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In 2005, after traveling through Africa looking for business opportunities, Australian entrepreneur Steve Killelea became discouraged. It had become apparent to him that, while there were plenty of ways to measure how violent a country was, there were no such measures of how peaceful a country was. So he decided to create the Global Peace Index. Today, the GPI measures 144 nations based on 23 indicators of the existence or absence of peace both within and outside a country’s borders. The indicators use quantitative and qualitative data from the World Bank, various U.N. offices and Peace Institutes, and the Economist Intelligence Unit and are divided into three categories: five measures of ongoing domestic and international conflict, 10 measures of safety and security in society, and eight measures of militarization. Why is this important? Killelea argues that there is a strong correlation between prosperity and peace. The most peaceful country for 2009? New Zealand. The least? Iraq, not surprisingly. Where does the U.S. fit in? Thanks to such factors as its high incarceration and homicide rates, as well as its overseas military operations, it ranks a relatively bellicose 83rd.
To see the 25 most peaceful countries in the world, read on.