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The 12 Most Peaceful Countries In The World, Ranked

Looking for tranquility? Pick your next vacation destination from this list!

Although it’s hard to imagine everyone in the world getting along with one another at all times, some countries’ residents are doing a better job at living peacefully than others.

If you’re wondering which countries have the “living in harmony” thing down, look no further. Thanks to The 2017 Global Peace Index (GPI), a project put together by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), we can see which countries rank as the most peaceful in 2017.

The IEP analyzed 162 nations and ranked them on their levels of peacefulness, looking at 23 indicators across three categories: societal safety and security, ongoing domestic and international conflict, and militarization. On the bright side, the world became a little more peaceful this year, as 93 countries became more peaceful, compared to the 68 countries that became less peaceful.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the United States didn’t even come close to ranking high on the list, coming in at number 114, an 11-spot drop from last year. Oof.

If you’re trying to move somewhere where violence is less of an issue, or just want to experience real tranquility on your next vacation, you’ll want to pay attention to this list. Here are the 12 most peaceful countries in the world, ranked.

12. Australia

It should come as no surprise that Australia makes the list of most peaceful countries, as they enacted strict gun control laws 20 years ago that have lead to a staggering decline in gun murders over time. According to a Reuters analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, the chances of being murdered by a gun in Australia plunged 72 percent from 1996 to 2014. 

sydney photo
Getty Images | David Rogers

11. Japan

The serenity of Japenese Zen gardens seem to be paying off for the country. Mass violence and homicide are very rare. The homicide rate in Japan has decreased steadily since 1955 to reach one of the lowest levels in the world, according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

japan photo
Flickr | szeke

10. Ireland

This green country experiences much less violent crime than the United States. For example, Americans experience 10 times more violent gun crime per 100 people than the Irish, according to Nation Master. There are also a third less murders per million people in Ireland than in the US.

ireland photo
Flickr | Giuseppe Milo (www.pixael.com)

9. Switzerland

Considering Switzerland consistently ranks highest for quality of living, it makes sense that their residents tend to coexist harmoniously. Not to mention, the country hasn’t been involved in a war since 1847, and this, along with its direct democracy, leads to a largely nonviolent society.

switzerland photo
Flickr | Fr Antunes

8. Canada

You don’t hear about much violent unrest in Canada, which makes it one of the safer countries to live in. Canada scored the best when it came to factors related to internal conflicts, such as intensity and deaths resulting. It also ranked low on violent crimes and political instability.

canada photo
Flickr | Nick Kenrick..

7. Slovenia

Although it might not be as wealthy as the rest of Europe, Slovenia enjoys low rates of civil unrest as well as low rates of religious or ethnic violence. Its crime rates—including murder rates—are among the lowest in the world. 

slovenia photo
Flickr | szeke

6. Czech Republic

Like Slovenia, violent or confrontational crime is rare in the Czech Republic. Civil disorder is uncommon, the rates of political, economic, religious and ethnic violence are low, and there are very few terrorism threats or concerns.

prague photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

5. Denmark

Danish people tend to be the happiest people in the world, so it’s no surprise that they’re peaceful too. Although Denmark moved down ranks from last year’s list due to increased terrorism threats, the country boasts a high trust in the national justice system and an increasing acceptance of the rights of others.

denmark photo
Flickr | Nelson Lourenço

4. Austria

Austria has consistently ranked among the most peaceful countries over the years. It experiences free flow of information, trust in the police, low levels of violence and rare domestic and international conflict.

austria photo
Flickr | Fr Antunes

3. Portugal

This European country rose two spots this year, coming up from number five last year—its highest ranking yet. According to the GPI, Portugal has improved on 12 of the 23 GPI indicators, most notably on weapons imports and violent demonstrations. Many of these factors can be attributed to the country’s recent recovery from fiscal crisis.

portugal photo
Flickr | The Pumpkin Theory

2. New Zealand

New Zealand has been in the top five most peaceful countries every year since the GPI began in 2007. Crime rates are low, especially including violent crime and murder. The country also ranks low in military activity as well as ongoing domestic and international conflict.

auckland photo
Flickr | Kiwi Tom

1. Iceland

If peace is what you’re after, head to Iceland, which is the number one most peaceful country in the world for the 10th year in a row! Iceland scored low on homicides, terror acts and number of people in jail. In fact, Iceland has a murder rate of less than one person per year. Sounds pretty peaceful to me!

iceland photo
Flickr | Giuseppe Milo (www.pixael.com)