
Norway1.4385,511,370
Finland1.4025,554,960
Japan1.373125,584,838
Singapore1.3475,943,546
Canada1.3338,388,419
Czech Republic1.32910,736,784
Ireland1.3265,020,199
Switzerland1.3238,773,637
Austria1.3179,066,710
Slovenia1.3152,078,034
Portugal1.26710,140,570
Denmark1.2565,834,950
New Zealand1.2534,898,203
Iceland1.1345,393

Most Violent Countries 2022

Sources