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Iceland's been named the most peaceful place on Earth for 6 years running

Pack your bags.

DAVID NIELD
24 JUN 2016
 

If you're after some peace and quiet, you might want to consider moving over to Iceland: a Global Peace Index report has just declared the Nordic island country the most peaceful nation in the world.

In terms of the 'peace' being considered here, we're actually talking about the absence of war, political upheaval, and conflict, rather than transcendent feelings of inner calm, but the two can often go together. Iceland has finished in top spot for six years in a row.

 

The report was compiled used 23 different factors, with countries given a ranking of 1-5 (where 1 is best) as to how safe they are. Iceland scored a near-perfect 1.192, while Denmark came in second place with 1.246, and Austria was third with 1.278.

New Zealand, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and Slovenia round out the top 10 of the most peaceful nations on Earth, and if you want to see where your own country falls on the scale, check out the top 40 nations in the image below. You can find results for 123 more countries in the report online.

peaceful-statsCredit: Global Peace Index

Some of the factors behind these scores include violent crime, the number of external conflicts fought, political instability, military expenditure, volume of nuclear and heavy weapons, the number of violent demonstrations, and the impact of terrorism.

At the bottom of the list are particularly volatile countries in a state of upheaval. Syria, in 163rd place, is considered the most dangerous (3.806), just below South Sudan (3.593) and Iraq (3.570).

Meanwhile, the US achieved a score of 2.154, putting it at #103 out of 163 countries.

 

The report, which was commissioned by the Institute for Economics & Peace, calls for more investment in peace and points out the economic damage caused by conflict. The Institute says violence costs humanity US$13.6 trillion every year.

"The 2016 Global Peace Index (GPI) shows the world became less peaceful in the last year, reinforcing the underlying trend of declining peace over the last decade," write the authors. "Results also show a growing global inequality in peace, with the most peaceful countries continuing to improve while the least peaceful are falling into greater violence and conflict."

While the global peacefulness average declined over the last year, 81 individual countries improved their score, whereas 79 saw a drop. Deaths from terrorism increased by 80 percent, while battle deaths from conflict are higher than they have been for 25 years.

There's some positive news too: UN peacekeeping funding has increased by 12 percent over the last decade, while the number of external conflicts (illegal wars with other countries) has dropped from 2015.

The report concludes by calling on the countries of the world to join forces to promote peace, combat climate change, and deal with increasing migration. But if all this conflict and violence is getting a little too much for you, you know where to move.

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