Global Peace Index

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World map of the Global Peace Index. Countries appearing more blue are ranked as more peaceful on the Index, countries appearing more red are ranked as less peaceful.

The Global Peace Index is an attempt to measure the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness. It is maintained by the Economist, an international panel of peace experts from peace institutes and think tanks, together with the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, Australia. The list was launched in May 2007, and is claimed to be the first study to rank countries around the world according to their peacefulness. The study is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneur Steve Killelea and is endorsed by individuals such as the Dalai Lama, archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former US president Jimmy Carter. Factors examined by the authors include internal factors such as levels of violence and crime within the country and factors in a country's external relations such as military expenditure and wars.


The research team was headed by The Economist Intelligence Unit in conjunction with academics and experts in the field of peace. They measured countries' peacefulness based on wide range of indicators, 24 in all. A table of the indicators is below.[1] In the table, UCDP stands for the Uppsala Conflict Data Program maintained by the University of Uppsala in Sweden, EIU for The Economist Intelligence Unit, UNSCT for the United Nations Survey of Criminal Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, ICPS is the International Center for Prison Studies at King's College London, IISS for the International Institute for Strategic Studies publication The Military Balance 2007, SIPRI for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Arms Transfers Database, and BICC for the Bonn International Center for Conversion.

1 Number of external and internal wars fought UCDP 2000 to 2005 Total number[2]
2 Estimated deaths due to external wars UCDP 2004 to 2005 Total number[2]
3 Estimated deaths due to internal wars UCDP 2004 to 2005 Total number[2]
4 Level of organized internal conflict EIU 2007 Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5
5 Relations with neighbouring countries EIU 2007 Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5
6 Level of distrust in other citizens EIU 2007 Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5
7 Number of displaced persons as percentage of population World Bank 2003 Refugee population by percentage of the origin country's population
8 Political instability EIU 2007 Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5
9 Level of respect for human rights (political terror scale) Amnesty International 2005 Qualitative measure
10 Potential for terrorist acts EIU 2007 Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5
11 Number of homicides UNSCT 2004 and 2002 Intentional homicides, including infanticide, per 100,000 people
12 Level of violent crime EIU 2007 Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5
13 Likelihood of violent demonstrations EIU 2007 Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5
14 Number of jailed persons ICPS 2006 Persons incarcerated per 100,000 people
15 Number of police and security officers UNSCT 2002 and 2000 Civil security officers per 100,000 people[3]
16 Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP IISS 2004 Cash outlays for armed forces, as a percentage of GDP[4]
17 Number of armed services personnel IISS 2004 Full-time military personnel per 100,000 people
18 Imports of major conventional weapons SIPRI 2001 to 2005 Imports of major conventional weapons per 100,000 people[5]
19 Exports of major conventional weapons SIPRI 2001 to 2005 Exports of major conventional weapons per 100,000 people[5]
20 United Nations deployments IISS 2006 to 2007 Total number
21 Non-United Nations deployments IISS 2006 to 2007 Total number
22 Number of heavy weapons BICC 2003 Weapons per 100,000 people[6]
23 Ease of access to small arms and light weapons EIU 2007 Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5
24 Military capability or sophistication EIU 2007 Qualitative scale, ranked 1 to 5

Indicators not already ranked on a 1 to 5 scale were converted by using the following formula: x=(x-Min(x))/(Max(x)-Min(x)) where Max(x) and Min(x) are the highest and lowest values for that indicator of the countries ranked in the index. The 0 to 1 scores that resulted were then converted to the 1 to 5 scale. Individual indicators were then weighted according to the research team's judgment of their importance. The scores were then tabulated into two weighted sub-indices: internal peace, weighted at 60% of a country's final score, and external peace, weighted at 40% of a country's final score.[7]

The main findings of the Global Peace Index are:

  • Peace correlated to indicators such as income, schooling and the level of regional integration
  • Peaceful countries often shared high levels of transparency of government and low corruption
  • Small, stable countries which are part of regional blocks are most likely to get a higher ranking.[8]

