Global Peace Index Methodology

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is the world’s leading measure of national peacefulness. Now in its eighth year, it ranks 162 nations according to their ‘absence of violence and absence of the fear of violence’. The Global Peace Index Report is released every year in June and provides an analysis of the data, identifying trends in peace over time, as well as the key drivers of peace and an economic calculation of the impact of violence to the global economy.

The Index is currently used by many international organisations, governments and NGOs including the World Bank, the OECD, and the United Nations.


The Global Peace Index is intended to contribute significantly to the public debate on peace. The project’s ambition is to go beyond a crude measure of wars—and systematically explore the texture of peace.

By generating new information about the state of peace at the global level, the GPI aims to make a valuable contribution to better understand how civil society, researchers, policymakers and government can create a more peaceful society.

Definition of peace

Peace is notoriously difficult to define. The Global Peace Index defines peace as: “the absence of violence and the absence of the fear of violence”, which is commonly understood as negative peace. The Institute for Economics and Peace also focuses on better understanding Positive Peace, the strength of the attitudes, structures and institutions that move a society away from violence and towards peace.


The GPI is developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace under the guidance of an international panel of independent experts with data collated and calculated by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The GPI covers 162 countries encompassing more than 99% of the world’s population. Future editions of the GPI may include additional countries as additional data becomes available; but not microstates. The Expert Panel and the IEP agreed that countries included in the GPI must either have a population of more than 1 million or a land area greater than 20,000 square kilometres. 

The GPI is a composite index that measures peace based on 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators, ranging from a nation’s level of military expenditure to its relations with neighbouring countries and the percentage of prison population. The data is sourced from a wide range of respected sources, including the International Institute of Strategic Studies, The World Bank, various UN Agencies, peace institutes and the EIU.  

All scores for each indicator are normalised on a scale of 1-5, whereby qualitative indicators are banded into five groupings and quantitative ones are either banded into ten groupings or rounded to the first decimal point. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s team of country analysts has scored seven of the eight qualitative indicators and also provided estimates where there have been gaps in the quantitative data. A detailed explanation of the scoring criteria used for each indicator is supplied in Annex A of the 2015 Global Peace Index Report.

An international panel of independent experts played a key role in establishing the GPI in 2007—in selecting the indicators that best assess a nation’s level of peace and in assigning their weightings. The panel has overseen each edition of the GPI; in 2015, it included:


The 23 GPI indicators can be classified under three broad themes: ongoing domestic and international conflict, societal safety and security and militarisation. Each indicator is weighted the advisory panel of independent experts apportioned scores based on the relative importance of each of the indicators on a scale of 1-5. Two sub-component weighted indices were then calculated from the GPI group of indicators:

1) A measure of how at peace internally a country is;

2) A measure of how at peace externally a country is (its state of peace beyond its borders).

The overall composite score and index was then formulated by applying a weight of 60% to the measure of internal peace and 40% for external peace. The heavier weight applied to internal peace was agreed upon by the expert panel, following robust debate. The decision was based on the innovative notion that a greater level of internal peace is likely to lead to, or at least correlate with, lower external conflict. The weights have been reviewed by the advisory panel prior to the compilation of each edition of the GPI.

Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict

External Conflicts Fought

Internal Conflicts Fought

Deaths from External Conflict

Deaths from Internal Conflict

Intensity of Internal Conflict

Neighbouring Countries Relations

Societal safety and security

Perceptions of Criminality

Displaced People

Political Instability

Political Terror

Terrorism Impact


Violent Crime

Violent Demonstrations


Security Officers and Police


Military Expenditure

Armed Services Personnel

Weapons Imports

Weapons Exports

UN Peacekeeping Funding

Nuclear and Heavy Weapons

Access to Weapons


For a full description of each indicator source, its weight and scoring methodology, refer to the Annex of the Global Peace Index 2015 Report.

The Institute for Economics and Peace

The Global Peace Index was founded by technology entrepreneur and philanthropist Steve Killelea in 2007. It is produced and published annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a global think tank dedicated to building a greater relationship between economics, business and peace. Explore the data on the new interactive GPI map.

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Want to know about the state of peace around the world but only have a few minutes? The 2015 Global Peace Index video reveals how peaceful the world is, what has changed over time, where the most and least peaceful areas are.

Media Roundup 2015 Global Peace Index

The 2015 Global Peace Index made headlines around the world.

Contact us

Vision of Humanity is an initiative of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). IEP have offices in New York and Sydney. For more specific inquiries related to the peace indexes and research, please contact IEP directly.

Data request:

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