Every year, the “International Day of Peace” or the “Peace Day” is observed around the world on 21 September. It was first celebrated in 1981 and was established by a unanimous United Nations resolution. Dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, Peace Day provides globally shared data for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace. We bring to you a list of the most peaceful countries of the world, according to the Global Peace Index that you can add to your bucket list!
Annually, an international think-tank Institute for Economics and Peace releases the GPI, which is considered the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness. This study ranks 163 independent states and territories (home to 99.7% of the world’s population) according to their level of peacefulness. This ranking is based on 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources that are grouped into three thematic domains: the level of Societal Safety and Security; the extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict; and the degree of Militarization. The top 12 peaceful countries listed according to the fifteenth edition of the GPI are:
According to the Global Peace Index 2021, Iceland is the most peaceful country in the world. This is Iceland’s 14th year in a row that it retains the number one spot. Ireland, a sovereign country which is part of the United Kingdom, records the lowest crime rates. With no standing army, navy or air force plus a 100% literacy rate, rich population diversity, harmony and multiculturalism, Iceland has bagged the first position. In fact, Iceland is so safe that even the Icelandic police do not carry guns on them.
Holding on to the number two spot in the index since 2017, New Zealand is one of the most unpolluted countries in the world. It has a perfect score in the domains of health, education, jobs, domestic and international conflict, militarization and safety. This country with over 5 million people has relatively low crime rates and is considered as one of the least corrupt countries in the world.
From 2011 to 2016, Denmark has held the number two spot in a row but sadly it dropped subsequently to number five in 2017. From there it has picked on and climbed the charts to secure the third spot. The small changes in the ranking in the past few years show that the kingdom is doing well in terms of a high degree of political stability, freedom of the press and respect for human rights. Denmark boasts of a high level of income equality, and low levels of crime, which makes it one of the happiest nations in the world.
Portugal this year has slipped one spot from the previous year and taken the number four spot. For the past 3-4 years, Portugal has always held the third position. Climbing on the Global Peace Index has been really quick for this country with around 10 million people. With a low crime rate, relaxed pace of life and fabulous coastal scenery, Portugal is one of the most affordable destinations on the continent.
Slovenia came into the top 10 indexes only in 2018. Jumping five positions in the ranking in just one year is an achievement in itself. This little piece of paradise with as little as 2 million population is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. Slovenia is known for its wonderful trekking countryside and marvellous food that it seems to have inherited from Italy and other neighbouring countries. Along with this, it’s also the fourth least militarized country in the world.
Austria slipped one spot in the Global Peace Index compared to last year but performs well in many measures of well-being such as income, jobs, and housing. With the lowest crime rates, Austria is one of the safest countries to travel to. It boasts a wonderfully clean environment, for keeping friendly relations with its neighbours and a great transport system.
Switzerland is another of the European countries that are known to be among the most peaceful countries in the world. It grabbed the seventh spot overall, scoring third for safety and security in society. Though Switzerland has a multi-ethnic population and religious diversity, it is recognized for positive peace, stability and prosperity. Indeed a role model for other ethnically diverse countries and regions of the world.
This year Ireland has managed to move up a few spots from the previous years to stand at the 8th position. Ireland is one of the wealthiest, peaceful regions and happiest nations in the world. As per OSAC crime in the country is exceedingly rare though it has a high population. They have been able to reach this position even with diversity in population and multiculturalism. Because of its neutral army and independent status, this country is ranked as one of the most peaceful countries in the world.
The Czech Republic has made the greatest sustained improvements in peacefulness over the last 10-year period. From political stability to personal security and international relations, the Czech Republic has always shown growth year after year. This small nation of around 10.8 million people boasts of the lowest unemployment rates, average jobs and earnings, work-life balance and education and skills. A combination of all these makes this country fall under the top ten peaceful countries of the world.
10th in this ranking list, Canada has fallen a few places below after holding the sixth spot in the ranking for three consecutive years. Its high scores in factors related to internal conflicts, levels of crime and political stability may have dropped as a result of other top-performing countries having larger percentage improvements. Also while it is one of the largest landmasses in the world with a relatively small population (just under 37 million), Canada offers excellent work opportunities, good health facilities and effective governance.
Advancing fast up from its 21st place in 2018, Singapore surely sets a perfect example for all the city-states in this world. This place is considered one of the peaceful countries of the world because of its consistent low crime rates, a transparent legal system, and a reliable police force supported by proactive citizens. Singapore scored highly in the aspects of societal safety and security and stayed out of domestic and international conflict.
Japan is known for its impeccably polite people and a transport system that’s the envy of the world. While this peaceful and technologically advanced nation is three times more densely populated than Europe and twelve times more than the U.S., yet it still manages to rank highly for both peace and quality of life. Since the end of World War II, Japan has consistently followed the path of peace, and has achieved stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the international community. Japan is the only Asian country to be ranked in the top twenty peaceful countries of the world.
The level of global peacefulness is deteriorating by 2% every year. With the current civil unrest and political instability due to the global pandemic who wouldn’t want to be a part of these peaceful nations. Have you been to these destinations before? If yes, do let us know about your experiences below and if not then, what are you waiting for?
A well-functioning government, acceptance of the rights of others, good relations with neighbors, low levels of corruption, transparency with free flow of information and equal distribution of resources are the key pillars for peace.
As per 2021 GPI, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and Iraq are the least peaceful countries of the world.
India has moved up two places from its previous year’s ranking to become the 135th most peaceful country in the world.