Safest Countries in the World [2023 Updated]

Safest Countries in the World

Recent events have undoubtedly left many people questioning their safety and future. Whether it’s the ongoing war in Europe, the enduring pandemic, or the rising levels of violence, the search for a safer and more stable place to call home is on the minds of many. It’s time to explore the countries that can offer the peace of mind we all crave.

Fortunately, the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) has just released its updated Global Peace Index, which ranks 163 independent states and territories based on their level of peacefulness. Once again, European countries dominate the top spots, with Iceland maintaining its position as the most peaceful country in the world.

Let’s delve into the details of the top 10 countries on this list, and be sure to stick around until the end of the article to discover the top 20 safest countries for those seeking a secure and peaceful environment.

Country Safety: What Makes It?

A safe country is one that provides both its citizens and visitors with a sense of security and protection from potential harm. The level of safety in a country hinges on numerous factors, including its political stability, crime rate, economic well-being, social cohesion, and the effectiveness of its governance.

Here are some of the key factors that play a pivotal role in shaping a country’s safety:

Safety in a country is shaped by various factors that collectively contribute to the well-being and security of both its citizens and visitors. These factors include:

  1. Political Stability: Countries with stable governments and robust democratic systems generally offer a greater sense of safety compared to those with a history of political turmoil and instability.

  2. Low Crime Rate: A low incidence of crime, especially violent crime, serves as a significant indicator of a safe country. Maintaining law and order hinges on a strong and effective law enforcement system.

  3. Economic Prosperity: Nations with thriving economies and low unemployment rates tend to be safer because individuals are less likely to resort to criminal activities when they have access to employment opportunities and resources.

  4. Social Harmony: Countries where diverse ethnic and religious groups coexist peacefully are more likely to be safe. Promoting social harmony involves addressing discrimination and fostering an environment of tolerance.

  5. Effective Governance: A responsive government that caters to the needs of its citizens and implements effective policies plays a crucial role in promoting safety and security.

  6. Natural Disaster Preparedness: Countries with well-structured emergency management systems and disaster preparedness plans are better equipped to handle crises and mitigate damage.

  7. Responsive and Effective Law Enforcement: An efficient law enforcement system is vital for public safety. This includes a proactive police force capable of preventing and addressing criminal activity, complemented by a robust judicial system that ensures justice is served.

  8. Community Bonds: Strong community ties and social connectedness contribute to a safer country. In closely-knit communities, residents watch out for one another, which can act as a deterrent to criminal behavior and promote social cohesion.

  9. Low Level of Militarization: The degree of militarization within a country is also considered when assessing safety. High levels of military spending, arms exports, and involvement in armed conflicts may indicate instability and a higher risk of violence. Conversely, countries with lower militarization levels are often viewed as safer and more peaceful. A focus on diplomacy and conflict resolution can help reduce militarization levels and foster peace.

Collectively, these factors shape the safety and security of a nation, making it a place where individuals can live, work, and visit with confidence in their well-being.

Top 10 Safest Countries in the World

1. Iceland

Iceland, often referred to as the “land of fire and ice,” proudly holds the title of the safest country in the world, as recognized by the Global Peace Index.

This island nation boasts a remarkably low homicide rate, minimal violent crime, and strict control over access to small arms, creating an environment of genuine tranquility for both its residents and visitors.

Iceland’s safety is further reinforced by its political stability, a low number of refugees, and the absence of internally displaced persons. These factors collectively contribute to its well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s safest havens.

So, whether you’re eager to unwind in a soothing geothermal pool or embark on an adventure through Iceland’s awe-inspiring landscapes, you can do so with the utmost confidence, knowing you’re in the safest country on our planet.

2. New Zealand

New Zealand, often referred to as the “land of the long white cloud,” is renowned not only for its breathtaking landscapes and welcoming locals but also for securing the second spot on the list of the world’s safest countries.

This island nation boasts a relatively small population and a notably low crime rate, making it a safer place to call home compared to many other countries.

New Zealand’s isolation in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, coupled with a stable government, further fortifies its safety. This geographical remoteness reduces the country’s vulnerability to external threats.

While New Zealand does face natural hazards such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, it has stringent building codes in place to mitigate earthquake damage and enhance safety.

So, whether you’re traversing the captivating beauty of Milford Sound or embarking on a hiking adventure in the majestic South Island mountains, you can savor all that New Zealand has to offer with the assurance of safety and security.

