- Global Peace Index
According to this year’s edition of an annual report from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), Botswana, Kuwait, Morocco, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Angola, and Burkina Faso all have one surprising thing in common: They are more peaceful than the US.
The Global Peace Index from the IEP compiles yearly rankings of peacefulness in 162 nations based on 23 different types of data.
The IEP attempts to answer a simple question: Is the world getting more or less peaceful?
While the most peaceful nations in the world are growing more peaceful, with some reaching historic highs, the least peaceful countries are descending further into chaos and war.
The report also includes an analysis of the economic impact of containing and dealing with the consequences of global violence. Last year violence containment was estimated to cost $14.3 trillion, which is approximately 13.4% of the world’s gross domestic product.
Here’s a look at the highlights of the report (and here’s the full report):
Europe is home to the majority of the world’s most peaceful nations.
Of the 20 most peaceful countries in the world, 15 are located in Europe. Greece rose 22 places, and the United Kingdom rose eight, after diminishing their military presence in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the US ranked 94th out of 162 nations.
The US sits in the middle tier of the ranking because of long-running international military campaigns, unparalleled levels of incarceration and homicide, and colossal military spending.
Nations like Vietnam and Kosovo that were mired in ugly conflicts years ago have bounced back and become relatively peaceful.
The least peaceful nations are almost all in Africa and the Middle East.
Over the past year, 69 countries have reported a combined total of 20,000 deaths from terrorism, a 60% increase from last year.
Of those 20,000 deaths, 85% occurred in Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Hands down, Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world.
- Facebook/Blue Lagoon Iceland
Iceland has held the top spot on the list of most peaceful nations since 2008 – except for a hiatus in 2014, when Iceland was ranked second on the list.
Syria remains the least peaceful country.
The bloody civil war in Syria led it to replace Afghanistan as the least peaceful country in 2014.
A year later, Syria still holds the disreputable top spot.
Syria had the worst scores in the following categories: security officers and police, perceptions of criminality, access to weapons, intensity of internal conflict, violent demonstrations, violent crime, political instability, political terror, deaths from internal conflict, displaced people, and neighboring countries relations.