Iceland Retains Most Peaceful Nation Title; U.S. drops to 101st

Sunday, August 10, 2014
(graphic: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Once again, Iceland has been named the most peaceful nation in the world and again the United States has fallen in the rankings by the Institute for Economics and Peace.


Last year, the United States was ranked 99th most peaceful country in the world, out of 162. The U.S. has slipped two places in this year’s survey to 101st, nestled between Benin and Angola. Canada did much better in the rankings, coming in seventh in the world. To the south, Mexico landed at 138.


Part of the reason for the U.S. slippage in the rankings was because of terror attacks, specifically the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.


Europe was listed as the most peaceful continent, with seven of the top 10 peaceful nations. Denmark finished second in the rankings, followed by Austria. According to the report, Scandinavian and alpine countries do best in the rankings. However, Europe’s status was also helped by improving conditions in the Balkan countries as they continued to divest themselves of Soviet-era weaponry. There are also a smaller number of refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Serbia.


North America was the next most peaceful continent, thanks largely to Canada’s score. The Asia-Pacific region was next, with New Zealand, which led the list as recently as 2010, in fourth place. The least peaceful country in that region, as might be guessed, was North Korea.

South America came next, led by Uruguay in 29th place worldwide. It was followed by Central America and the Caribbean with Costa Rica on top at 42. Next came Sub-Saharan Africa; then Russia and Eurasia, followed by the Middle East and North Africa, which contained the least-peaceful country of the year, Syria; and finally South Asia, which was pulled down in the rankings by India (143), Pakistan (154), and Afghanistan (161).


The biggest movers in the survey were Georgia, which jumped from 139th most peaceful in 2013 to 111th this year and South Sudan, which fell from 143rd last year to 160.

The study also measured the economic impact of dealing with violence. The worldwide cost was about $9.8 trillion, or $1,350 for each person on Earth. That’s a 3.8% rise from 2012.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Global Peace Index 2014 (Institute for Economics and Peace) (pdf)

Global Peace Index 2013 (Institute for Economics and Peace) (pdf)

Global Peace Map (Vision of Humanity)

Iceland Ranked World’s Most Peaceful Nation, Somalia Worst; U.S. Improves to 82nd (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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