3. Ireland

Ireland conjures up picturesque images of rolling green hills, spirited pubs, and warm-hearted locals. However, it’s worth noting that it also ranks as the third safest country on a global scale.

To put it into perspective, in 2018, Ireland recorded a mere 33 murders throughout the entire country, a figure significantly below the global average. This can be attributed in part to Ireland’s strict gun control laws and its well-funded police force.

Ireland also enjoys a relatively low risk of terrorism. Despite its tumultuous history, the country has experienced no major incidents in recent years, thanks in part to its policy of military neutrality, which keeps it out of active conflicts.

Whether you’re marveling at the stunning Cliffs of Moher or savoring the vibrant atmosphere of Dublin’s Temple Bar district, there’s an abundance of things to see and do in Ireland, all within a peaceful and secure setting.

For those with Irish roots, exploring Irish citizenship by descent might be an intriguing option. And if you’re seriously contemplating a move to this idyllic country, be sure to consult our guide on living in Ireland for valuable insights.

4. Denmark

Denmark, the nation that bestowed upon us treasures like Lego, delectable pastries, and the cherished concept of “hygge,” offers more than just fun and coziness for its visitors. It also ranks as the fourth safest country on a global scale.

In 2022, Denmark reported only 55 homicides, an exceptionally low figure by any measure.

The country’s robust economy and well-developed welfare system also contribute to its safety. By mitigating inequality and minimizing social unrest, Denmark creates an environment where people are less inclined to resort to criminal activities or violence.

With a relatively homogeneous population and its compact size, Denmark finds it easier to maintain law and order, fostering a strong sense of social cohesion.

Whether you’re leisurely strolling through Copenhagen’s charming cobblestone streets or embarking on a scenic coastal bike ride, you can rest assured that Denmark has your safety and well-being in mind.

5. Austria

Austria, holding the esteemed position as the fifth safest country globally, owes its impressive safety ranking to a harmonious blend of factors, including a notably low crime rate and a thriving economy. This combination makes it an ideal destination for living, working, and raising a family.

A pivotal factor contributing to Austria’s low crime rate is its robust economy. When individuals enjoy economic stability with a reliable income, the inclination to engage in criminal activities diminishes significantly.

Austria’s government and political system are well-regarded for their efficiency and minimal corruption, further enhancing the country’s safety profile.

Whether you find yourself exploring the mesmerizing Alpine landscapes or savoring Vienna’s renowned Sachertorte, you can unwind and relish your experiences in the knowledge that you’re situated in one of the world’s safest countries.

6. Portugal

Portugal isn’t just a charming country blessed with splendid weather and a relaxed atmosphere; it’s also recognized as one of the safest destinations for travelers worldwide. According to the Global Peace Index, Portugal proudly holds the 6th spot overall and ranks as the 4th safest among European Union countries.

But why is Portugal considered so safe? Well, a significant contributor is its low level of income inequality. In Portugal, the wealthiest households earn a mere 7.5 times more than the poorest households, in stark contrast to the nearly 12 times disparity seen in the United States.

Additionally, Portugal benefits from a robust rule of law, which safeguards property rights and curtails government corruption, reinforcing the country’s safety measures.

Furthermore, Portugal boasts a long history of peaceful relations with its neighboring nations and has remained uninvolved in major wars for over two centuries. This enduring peace significantly contributes to its overall safety and tranquility.

So, whether you’re savoring the beauty of Portugal’s landscapes or immersing yourself in its rich culture, you can do so with the peace of mind that you’re in one of the world’s safest havens.

7. Slovenia

Slovenia, a petite but enchanting country nestled in Central Europe, boasts a population of just over 2 million people and a picturesque coastline along the Adriatic Sea. Despite its modest dimensions, Slovenia earns an impressive 7th place on the 2022 Global Peace Index.

The combination of low crime rates and a stable political environment plays a pivotal role in upholding Slovenia’s safety reputation.

Slovenia’s strategic location is yet another advantage, with Austria, Hungary, Croatia, and Italy as its neighboring nations. This positioning shields it from areas of conflict or unrest, contributing to its overall peace and security.

In Slovenia, you’ll discover a plethora of captivating experiences, with the country’s charming capital, Ljubljana, standing as a must-visit destination, brimming with cultural riches and natural beauty.

8. The Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, a country renowned for its beauty, is not just an alluring destination but also a secure place for residents, professionals, and families. It proudly occupies the 8th spot in the Global Peace Index.

