Mexico Peace Index Methodology

The 2016 Mexico Peace Index is a composite index that gauges the state of peace in Mexico using seven different indicators. These indicators are selected under the guidance of an expert panel and reflect specific domains related to peace and violence in Mexico.

The Mexico Peace Index measures peace at the state level in Mexico. A key reason for choosing this unit of analysis is that, similar to the United States, Mexico’s state governments have wide-ranging powers allowing them to have a significant impact on the level of violence, therefore the response to violence may differ significantly from state to state.


Homicide: the number of homicides per 100,000 people, measured as the number of cases that were investigated by the state prosecution authorities. Source: Executive Secretary of the National System for Public Security (SESNSP).

Violent Crime: the number of violent crimes per 100,000 people adjusted for underreporting. Violent crimes include robbery, rape and assault. Source: SESNSP.

Organized Crime: the number of extortions, drug-trade related crimes and kidnappings per 100,000 people. Extortion and kidnapping rates are adjusted for underreporting. Drug-trade related crimes include production, transport, trafficking, trade, supply or possession of drugs or other “crimes against public health,” as they are termed in Mexican law. Source: SESNSP.

Weapons Crime: the number of crimes committed with a firearm per 100,000 people. Includes international and negligent homicides and assaults committed with a firearm. Source: SESNSP.

Detention without a Sentence: the number of people in prison without a sentence divided by the number of homicide and violent crime cases, as counted in the homicide and violent crime indicators. Source: Secretariat of Public Security.

Police Funding: the federal government subsidies for state security from the Public Security Contribution Fund/ Fondo de Aportaciones para la Seguridad Pública (FASP) per 100,000 people, in current Mexican pesos. Source: Secretaria de Hacienda y Crédito Publico (SHCP).

Justice System Efficiency: the ratio of registered intentional homicide cases to successful homicide prosecutions. Source: INEGI & SESNSP.

Population data is used to calculate the per capita level of police funding and the rate per 100,000 people for homicide, violent crime, organized crime and weapons crime. Source: INEGI.

Underreporting multipliers are calculated based on the number of crimes reported by victims on the victimization survey divided by the number of those crimes that victims stated they reported to the authorities. Underreporting multipliers are applied to the number of rapes, robberies, assaults, kidnappings and extortions recorded by SESNSP. Source: National Survey of Victimization and Perceptions of Public Security . 


All indicators are scored between 1 and 5, with 1 being the most peaceful score, and 5 the least peaceful. After the score for each indicator has been calculated, weights are applied to each of the indicators in order to calculate the final score. For more on weights and scores, download the report and see the full methodology on page 94.


Underreporting of violent crime and other criminal activities is a serious issue in Mexico, with IEP estimating that rape is reported only 8% of the time and assault only 23%. To create a more accurate index, IEP has adjusted two of the indicators for under-reporting rates. To improve accountability and future reporting, better data is needed.     


An Expert Panel was established to provide independent advice and technical guidance to IEP researchers in developing the index methodology. The Panel is composed of experts from independent, nonpartisan civil society and academic organizations. For the 2016 MPI it included:

The Mexico Peace Index derives from the work of the Global Peace Index, a leading global measure of peacefulness that has been produced by IEP annually since 2007. The Index follows a similar methodology to the United Kingdom Peace Index and the United States Peace Index, and defines peace as ‘the absence of violence or fear of violence’.


The Mexico Peace Index is produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, the brains behind Vision of Humanity. The Institute for Economics and Peace is a global think-tank dedicated to shifting the world's focus to peace as a positive, achievable and tangible measure of human well-being and development. 

For more detailed information about the methodology and findings, download the report. For any further questions or data requests, please contact us.

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