In an increasingly diverse world with huge political and international conflicts, income disparities, and environmental destruction, finding a safe and stable place to live is the priority of many expats. Although the world appears fragile at times, there are many peaceful and safe countries without any internal conflict that are strong examples and aspirations for the rest of the world.
The article below gives a comprehensive overview of the world’s ten safest countries to live in, including details of what makes them so special.
Factors Contributing to Safety
A country’s safety is influenced by a myriad of factors that collectively contribute to the well-being and security of its citizens and residents. Key elements contributing to a country’s safety include:
- Low crime rates: A country with low crime rates, especially violent crimes, tends to be safer. Effective law enforcement, a strong judicial system, and social programs can contribute to crime reduction. Countries without ongoing domestic and international conflict subsequently have much lower crime rates.
- Political stability: This is crucial for safety, as it ensures that citizens can go about their daily lives without fear of upheaval or conflict. Stable governments without ongoing conflict are better equipped to maintain law and order.
- Effective governance: Efficient and accountable governance ensures that public services such as policing, emergency response, and disaster management are robust and responsive to the needs of the population.
- Quality healthcare: Accessible and high-quality healthcare services are essential for a country’s safety. A well-functioning healthcare system can respond effectively to health crises, ensuring the well-being of the population.
- Social stability: Societal safety and security, as well as strong community ties, often lead to lower crime rates and greater safety. When people trust and support each other, neighborhoods become safer.
- Economic prosperity: A thriving economy can reduce crime rates by providing employment opportunities and improving living standards. Economic stability contributes to overall safety.
- Education: Compulsory and universal education fosters understanding, tolerance, and critical thinking, contributing to a safer and more informed society. It also reduces the likelihood of individuals engaging in criminal activities.
- Health and well-being: Good physical and mental health is closely linked to safety. Countries with well-established healthcare systems and mental health support structures tend to have safer populations.
- Infrastructure and disaster preparedness: Adequate infrastructure, including transportation and communication networks, is crucial for safety. Furthermore, disaster preparedness and response capabilities can minimize the impact of natural disasters.
- International relations: A country’s relations with its neighbors and the international community can also affect its safety. Stable diplomatic relationships and cooperation can reduce the risk of external threats.
From this extensive list, it becomes evident that the safety of a country doesn’t just address very low crime rates, but it’s also the broader socio-economic and political factors that influence the well-being of its people. A holistic approach, encompassing various facets of safety, is vital for creating a secure and peaceful environment for its citizens.
The Global Peace Index
The Global Peace Index (GPI) is a comprehensive measure of peace and stability across countries. Developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), it assesses various factors, including levels of violence, political instability, and the availability of small arms. The GPI provides valuable insights into global peace trends, ranking countries from most to least peaceful.
A composite index measuring the peacefulness of countries made up of 23 quantitative and qualitative indicators, each weighted on a scale of one to five. The lower the score the more peaceful the country.
It is used by governments, policymakers, and organizations to better understand and address issues related to conflict, security, and development. The World Economic Forum also gives overviews of countries’ safety, although the criteria may vary from that of the GPI.
The Ten Safest Countries in 2023
According to the GPI, the countries below are the ten safest countries in the world. European countries feature heavily in this list, including member-states of the European Union (EU). They are least likely to suffer from international conflict, have high levels of personal security, and have very low rates of violent crime.
Each one of them also has a democratic government, which further stabilizes their political landscape. For a list of the cheapest and safest countries in the world, consult our website for further information.
10. Switzerland – Europe
Switzerland, an iconic Central European nation, is celebrated for its stunning Alpine landscapes, precision craftsmanship, and financial prowess. Known for its political neutrality, Switzerland maintains a reputation as a peaceful and stable country. Its efficient healthcare system, quality education, and low crime rates contribute to a high quality of life.