Statistical analysis was applied to discover more specific drivers of peace. Specifically, the research team looked for indicators that were included and excluded from the index that had high levels of correlation with the overall score and rank of countries. Among the statistically significant indicators that were not used in the analysis were the functionality of a country's government, regional integration, hostility to foreigners, importance of religion in national life, and GDP per capita.[9]

Notably absent from the study are Belarus, Iceland, many African nations, Mongolia, North Korea and Afghanistan. They were not included because reliable data for the 24 indicators was not available.[10]

Criticism and response to criticism

The Economist, in publishing the index, admitted that, "the index will run into some flak." Specifically, according to The Economist, the weighting of military expenditure "may seem to give heart to freeloaders: countries that enjoy peace precisely because others (often the USA) care for their defense." However, the magazine goes on to argue that this specific indicator only comprises about 3% of the weighting and the true utility of the index may lie not in its specific rankings of countries now, but in how those rankings change over time, thus tracking when and how countries become more or less peaceful.[11]

The Peace Index has been criticised for not including indicators specifically relating to violence against women and children. Riane Eisler, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, argued that, "to put it mildly, this blind spot makes the index very inaccurate." She mentions a number of specific cases, including Egypt, where she claims 90 percent of women are subject to genital mutilation, China, where, she says, "female infanticide is still a problem," and Chile, where 26% of women, "suffered at least one episode of violence by a partner, according to a 2000 UNICEF study."[12]

The Index has received endorsements from a number of major international figures, including the Dalai Lama, archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former United States President Jimmy Carter.[13] Steve Killelea, the Australian philanthropist who conceived the idea of the Index, argues that the Index, "is a wake-up call for leaders around the globe."[14]

2007 Global Peace Index rankings

Nations considered the most peaceful have lower index scores.[15]

