10 Safest Countries in the World: 2024 Edition

By: Mitch Ryan  | 
The GPI's safest country is home to active volcanoes, massive waterfalls and plenty of glacial runoff. Based on those hints, can you name the nation? © Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

The world's population is constantly changing, growing and moving from place to place. However, certain governments provide better societal safety and social welfare for their citizens than others.

The Global Peace Index ranks the safest countries in the world, which is a great resource for tourists and immigrants alike.


What Is the Global Peace Index?

The Global Peace Index (GPI) Report is an annual assessment measuring the well-being of various societies worldwide. Information on several key qualitative indicators is pulled directly from highly respected sources, such as the Democracy Index from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The safest countries in the world will typically score high on the Global Peace Index in the following categories.


Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict

External peace, or aversion to international conflicts, is the most important factor of the Global Peace Index because it illustrates how a well-functioning government can avoid war and other disputes with neighboring countries.

A peaceful country with political stability will also have fewer internal conflicts with its own citizens. A city-state or nation may experience protests and other forms of free speech, but as long there is a low incidence of violent demonstrations or civil unrest, the country is considered relatively peaceful.

Societal Safety and Security

A secure environment with political stability will exhibit low crime rates and effective law enforcement tactics that reduce the number of jailed persons. Statistics focusing on criminal activity, including terrorist acts, violent crimes and homicide rates, will highlight nations struggling with political instability.

Military Expenditure

Peaceful societies that avoid ongoing international conflict will typically have minimal military spending budgets because they only require enough resources to defend their country from outside threats.

High military expenditure is a common sign of colonial expansion or increased fear of retaliation for geopolitical tensions. This is a primary reason why many world powers — like the United States, United Kingdom or South Korea — receive a much lower overall score than you might expect based on global GDP.


The World's 10 Safest Countries

Although there has been a sharp decline in global peace in recent years, many countries still consistently hold a high standard of peace and safety. Based on the Global Peace Index, here is a list of some of the safest countries in the world.

1. Iceland

Iceland is considered the world's safest country based on current data. This island country in the Atlantic has a long history of being a shining example of positive peace. Even after a slight decline based on unprecedented terrorist activity in 2022, it still remains the safest country in the world.


2. Denmark

Scandinavia is considered the most peaceful region in the world, with Denmark being the safest country in the group. Denmark has a very low crime rate and is a favorite among solo female travelers. Citizens enjoy a high degree of social welfare and a low unemployment rate.

3. Ireland

Despite renewed tensions with the United Kingdom following Brexit, Ireland still exhibits strong societal safety and security for its citizens and high marks for travel safety for tourists visiting the serene countryside of the Emerald Isle.

4. New Zealand

New Zealand is considered one of the safest tourist areas. Thanks to an excellent healthcare system and well-trained police force, it is near the top of the safety and security list for ensuring the health of its citizens and keeping violent crime rates extremely low.

5. Austria

This mountainous country in Central Europe was once the home to the Habsburg Empire, which controlled several other European countries through forceful politics between the 13th and 16th centuries C.E.

However, Austrians have left that history behind and now enjoy a society with low crime rates and a high standard of living.

6. Singapore

This country in South Asia is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live, thanks to a growing trend of proactive citizens and a transparent legal system promoting the region's lowest violent crime rates.

Singapore is also relatively protected from natural disasters, due to its distance from the Ring of Fire.

7. Portugal

Portugal is a tourism favorite, thanks to high travel safety standards and minimal criminal activity in city centers (apart from the occasional pickpocket).

Like Spain, its neighbor on the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal has become a hotspot for retirees and expats since the culture is built on social cohesion and community.

8. Slovenia

Slovenia is yet another peaceful country in Northern Europe that maintains exceptionally low crime rates. Its homicide rate is almost nonexistent, and its strong legal system ensures that all citizens are provided a fair trial.

9. Japan

Japan is a global leader in technological advancement, and many tourists argue that visiting the island nation often feels like traveling into the future.

The "Land of the Rising Sun" is also one of the happiest countries in the world, with "blue zone" diets, strong communities and a respectful population that believes in law and civic responsibility.

10. Switzerland

This Alpine nation is one of the safest in the world and has always been a symbol of neutrality. Throughout history, the Swiss avoided the political instability of the rest of Europe while protecting their peaceful region from external threats.

Few nations have such an impressive track record in terms of peace and security.


Switzerland's Secret to Peace

Switzerland has been one of the world's safest countries since its inception, but the reasons may not be so clear until you delve into the nation's history.

Of course, the Alps provided a powerful natural barrier, protecting citizens from intruders, but much of the country's security was due to Swiss warriors being some of the fiercest in the world. Swiss mercenaries were the country's largest export for much of its history, and these soldiers for hire were employed in nearly every major European conflict.


The need for Swiss mercenaries ensured that they would never be attacked by either side of a war, and since Switzerland was providing services for both sides, they accrued tremendous wealth. You can still see Swiss guards in Vatican City guarding the Catholic Pope and clergy.