Peaceful Nations: Australia, UK and USA Compared

As you know, here on BobinOz, we love a good survey. We have looked at surveys about the best country to live in, the world’s most expensive cities, Australia’s best cities, the cost of living worldwide and also the cost of living in Australia.

You can check out all of these previous surveys in the links below…

But last week I discovered a new survey I hadn’t come across before and I just couldn’t resist it.

The Global Peace Index (GPI)

stick em up

Stick em up!

The GPI ranks nations around the world for their peacefulness. They take into account things like…

  • Perceived criminality in society
  • Homicides
  • Jailed population
  • Violent demonstrations
  • Violent crime
  • Weapons imported and exported

… and quite a bit more.

So, which country is the most peaceful in the whole world? Better than that, here’s the complete top 10…

1   Iceland
2 =Denmark
2 =New Zealand
5  Japan
6 =Austria
6 =Ireland
8  Slovenia
9  Finland
10 Switzerland

Hat tip to Iceland and congrats to our nearest neighbours New Zealand for coming joint second, but no gold stars for either Australia, the UK or the USA then. So how did they fair?

Well, first I have to say that Australia certainly feels safer to me than England did when I lived there. The streets here feel far less threatening, I feel very comfortable walking around after dark and so do many women.

Yes, I’m sure there are dodgy areas in Australia, but there are plenty of those in the UK as well. More I would say. That’s just my view, what do the people over at the GPI think?

Australia, the UK and USA

Australia are 22nd, having moved down from 18th last year and the United Kingdom are 29th, having slipped from 26th in 2011.

The United States are good way back in 88th position; they too have dropped from last year when they were 82nd.

No prizes for guessing the countries to avoid; Somalia are rock bottom in 158th position just below Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

What does it all mean?

In terms of Australia versus the UK, it’s probably fair to say there’s really not much in it according to the statistics. No surprises there then, in world terms both countries can surely be regarded as “safe”. But for me, the real surprise was in looking through the past results.

I left England at the end of 2007, and according to GPI the U.K.’s rank for that year was 49th! So, it appears that old Blighty has become a good deal safer since I left!

Well it wasn’t me causing all the trouble!

Seriously though, this does surprise me. Obviously I can’t judge, I’ve been out of the country nearly 5 years, but does the UK seem that much safer to those of you living there now? 2007 must surely have been a very quiet year compared to this year in which the London riots spread across the whole country as major cities were burned and looted?

Is it really safer in the UK now than it was then?

In fact, this particular index throws up a lot “is it really” questions. Like is it really safer in Nicaragua (81), Brazil (83) and Argentina (44) than in the USA?

I think the problem with this one might be in the weighting given to their 23 different factors. Let’s just take a look at two of them and the respective scores for our selected countries.

Perceived criminality in society:

  • Australia 2.0
  • UK        3.0
  • USA       2.0
  • Argentina 4.0
  • Brazil    3.5
  • Nicaragua 3.5

Military capability

  • Australia 4.0
  • UK        4.0
  • USA       5.0
  • Argentina 2.0
  • Brazil    3.0
  • Nicaragua 1.0

If I’m reading these figures correctly, the high numbers for both of these factors indicate less peace. So it appears that the perceived criminality in society for Australia, UK and USA are much lower than those of Argentina, Brazil, and Nicaragua; but that seems to be offset because the first three countries have greater military capabilities than the second three.

Kind of makes sense in one way, kind of doesn’t in another.

Which is a very long way of me saying, actually, I don’t know what it means. Do you?

Check out the full results over at Vision of Humanity and the full list nation by nation courtesy of The Guardian.

Stay safe.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • La Barbe November 24, 2012, 12:54 am |

    What about racism in Australia Bob?
    What is your opinion about it?

    • BobinOz November 26, 2012, 5:04 pm |

      You have asked questions about racism four times in four different posts, none of them relevant to what you are asking. Please, in future, only ask your question once.

      Australia is a nation of immigrants, around 25 percent of the population of this country came here from somewhere else. If this country was racist, we’d all be living in an angry hellhole. But we are not.

      Every country has its racists, tell me a country that doesn’t. Australia is no different, we do have a few idiots who are racist, but by far the greater majority are very happy to welcome immigrants to this country; I have never experienced or seen any racism or racist acts since I’ve been here.



