Iceland most peaceful country in the world: study

A view of Reykjavik, Iceland's capital city. (iStock)
A view of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city. (iStock)
Iceland has been named the most peaceful country in the world, again, by the nonprofit Institute for Economics and Peace.

The country has topped the list most years since the organization started the the annual list in 2007.

Four Arctic countries in Top 10

Iceland was one of four of the world’s circumpolar nations found in the study’s Top 10.

The others were: Denmark (2nd place); Finland (6th place) and Canada (7th place).

“Europe remained the most peaceful geographical region in the world, securing the top three positions in the Global Peace Index,” the report said.

“Iceland came out on top as the most peaceful country in the world. Denmark’s score fell moderately following its decision to increase military expenditure and due to the impact of terrorism as a result of the 2015 Copenhagen shootings.”

North America

Terrorism also slightly affected Canada’s score, it said.

“Canada remains one of the most peaceful countries in the world. However, an armed attack in October 2014, where a gunman fatally shot a Canadian soldier outside parliament, caused the impact of terrorism score to deteriorate, resulting in a small decline for the Canadian score as a whole,” it said.

“The incident was used as justification for a bill to expand the counter-terrorism powers of the domestic intelligence agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). In addition, Canada has steadily increased its involvement in the international coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), after deploying military personnel in October 2014.”

Global Peace Index for 2015: Top 10 most peaceful countries
  1. Iceland
  2. Denmark
  3. Austria
  4. New Zealand
  5. Switzerland
  6. Finland
  7. Canada
  8. Japan
  9. Australia
  10. Czech Republic
Study criteria

The Institute for Economics and Peace looked at three areas to compile the 2015 list: domestic and international conflicts, societal safety and security and militarisation.

They evaluated 162 countries in all.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Violence and public health in the North – What about the men?, Blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Denmark: Nordics report high abuse levels against women, Radio Sweden

Finland: Finland ‘downplays’ suicide figures says expert, Yle News

Iceland: Iceland has first fatal police shooting, The Associated Press

Russia: Why high suicide rates in Arctic Russia?, Deutsche Welle’s Ice-Blogger

Sweden:  Reports of violent crime increasing in Sweden’s North, Radio Sweden

United States: Survey finds violence against women widespread in Western Alaska region, Alaska Dispatch News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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