The 2017 Global Peace Index

The United States recorded the tenth largest deterioration of peace level during the last year among 161 countries. The country slipped 11 places in the 2017 ranking by Global Peace Index since the previous year to become less peaceful than Brazil, Belarus, and Cambodia. Deterioration of peacefulness in the US was largely due to the increase in the level of perceived criminality in the society which was caused by increasing homicide rate, the number of terrorist attacks and mass shootings.

The deterioration of peacefulness level in the US offset a slight improvement in Canada and made North America see the largest decrease of peacefulness among all 9 world's regions followed by Africa and the Middle East. However, other 6 geographical regions led by South America and Russia & Eurasia, became more peaceful in 2016 so that the world as a whole became a bit more peaceful in average. The key factors behind this improvement are lower homicide rate, military expenditure, and armed services personnel.

The Global Peace Index is a composite index comprised of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators that gauge the level of peace in 161 countries. These indicators can be grouped into three broad themes: the level of safety and security in a society, the number of international and domestic conflicts, and the degree of militarisation. The Global Peace Index allows us to understand what makes societies peaceful and what we need to do in order to mitigate violence in the future.

The 2017 Global Peace Index shows that the world is becoming increasingly divided with some countries enjoying unprecedented levels of peace and prosperity while others spiral further into violence and conflict. Since last year, 93 countries have become more peaceful, while 68 have deteriorated. Europe remains the world’s most peaceful region while Middle East and North Africa remains the world’s least peaceful region since 2015. Syria remains the world’s least peaceful country, followed by Afghanistan and Iraq.

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