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50 most peaceful countries in the world

  • 50 most peaceful countries in the world

    The typical headlines of the 24-hour news cycle might have you believe peace is impossible to come by. From international wars and humanitarian disasters to fights for independence and authoritarian regimes, it appears there’s no shortage of countries experiencing hostility and violence. In America, we’ve encountered hundreds of mass shootings in 2019 alone, an increasingly powerful prison system, and a rapidly worsening immigration debate and refugee crisis, the tumult of which has pulled hundreds of migrant children from their families.

    Despite global headlines filled with dire depictions of war, heated conflicts, and terror threats, the bigger international picture is more complex when viewed through the lens of year-over-year analysis, which shows that many countries have seen improvements in recent years.

    While marking only a slight change, the annual Global Peace Index (GPI)—the leading measure of peacefulness around the globe—rose for the first time in five years. Each year, the Institute for Economics & Peace’s GPI uses 23 qualitative and quantitative factors to come up with an index score for 163 countries around the world, covering 99.7% of the global population. Three factors have the biggest impact on each country’s score: societal safety and security, ongoing domestic and international conflict, and militarization. This year, the GPI found that peaceful conditions improved in 86 countries and deteriorated in 76 others.

    A higher number of people around the world said they have more freedom and are more satisfied with their quality of life, and a higher number of people also reported that their countries have become better places to live for ethnic and religious minorities. But while the conflicts and crises of the past decade may have eased a bit, new tensions have arisen in their place. In areas where there were declines in the overall peace, one can find evidence of terrorism, conflict, regional and political tensions, and growing numbers of refugees.

    In the 2019 GPI, Europe remained the most peaceful region in the world and showed a slight improvement after several years of decline. Nearly two-thirds of the 36 European countries bettered their records. The biggest increases for peace took place in the Russian and Eurasian region—thanks to a decline in the number of deaths from conflict and terrorism—while Afghanistan was ranked least peaceful, replacing Syria, which sat at the bottom of the list in 2018.

    Stacker mined data from the GPI to inspect the 50 most peaceful countries in the world. What follows are 50 nations that serve as shining examples of nonviolence and relative tranquility. Absent from this list is the United States, which fell four spots from 2018 to take 128th place on the rankings, behind South Africa (127) and Niger (126).

    Keep reading to find out where the 50 most peaceful countries in the world rank.

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  • #50. Serbia

    - Global Peace Index score: 1.812

    Serbia rose five places to make this year’s top-50 most peaceful list. Propelling its climb was a decline in the number of refugees and asylum seekers. However, the Balkan nation did record an increase in terrorism.

  • #49. Timor-Leste

    - Global Peace Index score: 1.805

    This year marked the first time Timor-Leste made the top 50 countries in the index, after rising 12 places. Independent for under two decades, it has steadily climbed the ranks of the index in recent years. By comparison, the other four most peaceful Southeast Asia nations—Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Laos—have enjoyed many more decades of stability.

  • #48. Zambia

    - Global Peace Index score: 1.805

    Zambia ranked as the fifth most peaceful nation in Sub-Saharan Africa, and its overall ranking remained unchanged this year. It was the scene of civil unrest, street protests, violence, and looting, as well as home invasions and sexual assaults. Along its borders with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola lay the danger of undetected landmines and unexploded ordnance.

  • #47. Panama

    - Global Peace Index score: 1.804

    Panama, which edged up two places, has seen an improvement in its socio-economic system including a construction boom and a government capital investment program that included a public metro system in Panama City. However, political stability in the country has been deteriorating.

  • #45. United Kingdom

    - Global Peace Index score: 1.801

    The United Kingdom returned to the top 50 list, rising five places after dropping off in 2018 due to rising nationalism. It had been on the list for the previous decade. However, the U.K. ranked 13th from the bottom among world nations in terms of militarization.

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  • #45. Laos

    - Global Peace Index score: 1.801

    Laos rose two places from last year and came in at ninth in the Asia-Pacific region. Still, the nation had civil unrest and crime in some areas, particularly in remote areas along its border with Myanmar.

  • #44. Ghana

    - Global Peace Index score: 1.796

    Ghana ranked as the fourth most peaceful nation in Africa, after Botswana, Malawi, and Mauritius. The biggest factor in the West African nation's ranking was its substantial gains in political stability.

  • #43. Kuwait

    - Global Peace Index score: 1.794

    Kuwait ranked as the second most peaceful country in the Middle East and North Africa––which ranks as the least peaceful region in the world––after Qatar. Kuwait placed fifth in the world in terms of per capita military expenditure, after Saudi Arabia, the United States, Israel, and Singapore.

  • #42. Mongolia

    - Global Peace Index score: 1.792

    A former satellite state of the Soviet Union, Mongolia has had peaceful elections in recent years. With the government’s emphasis on mining, however, there have been some anti-mining and environmental protests. Also, the country had a problem with street crime, unprovoked xenophobic attacks against foreigners, and sexual harassment of women. Ulaanbaatar had the highest homicide rate of any Asian city.

  • #41. Indonesia

    - Global Peace Index score: 1.785

    While Indonesia was among the most peaceful nations in the Asia-Pacific (rising 14 places in the index), it is vulnerable to rising seas and carried a high risk of climate hazard, which could mean breakdowns in peace in the future. Some 2,000 of its islands are expected to be submerged by mid-century.

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