One of the most important things for expats to think about when moving to another country is how safe their new home is going to be. For example, crime rates, road safety, pollution levels and cybersecurity are all things to consider when it comes to researching your new home.
Those relocating to another country may wish to organise international health insurance for themselves so that they have peace of mind that their health is protected. International health insurance plans are great for expats, as they are designed for people living and working abroad, rather than only covering you in the country in which you purchase the insurance.
Of course, the best way to ensure your safety and reduce the chance of a claim being made on your life insurance is to choose a safe country to live in. That’s why we’ve taken a look at the Global Peace Index to determine which countries around the world are the safest for expats.
We’ve ranked countries by metrics such as personal safety, public health and infrastructure, as well as environmental and digital security. Our report uses the Global Peace Index 2023 to present a comprehensive data-driven analysis of trends surrounding peace, its economic value and how to develop peaceful societies.
However, how safe you feel in a certain country can vary depending on the individual. For example, some countries are a lot safer for men than they are for women. There are also some countries around the world that aren’t very accepting of the LGBTQ+ community and provide very few protection rights for them.
Despite the war between Russia and Ukraine causing disruption across Europe, many European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries are still dominating the Global Peace Index. In fact, six of the ten safest countries in the world in 2023 are either part of the EU or the EEA.
Our index looks at factors including the freedom to live, move about and work safely, and overall quality of life, including education, environmental and digital security, and healthcare. There may still potentially be COVID-19 management and restrictions in place in some countries, so it is necessary to do your own research at the time you’re planning to move.
Safety is one of the most important factors for expats to investigate when moving to a new country, and it isn’t just about crime rates.
The Global Peace Index analyses 163 countries comprising 99.7% of the world’s population. It uses 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources and measures the state of peace across three domains:
- The level of societal Safety and Security
- The extent of Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict
- The degree of Militarisation
In addition to discussing the findings from the 2022 GPI, the report includes an analysis of the military conflict in Ukraine. It covers likely increases in military spending, new and emerging uses of technology in the war, its impact on food prices and global shipping routes. The report also contains a deeper analysis on violent demonstrations around the world.
Qualities that the world’s safest countries in 2023 have in common:
The safest countries in the world have some commonalities, such as high levels of wealth, social welfare and education. In addition to this, they also often have effective criminal justice systems and their governments are often able to maintain healthy relationships with their citizens and meet all of their needs.
Some other factors that can impact the safety of a country include:
- Poverty, the ratio between the highest and lowest-earning members of the population
- The state of the economy
- Cultural around morality, law enforcement and tolerance of crime
- Measures for law enforcement including the carrying and use of guns and firearms, and the scale of punishments for levels of crime
- Levels of civil unrest
- Political stability
- The availability (or lack thereof) of public healthcare
- Digital security
The top 10 safest countries in the world in 2023
Of the top 20 safest countries in the world, 14 of them can be found in Europe. Perhaps the most notable are the five Nordic countries: Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland. The Nordic region is considered the safest in the world, with all five countries also appearing in the top 10 happiest countries as well.
Overall score: 1.124
The safest country for expats to live and work in is Iceland, with an overall score of 1.124. Pollution levels are low, which contributes to the country’s high life expectancy, which currently stands at around 83 years.
Iceland is also very accepting of the rights of others. In a study conducted by the Williams Institute at UCLA School Of Law in 2019, Iceland received a score of 9.78, meaning that it ranked in first place for the social acceptance of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people.
The public health system in Iceland is mainly paid for by taxes and a large portion of government spending is assigned to this. There is virtually no private health insurance or hospitals in the country but in some limited cases, such as skin diseases, access to a private provider can be arranged, as long as conditions are met.
Iceland has a total of 10 airports, with the largest being Keflavik Airport, which is approximately 45 minutes from the country’s capital, Reykjavik. The network of roads and highways in the country is generally well-kept, totalling around 12,900km, however, some of the more rural roads can have poor surfaces. In 2020, there were just 8 road traffic fatalities in Iceland, equating to 2.2 deaths per 100,000 people. Due to this low figure, road traffic in the country is considered very safe.
Crime levels in the country are relatively low, although non-violent crimes such as petty theft and anti-social behaviour do sometimes occur, particularly in areas where people gather late at night. Violent crime cases are extremely rare, but people are advised to take sensible precautions and be aware of their surroundings.
Iceland has introduced a number of strategies relating to digital security in recent years. For example, in 2021 the Cyber Security Strategy was published with two main objectives: exceptional competence and utilisation of cybersecurity technology, and a secure internet environment. The Cloud Policy was also introduced in June 2022 and aims to provide increased security of information systems and data.
