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US Ranks 88th In List Of Peaceful Countries

The United States registered as the 88th most peaceful country in the world out of 158 nations, according to the Global Peace Index (GPI) released by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Bookending the U.S. were China (89) and Equatorial Guinea (87). Globally, the world improved on its peacefulness for the first time since 2009.

The study took 23 factors into account when determining a country’s ranking. Indicators such as civil unrest, crime, military spending, jailed population and political instability were taken into consideration. The GPI ranked countries on a 1-5 scale, with “1” being more peaceful and “5” being less peaceful. The overall score for the U.S. was 2.058.

Two of the harshest marks obtained by the U.S. were for its military capability and jailed population. America earned a “5” for its military capability, which measured a country’s “grade of military sophistication and the extent of military research and development.” The U.S. currently has defense-related expenditure allotments ranging from $1.030 trillion–$1.415 trillion for the 2012 budget, nearly double the amount of the next highest country, China.

The U.S. also earned a “4.5” for jailed population, which accounted for prison population rates per 100,000 of the national population. The U.S. incarceration rate is the highest in the world, with 753 per 100,000 people locked up. Denmark, which ranked second in the GPI behind Iceland, incarcerates only 66 per 100,000.

The U.S. scored well in many areas as well. It earned a “1” for its evaluation of displaced people – a measure of “refugees by territory of origin as a percentage of the country’s total population.” The U.S. also scored a “1” for its funding of United Nations peacekeeping efforts.

The middle-of-the-pack rating leaves the U.S. behind countries such as Cuba (70), Indonesia (63), Brazil (83) and Ecuador (85). As a region, North America sees its extremes, as Canada earned a ranking of fourth while Mexico came in at 135.

For the sixth consecutive year – every year of the study – Western Europe was markedly the most peaceful region as a whole, with a majority of its countries in the top 20. The least-peaceful region was found in the Middle East/North Africa, where many countries registered scores well over 100.

Steve Killelea, the man who created the index six years ago, told Reuters that on the global scale, the world became slightly more peaceful for the first time since 2009. He speculated that civil unrest within countries will play more of a role than foreign conflicts as the year progresses.

“We can expect … some increases in internal violence but the trends we see in reference to external conflict, I think, will prove resilient,” Killelea said. “There’s a realization – perhaps particularly after Iraq and Afghanistan – that these conflicts are extremely unpredictable and extremely expensive, even if you are very powerful.”

Top 10 – Most peaceful countries
1. Iceland

2. Denmark

3. New Zealand

4. Canada

5. Japan

6. Austria

7. Ireland

8. Slovenia

9. Finland

10. Switzerland

Bottom 10 – Least peaceful countries
158. Somalia

157. Afghanistan

156. Sudan

155. Iraq

154. Democratic Republic of the Congo

153. Russia

152. North Korea

151. Central African Republic

150. Israel

149. Pakistan

Source: MPN


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