Ranked: most peaceful countries in the world 2021

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The most peaceful countries in the world have been updated for 2021. Read our insights from the study and browse the rankings below

Iceland is once again the most peaceful country in the world followed by New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal, and Slovenia.

However, the world is a less peaceful place as civil unrest and political instability has increased due to the global pandemic according to the latest Global Peace Index (GPI) report.

Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world for the fourth year in a row, followed by Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and Iraq.

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% of the world’s population and are assessed using 23 indicators, each banded or normalised on a scale of 1-5.

most peaceful countries in the world 2020
ANDREW MAYOVSKYY/SHUTTERSTOCK Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world

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.

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 on page 75 of the report.

10 LEAST and most peaceful countries

Least peaceful

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Yemen
  3. Syria
  4. South Sudan
  5. Iraq
  6. Somalia
  7. DR Congo
  8. Libya
  9. Central African Republic
  10. Russia

Most peaceful

  1. Iceland
  2. New Zealand
  3. Denmark
  4. Portugal
  5. Slovenia
  6. Austria
  7. Switzerland
  8. Ireland
  9. Czech Republic
  10. Canada
Demonstrators in the UK
Brian Duffy/Shutterstock Civil unrest has risen due to the pandemic

Key Findings

  • Iceland has maintained its position as the most peaceful country in the world. It has been ranked first every year since 2008.
  • Afghanistan is the world’s least peaceful country for the fourth consecutive year.
  • The average level of global peacefulness declined by 0.07% in 2021.
  • The average level of global peacefulness declined by 2% since 2008.
  • This is the 10th time in the last 13 years that global peacefulness has declined.
  • Civil unrest has risen globally by 10% with Belarus recording the largest deterioration.
  • There were 14,871 violent demonstrations, protests and riots recorded globally in 2020.
  • The death toll from terrorism has declined for the sixth consecutive year.
  • 87 countries improved and 73 recorded a deterioration over the past year.
  • Ukraine (+6 places), Iraq (+2), Poland (+9), Vietnam (+19) and North Macedonia (+11) recorded the largest improvements in their peace scores.
  • Europe remains the most peaceful region in the world and is home to eight of the 10 most peaceful countries.
  • North America recorded the largest deterioration in 2021, with the average level of peacefulness in the region falling by 1.8%.
  • Despite recording the largest improvement in peacefulness in 2021, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remains the least peaceful.
map of the most peaceful countries in the world 2021
Vision of Humanity Mapping the most peaceful countries

World’s Most peaceful countries – 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
1Iceland1.100
2New Zealand1.253
3Denmark1.256
4Portugal1.267
5Slovenia1.315
6Austria1.317
7Switzerland1.323
8Ireland1.326
9Czech Rep.1.329
10Canada1.330
11Singapore1.347
12Japan1.373
13Finland1.402
14Norway1.438
15Sweden1.460
16Australia1.470
17Croatia1.480
17Germany1.480
19Hungary1.494
20Belgium1.496
21Netherlands1.506
22Bhutan1.510
23Malaysia1.515
24Poland1.524
25Romania1.530
26Slovakia1.557
27Bulgaria1.577
28Mauritius1.592
29Qatar1.605
30Estonia1.612
31Spain1.621
32Italy1.652
33UK1.658
34Taiwan1.662
35Latvia1.686
36Kuwait1.688
37Lithuania1.689
38Ghana1.715
39Costa Rica1.735
40North Macedonia1.744
41Botswana1.753
42Indonesia1.783
42Mongolia1.783
44Serbia1.797
45Laos1.809
46Sierra Leone1.813
47Uruguay1.817
48Albania1.824
49Chile1.831
50Vietnam1.835
51Montenegro1.847
52UAE1.848
53The Gambia1.853
54Senegal1.864
55France1.868
56Timor-Leste1.873
57South Korea1.877
58Tanzania1.892
59Malawi1.909
59Moldova1.909
61Cyprus1.912
62Equatorial Guinea1.915
63Jordan1.916
64Panama1.919
65Namibia1.927
66Greece1.932
67Kazakhstan1.936
68Argentina1.945
69Eswatini1.955
70Madagascar1.963
71Zambia1.964
72Bosnia Herz.1.970
73Oman1.982
74Jamaica1.992
75Paraguay1.997
76Kyrgyzstan1.998
76Liberia1.998
78Cambodia2.008
79Morocco2.015
80Angola2.017
80Kosovo2.017
82Dominican Rep.2.024
83Rwanda2.028
84Trinidad & Tobago2.029
85Nepal2.033
86Peru2.034
87Cuba2.042
88Ecuador2.044
89Georgia2.054
90Uzbekistan2.062
91Bangladesh2.068
92Guinea2.069
93Gabon2.074
94Armenia2.075
95Sri Lanka2.083
96Benin2.093
97Tajikistan2.095
98Tunisia2.108
99Guinea-Bissau2.113
100China2.114
100Guyana2.114
102Bahrain2.121
103Cote d'Ivoire2.123
103Mozambique2.123
105Bolivia2.140
106Djibouti2.146
107Papua New Guinea2.149
108Haiti2.151
109Turkmenistan2.154
110El Salvador2.184
111Guatemala2.195
112Lesotho2.202
113Thailand2.205
114Uganda2.219
115Togo2.239
116Kenya2.254
117Belarus2.285
118Mauritania2.290
119Rep. Congo2.291
120Algeria2.310
121Azerbaijan2.334
122USA2.337
123South Africa2.344
124Honduras2.371
125Saudi Arabia2.376
126Egypt2.397
127Philippines2.417
128Brazil2.430
129Burundi2.434
130Nicaragua2.445
131Myanmar2.457
132Chad2.489
133Zimbabwe2.490
134Burkina Faso2.527
135India2.553
136Eritrea2.555
137Niger2.589
138Palestine2.610
139Ethiopia2.613
140Mexico2.620
141Iran2.637
142Ukraine2.660
143Israel2.669
144Colombia2.694
145Cameroon2.700
146Nigeria2.712
147Lebanon2.797
148Mali2.813
149Turkey2.843
150Pakistan2.868
151North Korea2.923
152Venezuela2.934
153Sudan2.936
154Russia2.993
155Central African Rep.3.131
156Libya3.166
157DR Congo3.196
158Somalia3.211
159Iraq3.257
160South Sudan3.363
161Syria3.371
162Yemen3.407
163Afghanistan3.631

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Lead image: ANDREW MAYOVSKYY/SHUTTERSTOCK

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