The Safest Countries in the World (2024)

February 27, 2024

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Reykjavic, Iceland

Each year, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) publishes the Global Peace Index (GPI), a report that ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness.  

The 17th edition of the report found that the average level of global peacefulness has deteriorated by 0.42 percent — the thirteenth deterioration in 15 years. The war in Ukraine has largely contributed to this, with Ukraine’s peacefulness deteriorating the most of any country.

The GPI uses 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from trusted sources to measure the state of peace across the following three domains: The level of Societal Safety and Security, the extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict, and the degree of Militarization. It then gives each country a score and ranks them from lowest to highest, with the lowest-ranked countries deemed the safest.

In this article, we’ll reveal the safest countries in the world, according to the GPI.

1. Iceland – 1.124

The safest country in the world is Iceland, with a GPI score of 1.124. 

The Nordic country has held the number one position every year since the index began. This is largely due to its low crime levels, a well-trained police force that uses extendable batons and pepper spray as opposed to firearms, no military, and a lack of tension among social and economic classes. The country also has robust policies advocating equality, and natural disasters in the country are rare.

No country is completely safe, though, and this year, Iceland’s overall score deteriorated due to increases in the Homicide Rate’ and Terrorism Impact indicators caused by terrorist activity recorded in the country for the first-ever time.

That said, the four individuals involved in the terrorist activity were arrested and charged before any attacks were carried out, and the situation didn’t affect Iceland’s position as the world’s safest country.

As well as being safe for tourists, Iceland is an ideal tourist destination for its remarkable natural landscapes, friendly people, and delicious cuisine.

2. Denmark – 1.31

The second-safest country in the world is another Nordic country: Denmark.

Personal income tax may be high in Denmark, but it funds social programs like healthcare with no additional fees, at-home care workers for the elderly, and tuition-fee-free higher education. The country’s robust welfare system helps reduce inequality and social unrest, and with honesty and trust among the Danish people’s top priorities, corruption in politics and business is rare. Add to all that a strong economy and a low crime rate, and you can see why the country’s citizens report feeling happy and safe.

3. Ireland – 1.312

Ireland has become more safe in recent years, going from 11th on the GPI in 2021 to third in 2022, which is where it remains on the latest report.

Although Ireland has had a troubled history, today, the country is largely free of conflict and terrorism, and it has a low crime rate — especially when it comes to violent crime.

However, like in any country, pickpockets and scammers operate in tourist areas, and with winding country roads and sheer clifftop drops, even its rural areas can be dangerous. So, if you are planning a trip to the Emerald Isle, you should still be vigilant and use your common sense.

4. New Zealand – 1.313

According to the GPI, New Zealand is the most peaceful country in the Asia-Pacific region and the fourth-most peaceful overall.

New Zealand’s score has slightly improved since 2022 due to improvements in the Violent Demonstrations, Incarceration Rate, and Terrorism Impact indicators. Again, the country has a very low crime rate, especially when it comes to violent crime. New Zealand is also a safe country because there’s little political unrest, the government is stable, and there are laws to protect freedom of speech and expression. Furthermore, its isolated location makes it relatively safe from threats like war, and unlike its neighbor Australia, it isn’t home to any deadly creatures.

While there is a risk of natural disasters like earthquakes, most of the country’s citizens are well-prepared for such events. When visiting New Zealand, it is also wise to take precautions against petty theft. However, overall, the risk to tourists is minimal.

5. Austria – 1.316

Like every other country on this list, Austria has low levels of crime, with few violent crimes and even fewer property crimes. A major contributing factor to this is the country’s strong economy, which means people are less likely to turn to crime because they have a stable income. Additionally, there have been no major terrorist incidents in Austria in recent years, making Austria one of the safest places in the world. 

6. Singapore – 1.332

Singapore scored 1.332 on the 2023 GPI, putting it in sixth place on the list of the world’s safest places. This score also makes it the safest country in Asia.