Benefiting from a rich history of peace and stability, the Czech Republic enjoys the advantage of low crime rates and the absence of terrorism on its soil.

The commitment to safety in this European nation is evident through its deployment of numerous police officers and surveillance cameras to uphold law and order. Furthermore, the Czech Republic enforces stringent gun control laws and holds membership in NATO, bolstering its security measures.

So, whether you’re exploring the historic streets of Prague or immersing yourself in the country’s cultural treasures, you can do so with the assurance of being in a secure and tranquil environment.

9. Singapore

Singapore, the dynamic city-state celebrated for its political stability, elevated standard of living, and minimal crime rates, clinches the title of the safest country in Asia and secures the 9th position globally.

First and foremost, Singapore adopts a zero-tolerance stance towards crime. Law enforcement agencies are unwavering in their commitment to maintaining safe streets and ensuring that wrongdoers face stringent consequences.

Yet, it’s not solely the laws that foster Singapore’s safety – it’s also deeply ingrained in the culture. Singaporeans hold a profound respect for authority and the law, a cultural trait that significantly bolsters safety and security.

Moreover, Singapore shines as a paragon of cleanliness and organization. Its residents take great pride in upholding its immaculate and well-structured environment. This collective effort contributes to an overarching sense of safety and security that pervades the city.

So, whether you’re reveling in Singapore’s vibrant culture or savoring its culinary delights, you can do so with the utmost confidence, knowing you’re in one of the world’s safest and most orderly havens.

10. Japan

Japan, according to the Global Peace Index, proudly secures the 10th position as one of the safest countries globally. It is renowned for its exceptionally low crime rate, solidifying its reputation as a safe haven.

Why is Japan so safe? To begin with, the country enforces stringent gun control laws, creating substantial barriers for criminals seeking access to firearms. Furthermore, the Japanese government has made substantial investments in security measures, including an extensive network of CCTV cameras and metal detectors, effectively acting as deterrents against criminal activities.

However, the safety in Japan extends beyond mere legislation and technology; it is deeply rooted in the culture. Japanese society places immense value on respect for others and a steadfast commitment to peace. These fundamental values are interwoven into the fabric of Japanese life and contribute significantly to the nation’s overarching sense of safety and order.

So, whether you’re indulging in Japan’s rich cultural heritage or savoring its delectable cuisine, you can do so with unwavering confidence, knowing you’re in one of the world’s safest and most harmonious societies.

Safety Tips for International Travel

When embarking on your travels, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Here are some practical tips to help ensure a secure and enjoyable journey:

  1. Research Your Destination: Before you go, thoroughly research your destination. Learn about local customs, laws, and cultural norms to show respect and avoid unintentional offenses.

  2. Share Your Itinerary: Inform a trusted friend or family member about your travel plans. Share your itinerary, including accommodation details and contact information, and stay in regular contact with them during your trip.

  3. Secure Valuables: Keep your valuables secure by carrying only what you need for the day. Use a money belt or concealed pouch for important documents, and leave unnecessary items in your accommodation’s safe.

  4. Choose Reputable Accommodation: Opt for well-reviewed and reputable accommodations. Avoid staying in sketchy or unsafe areas by reading online reviews and seeking recommendations from fellow travelers.

  5. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings: Be mindful of your surroundings at all times. Trust your instincts—if something doesn’t feel right, remove yourself from the situation. Stay alert, especially in crowded or unfamiliar places.

  6. Use Safe Transportation: Select reputable transportation options, and avoid traveling alone at night, especially in unfamiliar or poorly lit areas. When using taxis or rideshares, ensure they are licensed and legitimate.

  7. Dining Caution: Be cautious about what you eat and drink. Stick to bottled water and avoid consuming street food or uncooked items in areas with questionable hygiene standards.

  8. Secure Your Finances: Avoid flaunting wealth or carrying large amounts of cash. Use travel cards or local currency as needed, and keep cash and cards in separate locations for added security.

  9. Protect Your Data: When using public Wi-Fi, employ a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to safeguard your personal information from potential cyber threats.

  10. Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers and have a plan for emergencies. Carry essential medications and copies of important documents, such as your passport.

  11. Sun and Bug Protection: Protect yourself from the sun and insects by wearing sunscreen and using insect repellent when necessary. These precautions can help prevent discomfort and health issues.

  12. Avoid Scams: Be cautious of scams and overly enticing deals. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Research and verify before making any financial commitments.

Remember that while these tips can enhance your safety while traveling, there’s no guarantee of absolute security. Rely on your intuition, stay vigilant, and prioritize safety to ensure a fulfilling and secure travel experience.

