New Zealand second most peaceful country despite Christchurch attacks

New Zealand is the second most peaceful country in the world, according to the 2019 Global Peace Index.

The Global Peace Index is developed by the Institute of Economics and Peace, a not-for-profit think tank "dedicated to shifting the world's focus to peace as a positive, achievable, and tangible measure of human wellbeing and progress".

It ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of "peacefulness", judged upon indicators from three themes - societal safety and security, ongoing domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarisation.

The 23 indicators include homicide rate, weapons imports, impact of terrorism, and military expenditure.

New Zealand was ranked as the second most peaceful nation in the world, beaten only by Iceland. We came in ahead of Portugal (3rd), Austria (4th) and Denmark (5th). Iceland and New Zealand were ranked in the same positions in last year's list.

New Zealand maintained or improved the score given to it in 22 of the 23 indicators. However, there was deterioration in the impact of terrorism indicator due to the March 15 terrorist attacks.

Aotearoa was also recorded as being one of the top three countries in terms of acceptance of immigration.

At the other end of the peacefulness spectrum, Afghanistan was ranked the least peaceful, while Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and Iraq filled out the bottom five.

The United States was 128th on the list, down four over the last year. Its peacefulness was ranked "low".

"Confidence in US leadership has fallen more than confidence in Russian, Chinese and German leadership in the past five years, with people on average now having more confidence in Chinese leadership than the US," the report says.

Australia was down one from 12 to 13.

For the first time in five years there was a global rise in peacefulness. On average, the scores given to countries rose 0.09 percent. Eighty-six countries were ranked as more peaceful than in previous indexes, while 76 showed deterioration.

However, the globe is still far less peaceful than ten years ago - 3.78 percent lower on average than in 2008.

Top ten most peaceful countries:


  1. Iceland
  2. New Zealand
  3. Portugal
  4. Austria
  5. Denmark
  6. Canada
  7. Singapore
  8. Slovenia
  9. Japan
  10. Czech Republic

The full list - including all indicators peacefulness was measured on - can be found here.