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This is the thirteenth edition of the Global Peace Index

(GPI), which ranks 163 independent states and

territories according to their level of peacefulness.

Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace

(IEP), the GPI is the world’s leading measure of global

peacefulness. This report presents the most

comprehensive data-driven analysis to date on peace,

its economic value, trends, and how to develop

peaceful societies.

The GPI covers 99.7 per cent of the world’s population,

using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from

highly respected sources, and measures the state of

peace using three thematic domains: the level of

Societal Safety and Security; the extent of Ongoing

Domestic and International Conflict; and the degree of


In addition to presenting the findings from the 2019

GPI, this year’s report includes analysis of trends in

Positive Peace: the attitudes, institutions, and structures

that create and sustain peaceful societies. It looks at

the relationship between the actual peace of a country,

as measured by the GPI, and Positive Peace, and how a

deficit of Positive Peace is often a predictor of future

increases in violent conflict. It also looks at the dynamic

relationship between changes in Positive Peace and

changes in the economy.

The results this year show that the average level of

global peacefulness improved very slightly in the 2019

GPI. This is the first time the index has improved in five

years. The average country score improved by 0.09 per

cent, with 86 countries improving, and 76 recording

deteriorations. The 2019 GPI reveals a world in which

the conflicts and crises that emerged in the past

decade have begun to abate, but new tensions within

and between nations have emerged.

Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world,

a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top

of the index by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and

Denmark. Bhutan has recorded the largest

improvement of any country in the top 20, rising 43

places in the last 12 years.

Afghanistan is now the least peaceful country in the

world, replacing Syria, which is now the second least

peaceful. South Sudan, Yemen, and Iraq comprise the

remaining five least peaceful countries. This is the first

year since the inception of the index that Yemen has

been ranked amongst the five least peaceful countries.

Four of the nine regions in the world became more

peaceful over the past year. The greatest increase in

peacefulness occurred in the Russia and Eurasia region,

followed by the Middle East and North Africa. In both of

these regions, the number of deaths from conflict

declined, owing to the de-escalation of violence in

Ukraine and Syria respectively. The fall in conflict

deaths has been mirrored by a fall in deaths from


All three regions in the Americas recorded a

deterioration in peacefulness in the 2019 GPI, with

Central America and the Caribbean showing the

largest deteriorations, followed by South America, and

then North America. Increasing political instability has

been an issue across all three regions, exemplified by

the violent unrest seen in Nicaragua and Venezuela,

and growing political polarisation in Brazil and the

United States.

The trend in peacefulness since 2008 shows that

global peacefulness has deteriorated by 3.78 per cent,

with 81 GPI countries recording a deterioration, and 81

improving, highlighting that deteriorations in

peacefulness are generally larger than improvements.

The index has deteriorated for eight of the last twelve

years, with the last improvement in peacefulness before

2019 occurring in 2014. Seventeen of the 23 GPI

indicators are less peaceful on average in 2019 when

compared to 2008.

Two of the three GPI domains deteriorated over the

past decade, with Ongoing Conflict deteriorating by

8.69 per cent and Safety and Security deteriorating by

4.02 per cent. Terrorism and internal conflict have been

the greatest contributors to the global deterioration in

peacefulness. One hundred and four countries

recorded increased terrorist activity, while only 38

improved, and the total number of conflict deaths

increased by 140 per cent between 2006 and 2017.

However, contrary to public perception, the

Militarisation domain has recorded a 2.6 per cent

improvement since 2008. The number of armed

services personnel per 100,000 people has fallen in 117

countries, and military expenditure as a percentage of

GDP fell in 98 countries, with only 63 countries

increasing their spending.

Perceptions of peacefulness have increased in some

areas but decreased in others. More people across the

world now feel that they have more freedom in life, are



more satisfied with life, and are treated with more

respect than in 2008. Many more people also feel that

their countries are better places to live for ethnic and

religious minorities. However, daily feelings of sadness,

worry, and stress have also increased over the same

time period.

There is a strong correlation between perceptions of

peacefulness and actual peacefulness as measured by

the GPI. Both men and women in more peaceful

countries are more likely to report that they feel safe

walking alone at night than people in less peaceful

countries. There is also a greater level of trust in police

in more peaceful societies.

