The Institute for Economics and Peace conducts an annual ranking of which countries in the world are the safest, called the Global Peace Index. The 2020 report shows that the world is less peaceful today than it was a year ago.
The report concludes that “the conflicts and crises that emerged in the past decade have begun to abate, only to be replaced with a new wave of tension and uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
But while the factors that affect world peace clearly change over time, one fact has stayed constant; the same country has taken the top spot for the past 12 years–Iceland. The U.S. came 121 on the list, the same as last year.
Japan has a score of 1.36 on the peace index because it has a low homicide rate and its citizens can’t get their hands on weapons, plus transport is good, particularly its high speed trains. It has moved up two places from 2019.
The gap between the least and most peaceful countries continues to grow. Since 2008, the 25 least peaceful countries declined on average by 12.9%, while the 25 most peaceful countries improved by 2.1%.
Civil unrest has doubled since 2011–96 countries recorded a violent demonstration in 2019, with Europe recording the most. Political instability is likely to be exacerbated by the emerging economic crisis.
The report covers 99.7% of the world’s population and uses 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources to compile the index. The indicators cover three main areas: ‘ongoing conflict’, ‘safety and security’, and ‘militarisation’–all three of which got worse during the course of the last research period.