Ecuador continues to move up in the Global Peace Index compiled annually by the Institute for Economics and Peace, ranking fourth in 2015 among South American countries. The country ranked highest among the Andean nations that also include Colombia, Peru and Venezuela.
The highest ranking countries in South America were Chile, Uruguay and Argentina. The lowest ranking, and considered the most dangerous countries, were Venezuela and Colombia.
The Global Peace Index measures the state of peace in 162 countries according to indicators that gauge the absence of violence or the fear of violence. In its 2015 summary report, institute compilers noted a trend of a divided world, with some countries “enjoying unprecedented levels of peace and prosperity while others spiral further into violence and conflict.”
Overall, Ecuador ranks 84th in the world, improving from 123 in the first index in 2008. The improvement, according to survey notes, was due to reduction of the crime rate, particularly murder, and improvement in a variety of social programs that foster security.
By comparison, the U.S. ranks 94th while Canada is one of the most peaceful countries, ranking 7th.
The world’s most peaceful countries are Iceland, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Switzerland. The most dangerous are Syria followed by Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Global Peace Index uses a composite of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators. These indicators can be grouped into three broad themes: the level of safety and security in a society, the number of international and domestic conflicts, and the degree of militarization.
The New York-based Institute is dedicated to researching and reporting the economic impact of peace and violence.