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Country close-up: United States on the Positive Peace Index

The United States ranks high on the Positive Peace Index, but the country’s long-term trend tells a different story.

The United States (US) experienced a slow and steady decline in its Positive Peace Index score since 2009. However, this trend has accelerated since 2015.

The decline was driven by deteriorations in the Attitudes domain of Positive Peace. The other two domains, Structures and Institutions, both recorded small improvements. The biggest deterioration was in the quality of information indicator – the perceived quality of information disseminated by members of society, the media and authorities. This contributed to the Free Flow of Information pillar deteriorating by almost 29 per cent over the past decade, a large change for a developed nation.

Two other indicators – factionalised elites and group grievances – also deteriorated markedly. These findings reflect the widening gap between dissenting political groups and the radicalisation of views on economic management, personal freedoms, immigration and foreign relations. Deteriorations in these three indicators have been disproportionately large relative to movements recorded for all other indicators of Positive Peace for the country.

On the latest Positive Peace Index, the US is ranked 26 out of 163 countries, showing a very high level of Positive Peace overall.