World Facts

The 25 Safest Countries In The World

Iceland, New Zealand, Portugal, Austria, and Denmark make up the top five safest countries in the world.

Since 2009, the world has become a more dangerous place, at least according to the most recent Global Peace Index. With a worsening atmosphere of insecurity developing worldwide today, now more than ever before people are looking for safer places to live in and travel to. We feel that by showcasing the top 25 safest countries in the world, we can then look for common threads these share to find what could potentially make our world a safer place as a whole. Among our biggest points of interest are the correlations between safety and countries' respective intrinsic wealth per capita, educational access, criminal justice systems, and social welfare.

European Domination

Out of the top 25 countries topping the list of the globe’s safest, 18 are European, with several of the others in the top 25 hailing from Asia or Oceania. Canada alone represents the Americas. Furthermore, Europe is also the only continent to have not seen a decline in safety and security since 2009. Seeing almost no civil wars or state-sponsored political violence truly makes Europe stand out as possibly the safest place to live and visit. Moreover, as this list is formed by countries with near-full democracies or otherwise well-represented republics, most of Europe’s nations proffer unto their respective populaces high levels of freedom to express their political opinion without fear, further increasing feelings of safety and security there. According to the Global Study on Homicide, Europe, Oceania, and Asia have the lowest regional murder rates, each at around 3 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 12.5 in Africa and 16.3 in the Americas. Such a disparate gap between these regions is huge, and corresponds very well to the rankings discussed below.

Are Wealthier Countries Safer Countries?

While wealth may not yield happiness, it does indeed appear to breed a more secure social environment. Analyses across a spectrum of different statistics show that living in a ‘rich’ country, or a country with a well-developed economy, generally correlates directly with positive senses of security therein. Only five of the safest countries failed to place in top 30 countries with the highest per capita Gross Domestic Products. In many places, it has been seen that when people are unemployed, underemployed, or otherwise facing financial hardships, they will often resort to violent crime, such as armed robbery, in order to better there situation. In fact, some places in the world even have the problem of "career criminals" worsened by the fact that those released from prison cannot find good jobs. This leads to a self-perpetuating cycle as criminals are forced to return to crime to keep their heads above water, with little fear of being put into prison where they may even have a greater of assurance of being provided with food, clothing, medical care, and housing. This is one reason why many have called for reforms in the penal systems, especially of developed countries, to place a greater emphasis on rehabilitation of the formerly incarcerated.

Scandinavia: The Safest Region In The World

Having all three of its most prominent constituent nations (Norway, Sweden, and Denmark) among the 25 safest countries in the world, Scandinavia has to be considered the safest region. Moreover, if we more loosely consider Iceland and Finland as making up part of Scandinavia as well, this means that out of the 25 safest countries in the world, 5 are located in Scandinavia. Considering intentional homicide rate averages from across these five countries, the regional rate is 0.8 annual incidences per 100,000 inhabitants. Compared to the already mentioned low rates across the continent, Scandinavia’s homicide rates stand at around merely a quarter of those seen across Europe. Scandinavia also appears to have some of the happiest people on the planet.

The Pride of Small Asian Countries

The second-best represented region in the top 25 safest countries in the world is Asia. Aside from Japan, the Asian countries nearing the top of the list are considerably small in size, both in terms of population and physical area. It is not all about local culture though. For instance, expensive tickets for minor violations of the law are also said to play a big role in low crime rates in countries like Singapore. Not only are the laws there rigorous (even selling chewing gum is forbidden) but also brutal, considering that over 88% of sentences in 2012 included some degree of caning.

Commonalities among the World’s Safest Countries

As we can see, certain regions of our globe are considered far safer and more secure than others. Among the most significant factors driving such high levels of safety include the educational levels of these populations, their levels of relative social welfare and wealth, and their effective criminal justice systems. Furthermore, the governments in these places do not carry out a significant degree of state-sponsored violence and, as such, set a good example and the foundations for maintaining healthy relationships with their citizens. Even in the U.S., which could be considered fairly dangerous for a Western First World economy nation, many of the same correlations as have been presented herein are also seen in the safest American cities and the safest states in the United States.

The World's Safest Countries

RankCountryGlobal Peace Index
1Iceland1.111
2New Zealand1.241
3Portugal 1.258
4Austria1.265
5Denmark1.337
6Czech Republic 1.360
7Slovenia1.364
8Canada1.371
9Switzerland1.373
10Japan1.408
11Ireland1.408
12Australia1.425
13Bhutan1.474
14Norway1.486
15Hungary1.494
16Germany1.500
17Finland1.515
18Sweden1.516
19Belgium1.525
20Netherlands1.525
21Singapore1.534
22Mauritius1.547
23Spain1.568
24Chile1.595
25Romania1.600

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