Hopes that we can all just march toward ever-greater peace and equality saw a serious setback in a report from the Global Peace Index released on Tuesday, which found that the world has gotten way less peaceful over the last five years.
Five percent less peaceful since 2008, to be precise, with a total of 110 countries seeing an increase in violence.
The Global Peace Index tracks incidents of criminal violence, domestic abuse, and other un-peaceful behavior, in addition to military conflict.
“One of the main takeaways from the index this year is this move from wars between states to violence within society,” Michelle Breslauer, the US Program Manager for the Institute of Economics and Peace (which publishes the report), told CBS News.
Researchers attributed the spike in violence to more homicides, political upheaval, and military spending.
“In the past year, the drug war in Mexico claimed twice as many lives as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the report said.
That’s not to downplay the situation in Afghanistan. The index placed it alongside Somalia and Syria as the world’s three least peaceful countries. Syria’s peacefulness ranking, meanwhile, slid by 70 percent this year.
And not surprisingly, the cost of conflict is high: it amounts to a full 11 percent of the world’s GDP, the report found.
For those eager to avoid conflict, the report helpfully identifies the world’s three most-peaceful countries: Iceland, Denmark, and New Zealand.
If in doubt, just head to Europe, which the report found to be the world’s most peaceable region — possibly because it got a lot of violence out of its system in centuries past?
If none of those are possible, stick with a democracy. The index found that small, stable democracies constituted the top ten most peaceable nations.
Not-so-small America occupies slot 100 out of the index’s 162 nations, its ranking was held back by high incarceration rates and weapons possession, according to CBS.
The index also singled out Libya for showing the “biggest improvement in its peace score since last year.” Breslauer told CBS the nation is “one of the largest risers this year.”