Perceptions of trust in the world’s most powerful

countries has fallen since 2008. Confidence in US

leadership has fallen more than confidence in Russian,

Chinese and German leadership in the past five years,

with people on average now having more confidence in

Chinese leadership than the US.

Dealing with these negative trends in peacefulness

becomes even more crucial when looking at the

potential impact of climate change on peace. An

estimated 971 million people live in areas with high or

very high climate change exposure. Of this number,

400 million (41 per cent) reside in countries which

already have low levels of peacefulness.

Climate change can indirectly increase the likelihood of

violent conflict through its impacts on resource

availability, livelihood, security and migration. In order

to address these challenges, there will need to be much

greater cooperation both within and between

countries. Countries with high levels of Positive Peace

are better able to manage climate-induced shocks and

tend to have higher environmental performance than

those with lower levels of Positive Peace.

The economic impact of violence on the global

economy in 2018 was $14.1 trillion in purchasing power

parity (PPP) terms. This figure is equivalent to 11.2 per

cent of the world’s economic activity (gross world

product) or $1,853 for every person. The economic

impact of violence improved by 3.3 per cent during

2018. The greatest improvement was in Armed Conflict,

which decreased by 29 per cent to $672 billion, owing

to a fall in the intensity of conflict in Syria, Colombia

and Ukraine. There was also a substantial reduction in

the economic impact of terrorism, which fell by 48 per

cent from 2017 to 2018.

Violence continues to have a significant impact on

economic performance around the globe. In the ten

countries most affected by violence, the average

economic cost of violence was equivalent to 35 per

cent of GDP, compared to just 3.3 per cent in the

countries least affected by violence. Syria, Afghanistan

and the Central African Republic incurred the largest

economic cost of violence in 2018 as a percentage of

their GDP, equivalent to 67, 47 and 42 per cent of GDP,


The economic impact of violence model includes data

on suicide for the first time in the 2019 GPI. The report

finds that the economic impact of suicide is higher than

that of Armed Conflict, amounting to $737 billion in


The report’s Positive Peace research analyses the

relationship between the GPI and Positive Peace. There

is a strong correlation between the GPI and Positive

Peace. Countries with high levels of both Positive and

Negative Peace have achieved a sustainable peace and

are unlikely to fall into conflict. Conversely, many of the

countries with low levels of both Positive and Negative

Peace have fallen into a violence trap, and find it

difficult to escape from vicious cycles of conflict.

Some countries score much higher on the GPI than

their Positive Peace score would indicate. This is known

as a Positive Peace deficit, and research has shown that

these countries are more likely to have increased levels

of violence in the future, because they lack the

necessary attitudes, institutions and structures to

prevent violence from breaking out once the country

receives a shock.

Some pillars of Positive Peace exhibit tipping points.

Small improvements or deteriorations in Positive Peace

can trigger large increases or decreases in their GPI

scores. This tipping point can be seen when looking at

the relationship between corruption, economic growth,

inequality, and the GPI’s Safety and Security domain.

The report also finds that Positive Peace is dynamically

associated with economic development. There is a

strong correlation between changes in the Positive

Peace Index and GDP growth between 2005 and 2018.

Greater household consumption is a key reason for the

link between improvements in Positive Peace and

economic performance. Households are particularly

helped by improvements in public administration.

On the production side, business activity responds

particularly well to improvements in public

administration and attempts to curb corruption.

Services and construction are particularly responsive to

improvements in Positive Peace. Manufacturing and

agriculture are less responsive, especially in countries

outside of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation

and Development (OECD) and the Brazil, Russia, India,

China (BRIC) groups.



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Alexander, O (2019). GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2019. Retrieved August 25, 2019, from

MLA 8th

Oraka, Alexander. "GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2019", 31 Jul. 2019, . Accessed 25 Aug. 2019.


Oraka, Alexander. "GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2019".,, 31 Jul. 2019. Web. 25 Aug. 2019. < >.


Oraka, Alexander. "GLOBAL PEACE INDEX 2019" (2019). Accessed August 25, 2019.