What is the Global Peace Index?

Produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the Global Peace Index (GPI) is the world’s leading measure of global peacefulness. This report presents the most comprehensive data-driven analysis to-date on trends in peace, its economic value, and how to develop peaceful societies. The Global Peace Index covers 99.7% of the world’s population, and is calculated using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, and measures the state of peace across three domains:

– the level of Societal Safety and Security,

– the extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict,

– and the degree of Militarisation.

Download the Global Peace Index 2023 report

Get data, insight and rankings for 163 countries.

Key Trends in Global Peace Index 2023

Despite 126 countries improving their positive peace from 2009 to 2020 the 2023 Global Peace Index (GPI), reveals the average level of global peacefulness deteriorated for the ninth consecutive year, with 84 countries recording an improvement and 79 a deterioration. Positive Peace measured by the Positive Peace Index (PPI) represents attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies. This demonstrates that the deterioration was larger than the improvements, as the post-COVID rises of civil unrest and political instability remain high while regional and global conflicts accelerate.

  • • Deaths from global conflict increased by 96% to 238,000
  • • New data shows a higher number of conflict deaths in Ethiopia than in Ukraine, eclipsing the previous global peak during the Syrian war
  • • 79 countries witnessed increased levels of conflict including Ethiopia, Myanmar, Ukraine, Israel, and South Africa
  • • The global economic impact of violence increased by 17% or $1 trillion, to $17.5 trillion in 2022, equivalent to 13% of global GDP
  • • A Chinese blockade of Taiwan would cause a drop in global economic output of $2.7 trillion, almost double the loss that occurred due to the 2008 global financial crisis
  • • Despite the conflict in Ukraine, 92 countries improved on military expenditure and 110 decreased their military personnel
  • • Conflicts are becoming more internationalised with 91 countries now involved in some form of external conflict, up from 58 in 2008

Impact of the War in Ukraine on Peacefulness

  • • Ukraine recorded the largest deterioration, falling 14 places to 157th
  • • The economic impact of violence has increased by 479% or $449 billion, equivalent to 64% of Ukraine’s GDP
  • • Despite the conflict, Russia’s incarceration rate, violent demonstrations, terrorism impact and homicide rates have improved over the past year, with the homicide rate at its lowest since 2008
  • • 65% of men in Ukraine aged 20 to 24 years have fled the country, or died in the conflict

Read more: Conflict deaths at highest level this century

Key Trends in Global Peace Index 2022

Global Peace Index 2022 results show that the average level of global peacefulness deteriorated by 0.03%. Although slight, this is the eleventh deterioration in peacefulness in the last fourteen years, with 90 countries improving, 71 deteriorating and two remaining stable in peacefulness, highlighting that countries tend to deteriorate much faster than they improve.

• Deaths from external conflict recorded a sharp deterioration driven by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
• Despite recent commitments, militarisation has improved in 113 countries since 2008.
• Terrorism continued to improve, with 70 countries recording no attacks in 2021. This is the best result since 2008.
• The rise in costs has increased food insecurity and political instability globally, with Africa, South Asia and the Middle East under greatest threat.
• The political terror scale, political insecurity, neighbouring country relations, refugees and IDPs reached their worst score since the inception of the GPI.
• The global economic impact of violence was $16.5 trillion in 2021, equivalent to 10.9% of global GDP, or $2,117 per person.
• Iceland remains the most peaceful country in 2022, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark and Austria.
• For the fifth consecutive year, Afghanistan is the least peaceful country, followed by Yemen, Syria, Russia and South Sudan.
• Seven of the ten countries at the top of the GPI are in Europe, and Türkiye is the only country in this region to be ranked outside the top half of the index.

Impact of the War in Ukraine on Peacefulness
• Two of the five countries with the largest deteriorations in peacefulness were Russia and the Ukraine.
• Social media is changing the way intelligence is gathered – it is now shared instantaneously, raw and with little analysis.
• In contrast to the global trend, positive sentiment in the Ukraine was rising in 2021. Support for the West was strong, with 58% wanting to join a Western economic union, and 54% supporting joining NATO.

Read more: Peacefulness declines to lowest level in 15 years

Key Trends in Global Peace Index 2021

• Since 2008, the level of global peacefulness has deteriorated by 2%, with 75 countries recording a deterioration, while 86 improved.
• The average level of global peacefulness has deteriorated for nine of the past 13 years.
• The gap between the least and most peaceful countries continues to grow. Since 2008, the 25 least peaceful countries declined on average by 12.1%, while the 25 most peaceful countries improved by 4.3%.
• Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world in 2021, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Denmark, Portugal, and Slovenia.
• Conflict in the Middle East has been the key driver of the global deterioration in peacefulness since 2008.
• Of the three GPI domains, two recorded a deterioration, while one improved. Ongoing Conflict deteriorated by 6.2% and Safety and Security deteriorated by 2.5%. However, Militarisation improved by 4.2%.
• The improving trend in Militarisation was widespread, with 111 of the 163 countries covered in the GPI improving. 87 countries reduced their military expenditure as a percentage of GDP, although military spending increased in absolute terms.

Read more: Global Peace Index 2021 Summary and key findings

Key Trends in Global Peace Index 2020

• The average level of global peacefulness deteriorated 0.34 per cent on the 2020 GPI. This is the ninth time in the last 12 years that global peacefulness has deteriorated.
• In the past year 80 countries recorded deteriorations in peacefulness, while 81 recorded improvements.
• The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remained the world’s least peaceful region.
• Europe remains the most peaceful region in the world, although it recorded a slight deterioration in peacefulness.
• Iceland maintained the title of number one as the most peaceful country in 2020 since the first the Global Peace Index launched 13 years ago.
• Peacefulness improved on average on the Militarisation domain, but deteriorated on both the Ongoing Conflict and Safety and Security domains.
• The global economic impact of violence was $14.5 trillion PPP in 2019, equivalent to 10.6 per cent of global GDP or $1,909 per person.

Download the .XLSX Raw Data Files

Access IEP's data for free with our non-commercial license.