As previously mentioned, the air pollution levels in Iceland are very low, much lower than the OECD average. 97% of people living in the country are also satisfied with their water quality, which is much higher than the OECD average of 84%. Icelandic weather can be very unpredictable and the temperature can fall below freezing point, even in the summer, so it is vital for expats to pack clothing suitable for all kinds of weather.
Overall score: 1.310
Climbing two places to position number two is Denmark, which receives an overall score of 1.310 on the Global Peace Index. Life expectancy in the country currently stands at 82 years, which is one year higher than the OECD average. There is a very strong sense of community in Denmark, with 95% of people saying that they believe they know someone they could rely on in a time of need.
Around 10.4% of the country’s GDP is spent on healthcare and this is financed through local taxation. Approximately 43% of Denmark’s health care expenditure is spent on hospital facilities, which is higher than the OECD average. The country also has a very high rate of child vaccination coverage, standing at 90%.
Copenhagen has been ranked as one of the world’s best airports on multiple occasions and has previously been commended for its security team, as well as being named the most efficient airport 12 times. The airport is located only 8km from the city centre and can be accessed via car, metro, train and bus, meaning there are many safe and efficient ways to arrive at or depart from the airport.
Crime within the country is kept to a minimum, but pickpockets and bag snatchers do tend to operate in busy and crowded areas throughout Copenhagen, such as hotel lobbies, cafes and restaurants, and train stations. Any expats visiting Christiania or Nørrebro should take extra care, particularly at night, as there have been a few instances of gang violence in these areas.
Broadband is available almost everywhere in the country and is of a high standard. In an internet performance ranking by Ookla, the city of Copenhagen ranked second for the fastest average mobile broadband speed (157.54 Mbps). In 2022, the Danish Government introduced the National Strategy for Cyber and Information Security, which aims to enhance technological resilience, secure the protection of vital IT systems used by the Government, and improve the knowledge and skills of citizens, businesses and authorities.
Sustainable consumption and production have only recently become a part of life in Denmark, but it is quickly becoming a very important focus. For example, European and Nordic ecolabels are the only ones to be officially recognised in the country and they both set out requirements in regards to a product’s environmental impact, taking health and quality into account.
Overall score: 1.312
Following closely behind, and maintaining its position at number three, is Ireland, which receives an overall score of 1.312. The life expectancy figure in Ireland currently stands at 83 years, two years higher than the OECD average. According to data collected by OECD, Ireland outperforms the average in many areas, including jobs, health, safety and life satisfaction.
Healthcare in Ireland varies depending on which area you live in. For example, those living in Northern Ireland are covered by the publicly funded Health and Social Care (HSC) system, which helped to abolish all prescription charges in the area, including medication, wigs and surgical appliances. In the Republic of Ireland, healthcare is provided through both public and private systems. Any expats visiting this area do not have to pay for any prescription medicines or emergency treatment, as long as they have a European Health Insurance Card.
In Ireland, there are very few deaths caused by road traffic accidents per year, which could be due to the well-kept traffic routes that are generally in good condition. Between the years 2013 and 2019, there was an average of 177 road fatalities per year, equating to just 3.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. This is compared to 12.3 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants in the U.S. and the global average of 17 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants.
Most people visiting Ireland have no issues when it comes to crime; however, advice is given to take precautions when it comes to potential bag snatching and pickpockets, as this can occasionally occur, particularly in the Dublin area. However, the police force in Ireland has previously received complaints relating to discourtesy, harassment and perjury, with over 2,000 complaints being made in 2017 alone.
Cyber security is a rapidly growing industry in Ireland, with over 60 companies and start-ups, and 7,000 people having jobs in the sector. This is also reflected in the large number of people that choose to study cybersecurity at a university in Ireland. Once the degree has been completed, graduates receive a two-year post-study work visa, with many leading Irish companies often recruiting graduates. Dublin is now the largest data hosting cluster in Europe, accounting for 25% of the European market.
Two of Ireland’s major cities, Dublin and Cork, are participating in Mission Cities, which aims to create at least 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by the year 2030. Ireland is also receiving funding through the EU’s LIFE programme for nature, biodiversity protection and fighting against climate change. This includes the Life Emerald Project which aims to improve the level of information about air quality and raise awareness around the topic of Irish air quality.