Global Peace Index Analysis

The Global Peace Index uses numerous metrics. A few are:

  • Impact of terrorism
  • Deaths from violence
  • Ability to use nuclear
  • Situation of peace
  • Social insurance
  • Internal strife
  • International relations

Contributors and Calculation of Crime Rates

A country’s crime rate is a statistical measure determined by dividing the total number of reported crimes by the country’s population. Typically, this figure is expressed per 100,000 people, allowing for standardized comparisons of crime rates across countries and over different periods.

Numerous factors play a significant role in influencing a country’s crime rate. Among the primary contributing factors are:

1. Socioeconomic Conditions: The presence of poverty, unemployment, and economic inequality is often associated with higher crime rates. Individuals may resort to criminal activities as a means of survival in such circumstances.

2. Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Substance abuse can lead to impaired judgment and increased violent behavior, raising the likelihood of criminal involvement.

3. Demographics: Specific demographic factors, such as age and gender, can significantly influence crime rates. For instance, young males tend to have higher participation in criminal activities compared to other demographic groups.

4. Policing and Law Enforcement: The effectiveness and presence of law enforcement agencies can impact crime rates. Countries with well-equipped, well-trained police forces often experience lower crime rates.

5. Social Norms and Values: A society’s prevailing attitudes toward crime and its views on punishment can also shape crime rates. Nations that promote a culture of lawfulness and social responsibility tend to have lower crime rates.

These multifaceted factors interact in complex ways, contributing to the overall crime rate of a country. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for devising effective crime prevention and reduction strategies.

In essence, a country’s crime rate is the result of a intricate interplay involving a range of factors encompassing social, economic, cultural, and political dimensions. Gaining insight into and tackling these factors are pivotal steps in the endeavor to lower crime rates and foster an environment of safety and security.

Country with the Lowest Crime Rate

According to the “Societal Safety and Security” indicator of the Global Peace Index (GPI), Iceland takes the top spot for having the lowest crime rate globally. Following closely behind are Norway and Japan, both of which boast high scores in this category.

The GPI report also highlights that Venezuela receives the highest possible marks for homicide rates, violent crime, and political terror, which significantly contribute to its low ranking within the “Societal Safety and Security” category.

Future Global Safety Trends: Safer or Riskier?

Determining whether the world is becoming safer or more dangerous is a multifaceted and intricate matter. Various indicators offer contrasting perspectives: while global homicide rates indicate a trend toward increased safety, factors such as terrorism, political instability, and conflicts suggest a growing sense of danger.

One widely used metric to gauge global peace and security is the Global Peace Index (GPI). This index assesses the level of peacefulness in countries and regions worldwide, considering factors like violence levels, crime rates, political stability, and militarization.

According to the GPI, the world has experienced a decline in peacefulness over the past decade. The 2021 report highlighted a decrease in peacefulness for the ninth time in 12 years.

However, it’s crucial to remember that the GPI, while valuable, is just one among various measures of global peace and security. Other statistics may present slightly different viewpoints. For instance, global homicide rates have fallen by nearly 20% in the last 25 years, and there has been a significant reduction in the number of people living in extreme poverty.

In conclusion, determining whether the world is heading towards a safer or more perilous future requires a comprehensive evaluation of a wide array of factors and indicators. While the GPI and other statistics reveal both positive and negative trends, it is evident that there is still much work to be done to establish a more peaceful and secure world for all.

Safest Countries: Top 20 Lowest Crime Countries









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Top Safe Countries in the World: The Bottom Line

The Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) Global Peace Index reminds us that peace isn’t merely the absence of conflict; it encompasses social harmony, effective governance, and robust economic growth. Iceland continues to hold the title as the world’s most peaceful country, but progress toward peace has been made in other nations as well.

In the past five years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit several of the countries on the list, including Iceland, Portugal, Denmark, Ireland, and Singapore. From my personal experiences, I can vouch for these destinations. Among them, Iceland stood out as a place where I felt exceptionally secure and safe. Part of this feeling may be attributed to the absence of a bustling metropolis in Iceland, which alleviated city-life anxieties.

In the other four countries where I experienced urban life, I found that I could comfortably take evening strolls without feeling threatened. In my future visits, I even plan to conduct a little experiment by leaving a wallet in a public place to see how long it remains untouched. Admittedly, it’s a bit risky, but I’m curious to test the level of trust and safety in these locations.