When traveling it is important to know which countries are safe and specific travel advice for any particular country. The countries that are the safest for women to travel to are not necessarily the same as the Global Peace Index. But wherever one is traveling, it is important to be cautious and to take tips on how to keep safe while traveling.

The Global Peace Index was first launched in 2009 and is updated annually. It has been endorsed by well-known people like the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Anna, archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter, and the Dalai Lama.

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What To Know About The Peace Index

The Global Peace Index is produced by the Institute of Economics & Peace and measures the relative peacefulness of countries around the world. In total 172 independent states and territories are ranked.

  • Ranked: 172 Independent States And Territories Are Ranked

Unfortunately, the trend in recent years has been toward less peacefulness.

  • Indicators: In Total 23 Indicators Are Used

The methodology for the index relies on 23 indicators. Broad categories include harmonious relations with neighboring countries, a stable political system, the proportion of the population displaced as refugees, terrorist activity, violent demonstrations, and crime rates.

The Most and Less Peaceful Countries In The World

The top ten most peaceful countries in the 2021 report are mostly small, wealthy, and stable European countries with New Zealand taking second place and Canada 10th. After the top 10, other peaceful countries include more European countries, Singapore, Japan, and Australia.

  • Iceland: Score 1.1
  • New Zealand: Score 1.253
  • Denmark: Score 1.256
  • Portugal: Score 1.267
  • Slovenia: Score 1315
  • Austria: Score 1.317
  • Switzerland: Score 1.323
  • Ireland: Score 1.329
  • Czech Republic: Score 1.329
  • Canada: Score 1.330

The United States gets a very low score of 2.337 ranking it 122nd out of 172 just above South Africa and Honduras. It should be noted that a range of indicators is being used, and it doesn't mean that the United States is as dangerous as South Africa - the methodology is complex. The United States was ranked poorly because of its large defense industry, jailed population, and other factors.

The least peaceful countries are Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, and Iraq.

Related: Travelers Love Visiting These Statistically Dangerous Countries

Iceland - The Most Peaceful Country In The World

Iceland is a Nordic island country famous for its other-worldly outdoors and attractions. It is the most sparsely populated country in Europe with a tiny population of around 371,000 - the size of a small city.

  • Population: Around 371,000
  • Capital: Reykjavik

The capital and largest city in Iceland is Reykjavik whose greater area is home to around two thirds of the population. Few people live in the interior of the island which is characterized by sand and lava fields with glaciers and mountains. The island is warmed by the Gulf Stream and enjoys a temperate climate (its warmer than Canada of the same latitude). It is just south of the Arctic Circle.

Iceland was one of the last landmasses to be settled having only been settled in the Viking Age in around 874 AD. It was mostly settled by Norwegian Vikings together with the slaves or serfs of Gaelic origin.

The island has a parliament called the Althing - with is one of the oldest functioning legislative assemblies.

Today the country enjoys a Nordic social welfare system with universal health and tertiary education for citizens. The country ranks high in social stability, equality, democracy, and more. Even the electricity energy mix is almost entirely renewable.

  • Military: Only A Lightly Armed Coast Guard - No Army, Navy, or Air Force

One factor that puts it so high on the Peace Index is that it is without a standing army. Iceland has no army, navy, or air force. The only thing it does have is a lightly armed coast guard made up mostly of three offshore patrol vessels.

Related: Stay Safe In Central South America: Tips, Tricks, Dos, & Don'ts

Coming In Second - New Zealand

As an honorable mention, New Zealand is the second most peaceful country in the world and constantly ranks high on a range of developmental, social, and political indicators. The country could never be the most peaceful as it does possess a (small) air force, army, and navy.

  • Capital: Wellington
  • Largest City: Auckland
  • Population: 5 Million

Famously New Zealand has more sheep than people. In the 1970s there were around 3 million people and 70 million sheep. Today there are around 5 million people and 26 million sheep.