Singapore’s zero-tolerance policies towards crime, robust police force, and culture that respects authority and discipline mean it has one of the world’s lowest crime rates. The country places a huge emphasis on law enforcement, issuing severe penalties for even the smallest crimes.

7. Portugal – 1.333

Seventh on the list of the safest countries in the world is Portugal, which has made significant improvements in peace and safety since 2018, when it ranked 18th. 

The country scored 1.333 in the 2023 rankings due to its decreased crime rate, thanks to an increased police presence and low level of income inequality. An equal distribution of wealth means fewer people are likely to turn to criminal activities. In recent years, Portugal has also significantly reduced its unemployment rate.

8. Slovenia – 1.334

Since it installed a democratic government in the 1990s, the former Slavic state has focused its efforts on improving the quality of life for its people — so much so that it is now one of the top ten safest countries in the world.

Today, the country enjoys a high level of political stability and low levels of crime, particularly petty crime, like theft and vandalism.

9. Japan – 1.336

The Asian country consistently ranks highly on the GPI because it has minimal internal conflict and political unrest and low crime rates. Serious crimes, like murder, are especially uncommon in Japan. This is due to several factors, including strict gun control laws that do not view it as an individual’s right to carry a firearm and the government’s considerable investment in security measures like metal detectors and CCTV equipment.

The country’s proximity to North Korea and China could be a threat to its safety in the future, but for now, Japan is one of the safest places in the world.

10. Switzerland – 1.339

Rounding off the list of the safest countries in the world is Switzerland.

Switzerland hasn’t been involved in a war since 1815, which means it has managed to avoid the majority of the violence and unrest experienced by some other countries.

Interestingly, though, Switzerland is one of several highly peaceful countries that performed poorly on the Weapons Exports indicator. In fact, it is among the ten highest weapons exporters per capita in 2023. But while it also has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, it has a very low level of gun-related street crime, meaning it is still a safe country to live in and visit.

Full results of the Global Peace Index

The Global Peace Index ranks 163 countries comprising 99.7 percent of the world’s population according to their level of peacefulness. Here are the full results of the report, which also reveals the most dangerous countries in the world:

CountryRankGPI ScorePos. Change
Iceland11.124
Denmark21.31▲ 1
Ireland31.312▼ 1
New Zealand41.313▲ 2
Austria51.316▼ 1
Singapore61.332▲ 4
Portugal71.333▲ 1
Slovenia81.334▼ 4
Japan91.336
Switzerland101.339▲ 1
Canada111.35▲ 2
Czech Republic121.379▼ 5
Finland131.399▲ 3
Croatia141.45▲ 1
Germany151.456▲ 2
Netherlands161.49▲ 5
Bhutan171.496▼ 5
Hungary181.508▼ 4
Malaysia191.513
Belgium201.523▲ 4
Qatar211.524▲ 1
Australia221.525▲ 4
Mauritius231.546▲ 5
Norway241.55▼ 6
Estonia251.563▲ 1
Slovakia261.578▼ 6
Latvia271.582▲ 3
Sweden281.625▲ 1
Poland291.634▼ 6
Bulgaria301.643▼ 5
Romania311.649▲ 4
Spain321.649
Taiwan331.649▲ 2
Italy341.662▼ 2
Kuwait351.669▲ 3
Lithuania361.671▼ 2
United Kingdom371.693▼ 1
North Macedonia381.713▼ 1
Costa Rica391.731▲ 2
Albania401.745
Vietnam411.745▲ 4
Botswana421.762▲ 6
South Korea431.763▲ 2
Mongolia441.765▼ 5
Montenegro451.772▲ 5
Laos461.779▲ 3
Sierra Leone471.792
Oman481.794▲ 18
Timor-Leste491.796▲ 3
Uruguay501.798▼ 5
Ghana511.799▼ 8
Senegal521.827▲ 4
Indonesia531.829▼ 12
Argentina541.837▲ 10
Madagascar551.846
Namibia561.859▲ 6
Moldova571.873▲ 4
Chile581.874▼ 5
Gambia591.888▼ 8
Greece601.89▼ 6
Bosnia and Herzegovina611.892▼ 4
Jordan621.895▲ 6
Zambia631.898▼ 4
Cyprus641.904▲ 1
Serbia651.921▼ 7
Armenia661.929▲ 3
France671.939
Panama681.942▼ 8
Paraguay681.942▲ 12
Trinidad and Tobago701.946▲ 1
Kosovo701.946▲ 5
Liberia701.946▲ 8
Cambodia731.947▼ 1
Malawi741.97▼ 4
United Arab Emirates751.979▲ 3
Kazakhstan761.98▲ 21
Jamaica771.986▲ 3
Bolivia782.001▼ 1
Nepal792.006▼ 5
China802.009▲ 6
Tunisia812.01▲ 1
Equatorial Guinea822.013▼ 19
Dominican Republic832.019▲ 5
Angola842.02▼ 9
Morocco842.02▼ 1
Uzbekistan862.033▼ 2
Guinea-Bissau872.045▲ 12
Rwanda882.051▲ 3
Bangladesh882.051▲ 8
Côte d'Ivoire902.053▲ 18
Tanzania912.058▲ 2
Thailand922.061▲ 13
Gabon932.068▼ 6
Georgia942.071▲ 1
Azerbaijan952.09▲ 15
Algeria962.094▲ 8
Ecuador972.095▼ 24
Papua New Guinea972.095▼ 8
Cuba992.103▲ 1
Turkmenistan1002.107▲ 3
Kyrgyzstan1012.11▼ 16
Tajikistan1022.114▼ 8
Peru1032.13▼ 1
Guatemala1032.13▲ 2
Togo1032.13▲ 4
Guyana1062.134▼ 5
Sri Lanka1072.136▼ 18
Bahrain1082.145▲ 1
Eswatini1092.168▼ 17
Benin1102.177▲ 1
Lesotho1112.191▼ 13
Djibouti1122.196▲ 1
Republic of the Congo1132.21▲ 1
Mauritania1142.228▲ 4
Philippines1152.229▲ 6
Belarus1162.248▲ 4
Kenya1172.254▲ 2
Mozambique1182.259▼ 2
Saudi Arabia1192.26▲ 5
Honduras1202.265▼ 5
Egypt1212.267▲ 5
El Salvador1222.279▼ 6
Nicaragua1232.294
Uganda1242.3▲ 1
Zimbabwe1242.3▲ 3
India1262.314▲ 2
Guinea1272.359▲ 2
Burundi1282.393▲ 6
Haiti1292.395▼ 17
South Africa1302.405▼ 8
United States1312.448
Brazil1322.462
Eritrea1332.505
Palestine1342.538▼ 4
Lebanon1352.581▲ 1
Mexico1362.599▲ 3
Libya1372.605▲ 14
Niger1382.625▲ 2
Cameroon1392.66▲ 5
Colombia1402.693▲ 2
Venezuela1402.693▲ 5
Chad1422.699▼ 5
Israel1432.706▼ 8
Nigeria1442.713▼ 3
Myanmar1452.741▼ 7
Pakistan1462.745▲ 2
Iran1472.8▼ 1
Türkiye1472.8▲ 5
North Korea1492.848▲ 4
Burkina Faso1502.868▼ 3
Ethiopia1512.872▼ 2
Central African Republic1522.934▲ 2
Mali1532.963▼ 4
Iraq1543.006▲ 3
Sudan1553.023
Somalia1563.036▲ 2
Ukraine1573.043▼ 14
Russia1583.142▼ 3
DR Congo1593.214
South Sudan1603.221
Syria1613.294
Yemen1623.35
Afghanistan1633.448

Data Sources:
Institute for Economics and Peace, Global Peace Index

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