Nuclear and Heavy Weapons

Nuclear and Heavy Weapons is one of the 23 indicators of peace measured by the Global Peace Index. It is an 'external' indicator of peace, meaning it measures peace outside a country.


Nuclear and Heavy Weapons is a quantitative assessment of the destructive capability of a country’s government’s stock of heavy weapons. Five different categories of heavy weapons receive certain weighted points, which are then divided by population to make up the indicator. Nuclear capability is separately assessed.


Nuclear and Heavy Weapons Capability is scored on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the least heavy weapons capability and 5 the most.

In countries that score 1, there are very low holdings of heavy weapons on a per-capita basis.

In countries that score 5 fall states ranked in the top 2% of heavy weapons. In addition, states with nuclear capabilities automatically score 5 in this indicator.


Nuclear and Heavy Weapons Capability is a quantitative assessment by the Institute for Economics and Peace, using data from the Stockholm Independent Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) heavy weapons dataset.

Other Global Peace Index Indicators

The Global Peace Index is comprised of 23 indicators that measure the existence or absence of violence or the fear of violence. These include:

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

Global Peace Index methdology 

Find out more about how the Global Peace Index is constructed, what it measures and what the results show in the Global Peace Index Report

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Global Peace Index Methodology

The Global Peace Index measures the state of peace in 162 countries according to 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators of peace. Find out more about how the index is constructed, a description of the indicators and the scores.

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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.

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