Rank Country Score
1 Norway Norway 1.357
2 New Zealand New Zealand 1.363
3 Denmark Denmark 1.377
4 Republic of Ireland Ireland 1.396
5 Japan Japan 1.413
6 Finland Finland 1.447
7 Sweden Sweden 1.478
8 Canada Canada 1.481
9 Portugal Portugal 1.481
10 Austria Austria 1.483
11 Belgium Belgium 1.498
12 Germany Germany 1.523
13 Czech Republic Czech Republic 1.524
14 Switzerland Switzerland 1.526
15 Slovenia Slovenia 1.539
16 Chile Chile 1.568
17 Slovakia Slovakia 1.571
18 Hungary Hungary 1.575
19 Bhutan Bhutan 1.611
20 Netherlands Netherlands 1.620
21 Spain Spain 1.633
22 Oman Oman 1.641
23 Hong Kong Hong Kong 1.657
24 Uruguay Uruguay 1.661
25 Australia Australia 1.664
26 Romania Romania 1.682
27 Poland Poland 1.683
28 Estonia Estonia 1.684
29 Singapore Singapore 1.692
30 Qatar Qatar 1.702
31 Costa Rica Costa Rica 1.702
32 South Korea South Korea 1.719
33 Italy Italy 1.724
34 France France 1.729
35 Vietnam Vietnam 1.729
36 Taiwan Taiwan 1.731
37 Malaysia Malaysia 1.744
38 United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates 1.747
39 Tunisia Tunisia 1.762
40 Ghana Ghana 1.765
41 Madagascar Madagascar 1.766
42 Botswana Botswana 1.786
43 Lithuania Lithuania 1.788
44 Greece Greece 1.791
45 Panama Panama 1.798
46 Kuwait Kuwait 1.818
47 Latvia Latvia 1.848
48 Morocco Morocco 1.893
49 United Kingdom United Kingdom 1.898
50 Mozambique Mozambique 1.909
51 Cyprus Cyprus 1.915
52 Argentina Argentina 1.923
53 Zambia Zambia 1.930
54 Bulgaria Bulgaria 1.936
55 Paraguay Paraguay 1.946
56 Gabon Gabon 1.952
57 Tanzania Tanzania 1.966
58 Libya Libya 1.967
59 Cuba Cuba 1.968
60 China China 1.980
61 Kazakhstan Kazakhstan 1.995
62 Bahrain Bahrain 1.995
63 Jordan Jordan 1.997
64 Namibia Namibia 2.003
65 Senegal Senegal 2.017
66 Nicaragua Nicaragua 2.020
67 Croatia Croatia 2.030
68 Malawi Malawi 2.038
69 Bolivia Bolivia 2.052
70 Peru Peru 2.056
71 Guinea Guinea 2.059
72 Moldova Moldova 2.059
73 Egypt Egypt 2.068
74 Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 2.071
75 Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 2.089
76 Cameroon Cameroon 2.093
77 Syria Syria 2.106
78 Indonesia Indonesia 2.111
79 Mexico Mexico 2.125
80 Ukraine Ukraine 2.150
81 Jamaica Jamaica 2.164
82 Republic of Macedonia Republic of Macedonia 2.170
83 Brazil Brazil 2.173
84 Serbia Serbia 2.181
85 Cambodia Cambodia 2.197
86 Bangladesh Bangladesh 2.219
87 Ecuador Ecuador 2.219
88 Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea 2.223
89 El Salvador El Salvador 2.244
90 Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 2.246
91 Kenya Kenya 2.258
92 Turkey Turkey 2.272
93 Guatemala Guatemala 2.285
94 Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago 2.286
95 Yemen Yemen 2.309
96 Lebanon Lebanon 2.317
97 Iran Iran 2.320
98 Honduras Honduras 2.390
99 South Africa South Africa 2.399
100 Philippines Philippines 2.428
101 Azerbaijan Azerbaijan 2.448
102 Venezuela Venezuela 2.453
103 Ethiopia Ethiopia 2.479
104 Uganda Uganda 2.489
105 Thailand Thailand 2.491
106 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe 2.495
107 Algeria Algeria 2.503
108 Myanmar Myanmar 2.524
109 India India 2.530
110 Uzbekistan Uzbekistan 2.542
111 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 2.575
112 Angola Angola 2.587
113 Ivory Coast Cote d'Ivoire 2.638
114 United States United States 2.662
115 Pakistan Pakistan 2.697
116 Colombia Colombia 2.770
117 Nigeria Nigeria 2.898
118 Russia Russia 2.903
119 Israel Israel 3.033
120 Sudan Sudan 3.182
121 Iraq Iraq 3.437


  1. ^ All information in indicator table from "Global Peace Index: Indicators". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  2. ^ a b c In this case, a conflict is defined as, "a contested incompatibility that concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle-related deaths in a year."
  3. ^ Excludes militia and national guard forces.
  4. ^ This includes, "cash outlays of central or federal government to meet the costs of national armed forces—including strategic, land, naval, air, command, administration and support forces as well as paramilitary forces, customs forces and border guards if these are trained and equipped as a military force."
  5. ^ a b This includes transfers, purchases, or gifts of aircraft, armoured vehicles, artillery, radar systems, missiles, ships, engines
  6. ^ Weapons defined in four categories: armoured vehicles, artillery, combat aircraft, major fighting ships.
  7. ^ "Global Peace Index: Methodology". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  8. ^ >First Global Peace Index Ranks 121 Countries, PP Newswire
  9. ^ "Global Peace Index: Drivers of Peace". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  10. ^ Charles, Deborah (May 30, 2007). "New Peace Index Ranks US Among Worst Nations". Reuters. Retrieved 2007-08-09. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ "Give peace a rating". The Economist. May 31, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-09. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. ^ Eisler, Riane (July 26, 2007). "Dark underbelly of the world's most 'peaceful' countries". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2007-08-09. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ "Endorsers for GPI". Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
  14. ^ "Global Peace Index Launched Today" (PDF). Press Release (Note:This link is to a PDF document). Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
  15. ^ All information in the index table from "Rankings". Global Peace Index. Vision of Humanity. Retrieved 2007-08-09.

External links

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