Overall score: 1.313
Falling two places to position number four is New Zealand, which receives an overall score of 1.313 on the Global Peace Index. The life expectancy figure in the country currently stands at 82 years, which is slightly higher than the OECD average of 81 years. New Zealand performs well and higher than the average in areas such as jobs, environmental quality, social connections and health.
The New Zealand healthcare system has experienced some significant changes over the years, going from a fully public healthcare system to what is now a mixed public-private system. Any emergency services are mainly provided by the St John New Zealand charity (or Wellington Free Ambulance in the Wellington region) and these are supported via a mixture of both private and public funds. The cost of treatments considered ‘accidents’ are covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation.
The road conditions in New Zealand are generally good, however, it is important to take care when driving as some of the main highways can be particularly narrow, winding and hilly. Back in 2020, there were 318 fatalities on roads in New Zealand, equating to 6.2 deaths per 100,000 people. Whilst this is a relatively low road death rate, it is considerably higher than the 2020 UK average of 2.3 deaths per 100,000 people.
Crime levels within the country are generally low, however, some street crimes do occur in major tourist areas, such as Queenstown and Rotura. The number of thefts from hotel rooms and unattended vehicles, particularly hire cars and camper vans, has increased recently. Therefore, it is recommended that you don’t leave any valuable possessions unattended and make use of the safe in your hotel room or home.
New Zealand places 21st for average fixed broadband speed on Ookla’s internet speed rankings, achieving 149.22 Mbps. In 2019, a refreshed Cyber Security Strategy was released for New Zealand and it focuses on five main areas: cyber security aware and active citizens, strong and capable cyber security workforce and ecosystem, internationally active, resilient and responsive New Zealand, and proactively tackling cybercrime.
The country is currently taking part in the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme by Aotearoa, which aims to subside emissions and meet legislated emission reduction targets and budgets. A partnership has also been set up to equip farmers with tools that will allow them to measure, manage and reduce their on-farm agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
Overall score: 1.316
Remaining in fifth place is Austria, with an overall score of 1.316. Just like Denmark and New Zealand, Austria’s life expectancy figure also currently stands at 82 years, 1 year higher than the OECD average. There is a strong sense of community within the country, with 92% of people believing that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, which is 1% higher than the OECD average of 91%.
Austria has a two-tier healthcare system which provides nearly everyone with publicly funded care. However, people also have the option to purchase private healthcare which allows them to access additional comforts, such as flexible visiting hours, private rooms and choice of doctor. The cost of public healthcare insurance is determined by income and doesn’t take into consideration any medical history or risk factors.
The country has a network of transportation which is well-developed, including highways, passenger and freight trains, waterways and air services. Austria’s energy sector is also very diverse, using liquid fuels, natural gas, hydropower, and coal, as well as other renewable resources. The telecoms industry in the country is now considered to be well-developed and competitive after years of being a monopoly, however, it can be expensive.
Austria is a popular destination for adventure tourism, particularly skiing, and whilst any adventure sports are risky, there are countless well-established and reputable companies to choose from when carrying out your activities. It is important to check weather forecasts and conditions, as between the years 2016 and 2021, there were an average of 18 deaths and 103 accidents every year due to avalanches on the slopes. Crime levels are kept to a relatively low level within the country, however, there are often cases of pickpocketing in city centres and parks.
The cybersecurity market is growing at a fast pace in Austria and is valued at over $600 million. There was a rise in the number of cyber breaches and vulnerabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing the Austrian government to prioritise cybersecurity more. As a result of this, the government updated the National Cybersecurity Strategy in 2021, which has increased public awareness of cyber threats.
The Austrian Development Cooperation made it one of its three main objectives to preserve the environment and protect any natural resources. They wish to maintain an intact environment with fertile soils, clean air and drinkable water. 92% of people living in Austria have said that they are satisfied with the quality of their water, which is 8% higher than the OECD average of 84%.
Overall score: 1.332
Climbing three places this year to position number six is Singapore, receiving an overall score of 1.332. The life expectancy figure for the country currently stands at 83 years, which shows an increase of almost five years since 2000, when life expectancy was around 78 years. It is also one of the highest life expectancy figures in the world. Singapore has the third highest population density in the world, however, there are still plenty of green and recreational spaces.
The healthcare system in Singapore is mainly publicly funded, however, there is also a significant private sector as well. In a ranking for healthcare outcomes, The Economist Intelligence Unit has previously placed Singapore second out of 166 countries. The Bloomberg Global Health Index, which comprises 163 countries, also ranked Singapore fourth in the world and first in Asia in terms of health.
