The top 10 safest and least safe countries in the world

By Daniil Filipenco

The top 10 safest and least safe countries in the world

Our world is no longer the peaceful place it was the beginning of the 21st century. With the number of conflicts between nations growing and the dramatic rise in casualties and victims of war, increasing hostilities and incarceration rates, as well as many cases of violence, it seems that finding a place where people feel safe is becoming more difficult year by year.

Nonetheless, despite the data behind these dramatic statistics, there are still countries that are safe and peaceful. Which countries are they? Are they the most developed countries with growing economies such as the U.S., China, Japan, Canada, and Germany? And what is the secret of the most peaceful country in the world? Let’s get acquainted with the TOP 10 safest countries and learn the situation about world peace in 2023.

Picturing war and peace around the globe

For the thirteenth time in the past fifteen years, the world peace measurement has seen a reduction. As shown in the 2023 Global Peace Index, which has been an important measure of world peacefulness since 2007, the median peace score in every nation examined has decreased by 0.42% from 2022.

Overall, there were 84 countries where peacefulness surged and 79 where it decreased showing that, overall, declines in peacefulness are greater than increases.

The Global Peace Index, which covers 163 independent countries and regions around the globe, is published by the Institute for Economics and Peace on an annual basis and analyzes data to produce a list of the safest and least safe countries. All the territories studied are home to 99.7% of the Earth’s population.

The 2023 edition outlines that the number of countries that were embroiled in hostilities grew from 58 in 2008 to 91 in 2023, while the number of conflicts registered in 79 nations is also increasing. The report also describes an extraordinary increase in the number of war victims – 96%, or 238,000 people –due to two major conflicts in Ukraine and Ethiopia.

War and peace around the globe at a glance:

  • The number of victims of global conflicts registered an increase of 96% and reached 238,000.
  • An increased number of conflicts was registered in 79 nations, including Ethiopia, Ukraine, and Israel.
  • In contrast to 2008, when 58 countries were embroiled in hostilities, today 91 countries are engaged in overseas disputes in one form or another.
  • The total cost of violence to the world economy in 2022 totaled US$17.5 trillion.
  • Ukraine saw the worst decline in the Global Peace Index, falling 14 spots to 157th place.

The reasons behind peace deterioration

An increase in ongoing conflicts was the main factor contributing to the fall in the overall tranquility indicator.

Domestic and foreign conflict-related casualties all showed notable increases, accounting for 96% of the overall increase in conflict-related fatalities.

However, even though many of today’s conflicts represent only brief periods in a given nation’s history, the media attention they receive can give the impression that instability is a persistent problem.

Ranking the most and least peaceful nations

So, which nations are the most and the least peaceful? The list of the most tranquil countries is led by Iceland, with this nation topping the ranking for 15 years running.

There are a multitude of reasons that can explain such remarkable results, including low crime rates in the country and economic stability (check out a deeper analysis below).

According to the 2023 Global Peace Index, Denmark came second. The nation receives good marks in many categories, such as human rights, income equality, and stable government.

The “bronze” in the ranking was given to Ireland which has now been ranked among the top five peaceful countries for the third consecutive year.

TOP -10 safest countries in the world in 2023

Source: 2023 Global Peace Index

* It is important to remember, though, that these yearly rankings are subject to deviations because of periodic factors that contribute to instability.

See also: Top-10 safest countries to live in with lowest natural disaster risk

What about the U.S.?

The United States of America is now rated the 131st most peaceful out of 163 countries, with an overall rating of 2.45. Such a result can be explained by the nation’s militarization, involvement in overseas conflicts, and high imprisonment rate.

On the opposite side of the ranking, Afghanistan has the lowest level of peace globally and this is the eighth consecutive year that the country has witnessed no change in this regard. The international community continues to impose financial sanctions on the country, which is also being economically isolated, despite it experiencing a higher level of stability than it has in the last 50 years. Furthermore, there is a widespread belief on a global scale that human rights are deteriorating, especially for women and girls.

TOP-10 least peaceful countries in the world in 2023

Source: 2023 Global Peace Index

Why is Iceland the safest country?

First of all, with only 394,500 people living here, Iceland is able to maintain a tightly connected society that boasts strong communal ties. By fostering a sense of community and mutual support, the nation lessens the possibility of confrontations and violent crime.

Other reasons include:

  • A high level of stability, openness, and democratic governance characterize Iceland’s political environment.
  • Iceland has routinely ranked among the least corrupt nations (#14 in 2023) by the Corruption Perception Index.
  • When the rule of law is strongly upheld and the government runs smoothly, residents feel more confident and there are fewer incidents of civil disturbances.
  • The nation’s low crime rate is mostly due to its efficient legal system and proactive policing that emphasizes community.
  • Due to its isolated location between the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, Iceland is less vulnerable to outside threats and wars. It is, in a sense, a stronghold of companionship as opposed to isolation.

Final word

As the world witnessed a surge in conflicts and a growing number of war victims in 2023, there were still positive examples of countries achieving increased indicators of peace being established within their societies with 84 countries recording an improvement and 79 a deterioration of the peacefulness.