What's the Most Peaceful Country in the World?
By Kathy Zager on 06/14/2012 @ 11:26 AM
Ever wonder which has more ‘peace’: China or the United States? What about Israel, or Iran?
It may seem too abstract to measure, but on Tuesday, the Institute for Economics and Peace released its 6th annual Global Peace Index, an in-depth ranking of the peacefulness of 158 nations. The study measures 23 differently-weighted factors such as terrorist acts, percentage of jailed population, and military expenditure as a percentage of GDP.
The GPI reports that the world overall is a little more peaceful than last year. Unsurprisingly, military expenditure as a percentage of GDP decreased throughout the world this year, in response to economic difficulty in many countries. Terrorist acts decreased this year, as did the number of accessible heavy weapons. Globally, violence has shifted internally: civil conflicts and violent confrontations within nations have increased, while outward conflict has decreased. Democracies—even flawed democracies—ranked as more peaceful than any other type of government.
Although its score increased from last year, the U.S. dropped six positions overall and is now ranked the 88th most peaceful nation. Iceland, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada and Japan comprise the five most peaceful, while the DRC, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and Somalia are the least peaceful.
What does this mean for us? We are encouraged that this study affirms our belief that peace and prosperity go hand in hand. The GPI makes clear that nations with resources wrapped up in massive defense budgets are not able to deal flexibly with a changing economy, effectively educate their students, or otherwise provide effective infrastructure. The same is true of nations with damaged or absent workforces due to violence or the threat of violence.
For more information, explore this interactive version of the 2012 Global Peace Index.