Most peaceful countries in the world 2020

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The most peaceful countries in the world have been updated for 2020. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below

The world has become slightly less dangerous for the first time in five years, according to the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) report. However, over the last 10 years the world has become less peaceful overall with the average level of global peacefulness deteriorating by 3.78%.

The GPI report is the only statistical measure of its kind and makes it possible to rank 163 independent states based on how peaceful they are. The 163 states cover over 99.7% of the world’s population and are assessed using 23 indicators, each banded or normalised on a scale of 1-5.

The index, produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP), measures global peace using three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarisation.

most peaceful countries in the world map
IEP Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world

Peace is notoriously difficult to define. The IEP approaches it by attempting to assess the “harmony achieved by the absence of violence or the fear of violence” in a society. More information on the methodology, including details of the 23 indicators used, can be found from page 84 of the report.

A divided world

In 2019, the average level of global peacefulness improved slightly from the year before. This is the first time the global level of peace has improved in the last five years. The average country score improved by 0.09%. A total of 86 countries improved and became more peaceful while 76 countries deteriorated and became less peaceful.

Iceland has maintained its position as the most peaceful country in the world. It has been ranked as such every year since 2008. After Iceland, New ZealandPortugalAustria and Denmark are the most peaceful countries in the world.

At the other end of the scale, Afghanistan is now the least peaceful country in the world, replacing Syria, which is now the second least peaceful. South Sudan, Yemen and Iraq make up the remaining least peaceful countries.This is the first year since the inception of the index that Yemen has been ranked in the bottom five.

most peaceful countries in the world and region changes
IEP Europe remained the most peaceful geographical region

Four of the world’s nine regions became more peaceful in 2019. Russia and Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and Middle East and North Africa all became more peaceful.

For the 11th successive year, Europe remained the most peaceful geographical region with 22 countries becoming more peaceful. The United States (36th) has declined for the third consecutive year falling four places since last year.

Africa and the Middle East still suffer from the same regional conflicts that have plagued them since the scramble for Africa at the end of the 19th century. These regions remain the world’s most volatile despite their improvement overall.

Ukraine (150), Sudan (151), Egypt (136), North Macedonia (65) and Rwanda (79) showed the largest improvements in peacefulness. Nicaragua (120), Burkina Faso (104), Zimbabwe (132), Brazil (116) and Iran (139) showed the largest deteriorations.

Most peaceful countries in the world ranked

The table below ranks 163 of the world’s countries by how they scored on the Global Peace Index. Some countries have been omitted due to lack of sufficient data.

RANKCOUNTRYSCORE
1Iceland1.072
2New Zealand1.221
3Portugal1.274
4Austria1.291
5Denmark1.316
6Canada1.327
7Singapore1.347
8Slovenia1.355
9Japan1.369
10Czech Republic1.375
11Switzerland1.383
12Ireland1.390
13Australia1.419
14Finland1.488
15Bhutan1.506
16Malaysia1.529
17Netherlands1.530
18Sweden1.533
19Belgium1.533
20Norway1.536
21Hungary1.540
22Germany1.547
23Slovakia1.550
24Mauritius1.562
25Romania1.606
26Bulgaria1.607
27Chile1.634
28Croatia1.645
29Poland1.654
30Botswana1.676
31Qatar1.696
32Spain1.699
33Costa Rica1.706
34Uruguay1.711
35Latvia1.718
36Taiwan1.725
37Estonia1.727
38Lithuania1.728
39Italy1.754
40Malawi1.779
41Indonesia1.785
42Mongolia1.792
43Kuwait1.794
44Ghana1.796
45Laos1.801
46United Kingdom1.801
47Panama1.804
48Zambia1.805
49Timor-Leste1.805
50Serbia1.812
51Albania1.821
52Sierra Leone1.822
53United Arab Emirates1.847
54Tanzania1.860
55Madagascar1.867
56South Korea1.867
57Vietnam1.877
58Senegal1.883
59Liberia1.889
60Namibia1.892
61France1.892
62The Gambia1.908
63Cyprus1.914
64Kazakhstan1.932
65North Macedonia1.933
66Greece1.933
67Montenegro1.939
68Moldova1.951
69Oman1.953
70Equatorial Guinea1.957
71Ecuador1.980
72Eswatini1.986
73Sri Lanka1.986
74Benin1.986
75Argentina1.989
76Nepal2.003
77Jordan2.012
78Angola2.012
79Rwanda2.014
80Peru2.016
81Bosnia and Herzegovina2.019
82Tunisia2.035
83Jamaica2.038
84Dominican Republic2.041
85Bolivia2.044
86Kosovo2.049
87Haiti2.052
88Paraguay2.055
89Cambodia2.066
90Morocco2.070
91Cuba2.073
92Guyana2.075
93Trinidad and Tobago2.094
94Mozambique2.099
95Kyrgyz Republic2.105
96Gabon2.112
97Belarus2.115
98Papua New Guinea2.118
99Georgia2.122
100Guinea2.125
101Bangladesh2.128
102Uzbekistan2.166
103Lesotho2.167
104Burkina Faso2.176
105Uganda2.196
106Tajikistan2.196
107Cote d' Ivoire2.203
108Togo2.205
109Djibouti2.207
110China2.217
111Algeria2.219
112Guinea-Bissau2.237
113El Salvador2.262
114Guatemala2.264
115Turkmenistan2.265
116Brazil2.271
117Thailand2.278
118Armenia2.294
119Kenya2.300
120Nicaragua2.312
121Republic of the Congo2.323
122Mauritania2.333
123Honduras2.341
124Bahrain2.357
125Myanmar2.393
126Niger2.394
127South Africa2.399
128United States of America2.401
129Saudi Arabia2.409
130Azerbaijan2.425
131Ethiopia2.434
132Zimbabwe2.463
133Eritrea2.504
134Philippines2.516
135Burundi2.520
136Egypt2.521
137Chad2.522
138Cameroon2.538
139Iran2.542
140Mexico2.600
141India2.605
142Palestine2.608
143Colombia2.661
144Venezuela2.671
145Mali2.710
146Israel2.735
147Lebanon2.800
148Nigeria2.898
149North Korea2.921
150Ukraine2.950
151Sudan2.995
152Turkey3.015
153Pakistan3.072
154Russia3.093
155Democratic Republic of the Congo3.218
156Libya3.285
157Central African Republic3.296
158Somalia3.300
159Iraq3.369
160Yemen3.412
161South Sudan3.526
162Syria3.566
163Afghanistan3.574

Lead image: Andrew Mayovskyy/Shutterstock

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