It may not seem like it, but the United States is about as peaceful as Saudi Arabia or Jordan. Luckily, Americans can escape to their dramatically more peaceful neighbor to the north, Canada.
The Global Peace Index (GPI), produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), is an annual report that’s served as the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness. Analyzing stats from 163 countries, the report looks at trends in peace and conflict, the economic cost of conflict, and United Nations’ development goals.
Overall, the world became less peaceful in the last year, but it’s not all bad. Eighty-one countries became more peaceful, while 79 grew more violent. The 2016 GPI report showed a deterioration in equality and peace at a faster rate than the previous year (0.53 percent), primarily due to increased terrorism and political instability, despite more countries becoming more peaceful than those that did not.
Two of the main areas of deterioration were the Middle East and Africa, where conflicts intensified and became “more entrenched,” per Steve Killelea, founder of the IEP. He went on to say that “… external parties are increasingly becoming more involved, and the potential for … ‘war by proxy’ between nation states is rising.” To this point, the five countries that deteriorated the most over the last year were Yemen, Ukraine, Turkey, Libya, and Bahrain.
Meanwhile, peace improved across the Americas and funding for the UN’s peacekeeping missions is at an all-time high. The five countries that rose the most on the GPI were Panama, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Mauritania. Some of the world’s most peaceful countries even hit record levels of peace.