      • La Barbe November 28, 2012, 12:24 pm |

        Thanks for your reply.
        C’est vraiment gentil de ta part.

        Do you think there are tough laws against it in Australia and are they implemented?
        Is there any support for people who are victims of racism in Australia?

        Its important for us to know as our decision to move to Perth in August 2013 is hanging in the balance. We have already got jobs (me and my husband) over there, and have started the process the process for 457 visa.

        Mille fois merci for your reply in advance.

        Avec tous mes remerciements.

        La Barbe

        • BobinOz November 28, 2012, 4:47 pm |

          Yes, of course there are laws in place to combat racism here in Australia. Australia promotes tolerance towards all races and anyone is free to practice the religion of their choice.

          Australia is a very civilised country and laws are upheld, I couldn’t tell you what support there might be the victims of racism, I’ve never needed to look into that. Is there a reason you are so concerned with potential racism?



          • La Barbe November 29, 2012, 11:53 pm |

            Yes its because of that video that we have seen about an incident on a Melbourne bus. Its on youtube.

            • BobinOz December 3, 2012, 1:30 pm |

              It’s a pretty shocking video, not just for its racism, but because the most foul mouth guy of the lot is pushing a pram and has a couple of young kids following him. I think that gives you a clue about his intelligence level.

              Anyway, you really can’t judge an entire nation based on the actions of a few idiots on what looks like a late-night bus full of people fuelled by alcohol. As I said earlier, every country has racists and we have them here too, but it is not a significant problem.

  • BobinOz September 19, 2012, 9:47 pm |

    New Zealand, on my list to do. Glad to hear it is safe, but then I always imagined it would be.

  • Me September 18, 2012, 5:06 pm |

    I have been to New Zealand in my lifetime. This includes Wellington, and I can tell you now, not once did I ever feel unsafe in any part!
    Mind you, I only saw a small part of it, in the far southern suburbs. Newtown I hear has a bad reputation, but all in all, for its size, if you are in the right spots then NZ deserves its reputation as one of the safest countries in the world!
    The worst reputation in NZ I hear is in South Auckland, but I am sure in my experience this is only a tiny minority of the country!

  • Patrick September 14, 2012, 3:12 am |

    I don’t think using Somalia as a comparison is helpful. Somalia is a war torn nation with some factions being supported by the US. I am guessing Somalians are acutely aware of and ashamed of the degradation of their country.

    I do know that I feel quite safe in England, admittdly I do not like to go out when it’s too late. I once hit a kangaroo outside of balranald in Aus that wrote off my car and was isolated in the middle of no where..I really felt very scared. I think being off the road in the UK, driving from London to Devon for example, would not feel so scary.

    A woman in coober Pedy will feel intimidated in a way that women in Europe and England will not feel. Australia is quite safe…..but there are no go zones. There are areas I grew up in in Adelaide that If u walked around at night time you would find yourself with a problem – not the first night not the second…but the time would come, it’s not if but when.
    I am writing this not to be a profit of doom but to give what I think is a realistic perspective to the discussion.

    • BobinOz September 17, 2012, 1:42 pm |

      Well, I’m not really using Somalia as a comparison, I am merely mentioning it because its last in the table. I think most countries have no go areas to a greater or lesser degree, although I have honestly not found one in Brisbane yet that would compare to some no go areas close to where I used to live in England.

      I had heard there are some really dodgy areas in Adelaide, and obviously there are some too in Sydney, interesting what you say about Coober Pedy though, I didn’t think that would be the case there. And yes, I would imagine that could be quite scary, hitting a roo and ending up stranded in the middle of nowhere, there aren’t too many middle of nowheres in England that compare.

  • Me September 8, 2012, 8:26 pm |

    Mate, as an Aussie myself who grew up in the lower class, I am not surprised we’re “only” 22nd. Same with the UK and the USA. There should be better countries than us.
    Australia is still much safer than most other countries yes.
    But most of the world only know of our good stuff. It’s brilliant yes. But not perfect or by any means safe.
    Only depends on the person’s perspective. Don’t care what others think about the flaws of the GPI, I can smile there are safer places in the world to be.
    Catch ya.

    • BobinOz September 8, 2012, 9:51 pm |

      I agree, we were never going to be top, but I think 22nd isn’t too bad at all. I wouldn’t want to be living in a country that’s 22nd from the bottom!

      Cheers Me!

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