Swiss cities like Zurich and Geneva offer a blend of modern amenities and historic charm. Whether you’re exploring picturesque villages or indulging in Swiss chocolate and cheese, Switzerland’s commitment to safety, innovation, and culture makes it an enticing destination and a model of prosperity in the heart of Europe.
9. Japan – Asia
Japan stands out as an example of a peaceful country with a very low crime rate. Its reputation for safety is renowned globally, drawing admiration for its harmonious society and minimal violence. This exceptional security is rooted in various factors, including cultural norms that prioritize respect and social order.
Japan’s residents adhere to stringent societal expectations, contributing to the overall tranquility. Law enforcement is highly efficient, and the strict gun control regulations are a testament to the country’s commitment to safety.
Consequently, Japan offers an environment where citizens and expats can navigate daily life with a profound sense of security, making it an appealing destination and a model for how a low crime rate can be achieved through a combination of cultural values and effective governance.
8. Slovenia – EU/Europe
Slovenia, nestled in Central Europe, stands out for its pristine natural beauty and a reputation for safety. With Slovenia’s high safety ranking and as a member of the EU, it is considered one of Europe’s safest destinations. Its serene landscapes, from the Julian Alps to lush forests and picturesque lakes like Lake Bled, offer a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
The capital, Ljubljana, showcases charming architecture and a relaxed atmosphere. The nation’s efficient healthcare system and low crime rates contribute to its safety. Whether exploring historic towns or enjoying the great outdoors, Slovenia provides a sense of security that allows expats and residents to fully immerse themselves in its culture and stunning surroundings.
7. Portugal – EU/Europe
Portugal, with its Mediterranean climate and stunning coastline, has earned its place among the best countries in Europe to live in. Its relaxed pace of life, rich cultural heritage, and welcoming atmosphere make it a sought-after destination for expats. Portugal’s Golden Visa program attracts investors globally, offering residency in exchange for property investment.
Be mindful, however, that Portugal’s Golden Visa will be coming to an end soon, so make sure you apply before the deadline.
The D3 Visa facilitates retirement, while the D7 Visa is tailored for those with income sources outside Portugal. These visa options contribute to Portugal’s popularity as an expat-friendly nation. Whether you’re drawn to its historic cities, picturesque villages, or beautiful beaches, Portugal’s charm, safety, and diverse opportunities make it an ideal place to call home.
What’s more, Portugal is also one of the safest countries to live in, embracing people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Hence, it’s also considered to be one of the best countries to move to from the USA.
6. Singapore – Asia
Singapore, often lauded as one of the world’s safest countries, exemplifies an unparalleled commitment to security and stability. Its meticulously planned urban landscape and strict enforcement of laws contribute to this reputation.
The city-state’s efficient police force, low crime rates, and a strong emphasis on community vigilance ensure that residents and visitors feel secure day and night. Moreover, Singapore’s proactive approach to disaster management and healthcare infrastructure further solidify its status as a safe haven.
This commitment to safety not only bolsters Singapore’s global appeal but also underscores the nation’s dedication to providing a secure environment for all who call it home.
5. Austria – EU/Europe
Austria, located in Central Europe, is renowned for its safety and quality of life and is currently the fifth safest country in the world. This picturesque country boasts stunning Alpine landscapes, historic cities like Vienna and Salzburg, and a rich cultural heritage. Austria consistently ranks among the world’s safest nations, thanks to its low crime rates and efficient law enforcement.
Its well-developed healthcare and education systems further enhance its appeal. Austria’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty and maintaining a high standard of living makes it an attractive destination for residents and expats alike. Whether you’re exploring its historic landmarks or enjoying outdoor activities, Austria provides a secure and welcoming environment.
4. New Zealand – Oceania
New Zealand, renowned as a very safe country, offers a pristine natural haven. Its breathtaking landscapes, from the Southern Alps to lush forests and stunning fjords, remain void of dangerous wildlife. With no snakes or large predators, New Zealand’s environment is remarkably safe, making outdoor adventures a delight.