Singapore’s national airport, Changi International Airport, has won over 250 awards since opening in 1981. 80 airlines are hosted at the airport, serving over 180 cities across more than 50 countries. The airport also handles over 70 million passengers every year across its three terminals. PSA Singapore Terminals is the country’s port and takes care of approximately one-fifth of the world’s total container transhipment.
Sea travel is relatively popular in Singapore and the Maritime and Port Authority takes sea safety extremely seriously. Every beach has its own designated lifeguards and coast guard boats, and routine checks are carried out at all ferries and pleasure boats to ensure that all safety measures are being met. During monsoon season, which runs from June to September and December to March, the sea can become very choppy, so it’s important to adhere to all safety instructions and don’t venture out to sea if the water is rough. Violent crime is extremely rare in the country, however, street crime can occasionally occur, particularly bag snatching.
In 2021, Singapore created the Cybersecurity Strategy which consists of three main strategic pillars: build resilient infrastructure, enable a safer cyberspace and enhance international cyber cooperation. There are also two foundational enablers included in the strategy which are to develop a vibrant cybersecurity ecosystem and to grow a robust cyber talent pipeline.
Singapore has been particularly ambitious when it comes to combatting climate change. For example, in 2021, approximately 95% of the country’s electricity was generated from natural gas, compared to just 18% back in 2000. It was also the first country to set a zero-growth rate for both cars and motorcycles, as well as imposing a vehicle quota system to cap vehicle growth.
Overall score: 1.333
Falling one place to position number seven is Portugal, with an overall score of 1.333. Like many of the other countries in this report, Portugal also has a life expectancy figure of 82 years, which is one year higher than the OECD average. The country outperforms the average in both housing safety and environmental quality. The net-adjusted disposable income per capita is US$24,877 a year for an average household in Portugal, compared to the OECD average of US$30,490.
The healthcare system in Portugal consists of three different systems: the National Health Service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde SNS in Portuguese), special social health insurance schemes for particular professions and voluntary private health insurance. The SNS can be accessed by both Portuguese citizens and foreign residents and covers a whole range of healthcare, such as health surveillance, disease prevention, and the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
Portugal has previously been ranked 4th in the world for the quality of its roads and 6th for its motorway network density. Back in 2021, Portugal announced a large investment in public infrastructure, which included a high-speed rail link between the country’s two largest cities, Lisbon and Porto, which is to be completed in 2030.
The Algarve area of Portugal is famous for its stunning cliff and rock formations, particularly the Benagil caves, which are beautiful areas for expats and tourists to visit. However, falling rocks can become a hazard, so it’s important to look out for any potential cliff erosion. Crime rates are low in Portugal, but pickpocketing and bag snatching can be common in popular tourist areas. This is most likely to occur on public transportation, particularly on the popular number 15 and 28 tram routes in Lisbon, so it is important to be extra vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
On Ookla’s ranking of internet performance, Portugal ranks 30th for both average fixed broadband speed (110.91 Mbps) and average mobile broadband speed (76.23 Mbps). 95.2% of all Portuguese households had fixed broadband coverage by the end of June 2020, as well as 93.6% of rural households. However, Portugal has also ranked second in the world for the percentage of single users affected by spam and phishing.
Portugal is becoming an increasingly eco-friendly country and is implementing various different sustainable initiatives. It was recently announced as one of the world’s top 50 greenest countries in the Environmental Performance Index completed by Yale University. This is thanks to the Portuguese government and their efforts to invest in renewable energy sources. Portugal also commits to various nature conservation initiatives such as the Natura 2000 network.
Overall score: 1.334
In eighth place is Slovenia, which receives an overall score of 1.334. Life expectancy in the country currently stands at 82 years, which is one year higher than the OECD average. Slovenia outperforms the average in education, safety and social connections with 95% of people saying that they believe they have someone who they could rely on in a time of need.
The healthcare system in Slovenia is funded by tax payments, with specialists potentially charging an additional fee for their services. Any expats from outside the European Union (EU) are required to purchase private health insurance for themselves and any dependent family members, and proof of this is required in order to obtain a visa.
Slovenia’s network of roads and highways totals approximately 39,00km, meaning that it ranks 27th in the world. Between 2013 and 2019, there was an average of 116 road traffic fatalities each year, equating to 5.6 deaths per 100,000 people. 5G technology is already available in the country and costs are low, with flat-rate access available for both residential and business users.
