Global Peace Index: The World is Less Peaceful (Again)

This week, Vision of Humanity released the 2011 Global Peace Index. The index looks at 23 indicators in 149 countries around the world and ranks them in terms of how peaceful they are. The indicators look at both internal peace (within the country) and external peace (in terms of their military action abroad).

Some of the indicators include:

  • Level of violent crime
  • Potential for terrorist acts
  • Relations with neighboring countries
  • Number of homicides per 100,000 people
  • Estimated number of deaths from organized conflict
  • Level of disrespect for human rights (Political Terror Scale)
  • Ease of access to weapons of minor destruction

The 2011 report found that the world is a less peaceful place (for the third year in a row). This was due to the increased threat of terrorism and violent demonstrations in around 30 countries. The factor that was most improved around the world was the military expenditure as a percentage of GDP.

Overall, the countries that were ranked the highest (most peaceful) were:

1. Iceland
2. New Zealand
3. Japan
4. Denmark
5. Czech Republic

The countries that were ranked the lowest were:

149. North Korea
150. Afghanistan
151. Sudan
152. Iraq
153. Somalia

As one might expect, countries that have been in the news due to recent internal conflicts ranked quite low on the report, including Pakistan (146), Israel (145), Libya (143) and Bahrain (123).

Canada’s ranking improved significantly from 2010 to 2011, jumping six places from 14th to 8th. The United States ranking remained unchanged from last year at 82nd place. 

According to the summary Fact Sheet on the index, “if the U.S. moderately reduced its violence to the same levels as Canada, its economy would realise savings and additional economic activity of approximately US$360 billion.” Worldwide, the report estimates that if the world had been completely peaceful in 2010, this would have generated an additional US$8.12 trillion in economic activity.

Related Stories:

Gaddafi Must Go! Says International “Contact Group”

George Mitchell Quits Mideast Peace Push — Does This Mean Obama Is Too?

Food Prices Spike Worldwide: And They’re Going Higher

Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.

Image credit: Katrina Nicole


Janine H.
Janine H6 years ago

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B6 years ago


Terri Lynn S.

Colleen, you are so right. I care about animals as much as any (healthy minded) person should, but kind of pathetic when people on Care2 will sign more petitions to save the whales than to save people, by stopping selective service and the U.S. wars of aggression onto 3rd world nations (and its own people for that matter). It does not surprise me at all that the U.S. ranks 82nd People within the U.S. can't even have a peaceful political discussion these days, so polarized and emotional it becomes.

Damien Wilson
Damien Wilson6 years ago

hatred can only be stopped with love, not more hatred. The resolution to violence is a change in thinking

Beth M.
Beth M6 years ago

Interesting article.

dawn w.
Dawn W6 years ago

See,there are many AR people who have extreme (to say the least) views,and unfortunately they tend to be the loudest ones.Sane AR people do exist,we just tend to go unnoticed because we're quieter.

colleen prinssen
colleen p6 years ago

Maybe you are a rare exception Dawn, but I've seen quite a few who want to send Japan another nuke for eating whales, and that only savages and barbarians kill and eat sea mammals.
so , I assume "how could they be peaceful when....?"

dawn w.
Dawn W6 years ago

Oh,and Colleen,I am an AR person,and I'm not raged at all.Was that comment necessary?

dawn w.
Dawn W6 years ago

Please excuse my immature language,but: duh.

Howard C.
.6 years ago

If we could all just try to be a little more understanding, this would include the rich being prepared to share just a little of their wealth then we could all live happier productive lives. Identifying the problem is one thing - discovering how to move that idea forward is regretably far more difficult.