The nation’s commitment to conservation and sustainability further enhances its appeal. Whether you’re exploring Māori culture, embarking on thrilling outdoor activities, or simply enjoying its serene beauty, New Zealand’s safety, friendly locals, and spectacular scenery create an ideal environment for expats seeking tranquility and adventure in equal measure.
3. Ireland – EU/Europe
Ireland, celebrated as one of the safest countries in Europe and the world, is known for its stunning landscapes and welcoming atmosphere. With consistently low crime rates, it offers a secure environment for residents and visitors. Ireland’s educational system is highly regarded globally, attracting students from all over the world to its universities.
The country’s rich cultural heritage, including literature, music, and folklore, adds to its charm. Whether you’re exploring the vibrant streets of Dublin or the tranquil countryside, Ireland’s safety, warm hospitality, and commitment to education make it an ideal destination for those seeking both personal growth and a secure environment to enjoy their lives.
2. Denmark – EU/Europe
Denmark, with its societal safety and relatively small population, stands out as one of the safest countries for women to travel alone. This Scandinavian nation offers a welcoming and secure environment, making solo exploration a delightful experience. Its well-designed cities, such as Copenhagen, blend historic charm with modern convenience.
Denmark’s commitment to gender equality and strong social support systems contribute to its reputation as a female-friendly destination. Whether you’re strolling through the iconic Nyhavn Harbor or immersing yourself in Danish culture, Denmark’s peaceful atmosphere and progressive values create a safe haven for expats to enjoy their lives with confidence.
1. Iceland – Europe
Iceland, often hailed as the safest and most peaceful country globally, is a remarkable island nation with a small population and landmass. Its remote location in the North Atlantic contributes to its tranquil atmosphere.
Iceland’s commitment to LGBTQ rights and inclusivity has earned it a reputation as an LGBTQ-friendly country. With its awe-inspiring landscapes, from glaciers to geysers, Iceland, although a small country, offers unparalleled natural beauty.
The absence of a military, coupled with its low crime rates, reinforces its reputation as a peaceful haven. Whether you’re marveling at the Northern Lights or soaking in geothermal baths, Iceland’s safety and natural wonders make it an exceptional destination.
Moving to a Safe Country with Your Family
Expats who look to emigrate to a safe country with their family will be pleased to know that there are plenty of options around the globe. Antigua and Barbuda is one of the safest countries in the Caribbean and also offers the cheapest citizenship by investment (CBI) program for a family of four.
In Europe, Portugal is one of the best countries to emigrate to, not just for its safety and welcoming nature but also because family members can be included in visa applications.
In the Americas, Canada ranked number 11 in the Global Peace Index, is not only a safe country, but it’s also relatively straightforward to get a visa through one of their programs that attract expats from across the world.
Key Take-Aways about the Ten Safest Countries in the World
In contrast to some of the most dangerous countries, peaceful countries have low crime rates, stable governments, and prioritize the welfare of their citizens above all things. With some of the world’s safest countries dotted across the world and with access to some visa programs, expats can enjoy a safe and peaceful life in those countries, too.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Safest Countries in the World
What are the ten safest countries in the world?
The ten safest countries in the world are Iceland, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Austria, Singapore, Portugal, Slovenia, Japan, and Switzerland.
What is the number one safest country?
The safest country in the world is Iceland. Albeit a small nation without a military, the nation ranks high in environmental health and universal education and is a peaceful haven for marginalized groups.
Where does the US rank in the safest countries’ list?
The USA currently ranks at place 131 in the Global Peace Index, behind China, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
Are these rankings subject to change over time?
Yes, rankings from the Global Peace Index are subject to change over time. They are updated annually to reflect evolving political, social, and economic conditions in countries worldwide.
Which is safer, Europe or the USA?
Overall, and according to the Global Peace Index, European countries are safer than the USA, with lower crime rates, strict gun laws, and relatively stable governments, as well as strong healthcare systems.