Iceland, which has topped the Global Peace Index’s ranking every year since it started in 2008, retained its No. 1 position in the 2015 report and became slightly more peaceful than it was in 2014. The Global Peace Index (GPI) measures the state of peace in 162 countries according to 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators. These indicators can be grouped into three main themes:
The level of safety and security in a society
The number of international and domestic conflicts
The degree of militarization
Iceland does not have a standing army and is recognized for its welfare system, which provides healthcare and higher education to its 320,000 citizens. Iceland was also one of the first countries in the world to legalize gay marriage. Plus, Iceland has the world’s cutest police force, which is clearly visible through the Reykjavik Police Department’s Instagram.
The Institute for Economics and Peace-sponsored report found that the countries that have developed strong attitudes, institutions and structures associated with peaceful environments are better able to respond to external shocks, “such as Iceland’s response to the Global Financial Crisis or Japan’s response to the Tohoku earthquake.”
Other countries in the top 10 include many Nordic and Alpine countries: Denmark, Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Japan, Australia and the Czech Republic. Notably, the highest ranking nations in the GPI are all democracies. Syria was ranked the least peaceful country in 2015, while Canada came in at 7 and the United States at 94.