The Safest Countries in the World

Published 2024-03-14 20:55:21
Iceland, Waterfall, Seljalandsfoss - Credit: Image by 12019 from Pixabay

Iceland has once again been voted the safest country in the world for the 14th consecutive year, as per the Global Peace Index (GPI) for 2023. The other Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland) also featured high on the rankings, which take factors such as wealth, social welfare, level of education, etc into account. Countries ranking lower in the GPI scored higher on negative factors such as high crime rates, civil wars, and elevated incarceration, amongst others.

The GPI ranks the safest and most peaceful countries based on a few select criteria.

How safe is the world?

Bringing in the rear of the GPI are Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. Ukraine, Russia and Pakistan are also ranked unsafe based on the list of criteria.

The 2022 report noted a trend of the world becoming less safe over the past fourteen years, with scores declining on an average of 3.2% per country score. Overall, between 2021 and 2022, global peace dropped by 0.3%. The largest declines in scores were in countries with conflicts like  Russia, Ukraine, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Haiti.

Countries of Europe appear the most stable over the entire period

According to the latest GPI results (2023), 16 out of the top 20 safest countries ranked are in Europe.

The only non-European countries making an appearance on the top 20 list are Qatar, Japan, Singapore, Canada and New Zealand.


According to the GPI, Iceland has ranked as the safest country globally for the past fourteen years. The country has a relatively small population of only 340K people and a high standard of living. Communities are close-knit and have a great sense of social cohesiveness.

Iceland has political stability and a very low rate of crime. There is no social or economic tension between the classes of people and the Icelandic people have the utmost trust in their police. The police are not armed with lethal force and the country has no military. Robust laws protect same-sex marriage, religious freedom and pay equality. Everyone here respects their democracy and human rights in general to create a safe, secure and stable political climate.

These factors make Iceland a haven for both residents and tourists. Beautiful natural scenery, a flourishing cultural climate and the safety factor attract many tourists to Iceland.  


The Emerald Isle, as Ireland is popularly known because of its green rolling hills, has jumped in the rankings from eleventh place in 2021 to number three in its current place. There are very few instances of terrorism or cultural violence.

Ireland is an attractive tourist destination due to its natural beauty, rich cultural history and friendly people. Based on the GPI ranking criteria, Ireland is relatively safe and secure for both its residents and tourists.

New Zealand

The island country of New Zealand appears at number four on the rankings. The low crime rate and beautiful scenery establish its prominent place on the GPI rankings. Police do not carry personal firearms, and the country is generally safe for its residents and the scores of tourists that visit its shores. There is no dangerous wildlife like its cousin Australia, which further attracts visitors from all over the world despite the occasional natural disasters like earthquakes and floods.

New Zealanders are friendly, and there are various laws to protect their many freedoms. Political stability, low crime rates and good law enforcement ensure people feel safe and secure.

New Zealand has a well-established tourism industry because of the combination of abundant and variant natural beauty and domestic stability related to a great GPI ranking.   


At number nine is the East Asian country of Japan. Japan has held onto its spot in the top ten list of safest countries by the GPI for fourteen consecutive years.

This country has a refined and well-established infrastructure, a low crime rate and a wealth of cultural history. There is political stability and low rates of internal conflicts.

Violent crime and vandalism are practically unheard of here in this island country. The country has strict law enforcement with robust social standards, which results in a very politically stable and secure country for residents and tourists. Japanese people are generally kind, respectful and peaceful.  They display a strong deference and respect towards their cultural legacy, and this is reflected to visitors.

The modern infrastructure with an efficient public transport network makes transport within the country easy and accessible.

Although Tokyo is a densely populated city, it is a captivating blend of modernity and heritage. Additionally, it is very safe and well-organized, which makes it an attractive destination for visitors.

What is the Global Peace Index (GPI)?

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is compiled annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace, which describes itself as a non-profit entity dedicated to “changing global attention to peace as a constructive, attainable, and palpable indicator of human welfare and advancement”.

A total of 163 countries are ranked according to a host of distinct criteria that reflect the relative safety and security of a country. Points are allocated to each criterion and tallied to achieve the final score. The 163 countries and territories comprise about 99.7% of the global population. 

The three main sections are militarization, societal safety and security, and ongoing international conflict. The individual criteria fall under one of these three broader categories.

GPI Criteria to Rank a Country.

The GPI rankings take criteria, like the degree of domestic armed conflicts, into account. Other factors considered are the number of murders and other violent crimes, the total military spending, how robust the legal and law enforcement is and the level of political stability. Education rates and social welfare systems also feature in the GPI rankings. Health risks are evaluated in terms of pollution levels and the probability of disease outbreaks. Climate risks, like the possibility of natural disasters and extreme weather conditions, are also weighed in. Freedom of movement is considered in terms of how easily residents and tourists can move around within the country affects the GPI rating, as well.  

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Author: KashGo
Expat Mum in the Desert and content writer for

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