Exploring the 23 Indicators of Peace

The GPI was founded by Steve Killelea, an Australian technology entrepreneur and philanthropist. It is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank dedicated to developing metrics to analyse peace and to quantify its economic benefits.

The three domains of peacefulness

The Global Peace Index measures a country’s level of Negative Peace using three domains of peacefulness. It comprises 23 indicators of the absence of violence or fear of violence.

The first domain, Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict, uses six statistical indicators to investigate the extent to which countries are involved in internal and external conflicts, as well as their role and duration of involvement in conflicts.

The second domain evaluates the level of harmony or discord within a nation; eleven indicators broadly assess what might be described as Societal Safety and Security. The assertion is that low crime rates, minimal terrorist activity and violent demonstrations, harmonious relations with neighbouring countries, a stable political scene and a small proportion of the population being internally displaced or made refugees can be equated with peacefulness.

Six further indicators are related to a country’s Militarisation —reflecting the link between a country’s level of military build-up and access to weapons and its level of peacefulness, both domestically and internationally. Comparable data on military expenditure as a percentage of GDP and the number of armed service officers per head are gauged, as are financial contributions to UN peacekeeping missions.


  • Number and duration of internal conflicts Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) Battle-Related Deaths Dataset, Non-State Conflict Dataset and One-sided Violence Dataset; Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP)
  • Number of deaths from external organised conflict UCDP Battle-related Deaths Dataset
  • Number of deaths from internal organised conflict UCDP Battle-related Deaths Dataset
  • Number, duration and role in external conflicts UCDP Battle-Related Deaths Dataset; IEP
  • Intensity of organised internal conflict Qualitative assessment by EIU analysts g Relations with neighbouring countries Qualitative assessment by EIU analysts


  • Level of perceived criminality in society Qualitative assessment by EIU analysts
  • Number of refugees and internally displaced people as a percentage of the population Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Mid-Year Trends; Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)
  • Political instability Qualitative assessment by EIU analysts
  • Political Terror Scale Gibney, Mark, Linda Cornett, Reed Wood, Peter Haschke, Daniel Arnon, and Attilio Pisanò. 2019. The Political Terror Scale 1976-2018. Date Retrieved, from the Political Terror Scale website: http://www.politicalterrorscale.org.
  • Impact of terrorism IEP Global Terrorism Index (GTI)
  • Number of homicides per 100,000 people United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Surveys on Crime Trends and the Operations of Criminal Justice Systems (CTS); EIU estimates
  • Level of violent crime Qualitative assessment by EIU analysts
  • Likelihood of violent demonstrations Qualitative assessment by EIU analysts
  • Number of jailed population per 100,000 people World Prison Brief, Institute for Criminal Policy Research at Birkbeck, University of London
  • Number of internal security officers and police per 100,000 people UNODC CTS; EIU estimates


  • Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP The Military Balance, IISS, EIU Estimates
  • Number of armed services personnel per 100,000 people The Military Balance, IISS
  • Volume of transfers of major conventional weapons as recipient (imports) per 100,000 people Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Arms Transfers Database
  • Volume of transfers of major conventional weapons as supplier (exports) per 100,000 people SIPRI Arms Transfers Database
  • Financial contribution to UN peacekeeping missions United Nations Committee on Contributions; IEP
  • Nuclear and heavy weapons capabilities The Military Balance, IISS; SIPRI; UN Register of Conventional Arms; IEP
  • Ease of access to small arms and light weapons Qualitative assessment by EIU analysts

Percent change of Global Peace Index by Indicator 2008 – 2020

This chart below shows the percentage change in score for each indicator from the 2008 to the 2020 Global Peace Index (GPI) methodology used to measure global levels of peace. Of the 23 GPI indicators, 15 recorded a deterioration with the remaining eight recorded an improvement. Only two indicators had an overall change of more than 20%. The terrorism impact indicator deteriorated by 21.2%, and the UN peacekeeping funding indicator improved by 20.4%.



Vision of Humanity

Editorial Staff

Vision of Humanity

Vision of Humanity is brought to you by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), by staff in our global offices in Sydney, New York, The Hague, Harare and Mexico. Alongside maps and global indices, we present fresh perspectives on current affairs reflecting our editorial philosophy.