Earlier this year, according to a BBC report, Slovenia was named the best destination for a safe solo trip for female travellers. Solo female visitors who had recently visited the country said that they never felt unsafe when exploring Slovenia, and 85% of Slovenian women have also said that they feel safe when walking alone at night. Theft does occasionally occur, although this does tend to be kept to just petty theft, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching.
Slovenia has previously implemented a Cyber Security Strategy which meant that by 2020, eight objectives were met, such as the development of cyber defence capabilities, the safety of citizens in cyberspace and the strengthening of the national cyber security assurance system. Strategies like these have caused a growing level of interest in both cyber security and tech development within the country, as well as contributing to a high level of cyber risk awareness.
Slovenia is one of Europe’s most water-rich countries, with 93% of people saying that they are happy with the quality of their water. This is almost 10% higher than the OECD average of 84%. The country also ranks 14th on the World Energy Trilemma Index which measures various aspects, such as energy security and equity, and environmental sustainability.
Overall score: 1.336
Climbing one place to position number nine is Japan, with an overall score of 1.336. The life expectancy figure in Japan currently stands at 84 years, which is three years higher than the OECD average of 81 years. The country outperforms the average in education, safety and environmental quality. The net-adjusted disposable income per capita is US$28,872 a year for an average household in Japan, compared to the OECD average of US$30,490.
In Japan, citizens are responsible for 30% of the country’s healthcare system costs, with the Japanese government paying the remaining 70%. All residents living in Japan are required by law to have health insurance coverage. All medical fees are also regulated very strictly by the government in order to keep them affordable. By law, all Japanese hospitals are required to be non-profits and must be managed by physicians.
The transportation infrastructure in Japan is one of the most modern in the world, providing residents and visitors with fast-paced, efficient and innovative modes of transport. The Japanese government has identified some areas ready for urban redevelopment, including Tokyo Bay, Shibuya and Shinagawa. Japan is known for its high-speed trains, such as the Shinkansen bullet train network.
Back in 2019, there were 3,920 deaths as a result of road traffic accidents in Japan, equating to 3.1 deaths per 100,000 people. This figure is slightly higher than the UK average of 2.6 deaths per 100,000 people in the same year. In general, it is safe to walk alone at night and travel on public transport around Japan, but there have been a number of random attacks reported recently, including on the Tokyo metro. However, these incidents are kept to a very low number.
Currently, Japan’s cyber security does need to be improved, however, there are actions being taken in order to combat this. For example, approximately 98.1% of Japanese businesses have reported using some form of cybersecurity measures in order to lower the chance of a cyber attack. Japan also strengthened its cyber security in the run-up to the Olympics ceremony in Tokyo in 2020.
Any expats or tourists visiting the city of Fukushima should be aware of the exclusion zones surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Despite these areas having reduced over the past few years, Japanese authorities do still carry out extensive checks to monitor the level of radiation around the site, including the possible contamination of water, food and produce. Although the decommissioning and clean-up of the site and surrounding area will take several years, expats and tourists should be ensured that the risks are gradually declining.
Overall score: 1.339
Entering the top 10 after climbing one place is Switzerland*, which receives an overall score of 1.339. Just like Japan, Switzerland also has a life expectancy figure of 84 years, which is three years higher than the OECD average. The country also outperforms the average in areas such as health, environmental quality, social connections and safety.
In Switzerland, there are no free state-provided health services, however, it is compulsory for all people residing in Switzerland to have private health insurance. This must be organised either within three months of being born or taking up residence in the country. Health insurers are required to offer basic insurance to everyone in the country, regardless of their age or medical condition, and are unable to make a profit off of this.
Switzerland has a very efficient rail network, as well as an extensive and high-class road system with many tunnels, which compensates for the country’s mountainous terrain. There are almost 5,000km of rail lines and over 71,000km of roadways, as well as 14 national and regional airports, with the largest being Zurich Airport.
Adventure tourism activities, such as hiking, mountaineering and skiing, are very popular in Switzerland but can be very risky. In 2021, there were over 1,500 cases of hikers in distress, with hikers accounting for more than 40% of mountain rescues. Due to the natural alpine climate and terrain in Switzerland, there are a number of potential extreme weather hazards. These include avalanches and snow drifts, landslides and flooding, glacial crevasses and hollows, and rockfall. When exploring Switzerland, it’s important to regularly check weather forecasts and ensure that you are properly equipped for any potential sudden weather changes, such as a map or GPS.
Switzerland provides its residents with a high level of privacy protection, whilst maintaining a low level of regulations. The country has a highly reliable and cost-effective power supply which ensures that servers in data centres can operate without any difficulty. Switzerland also hosts many technology-related events and organisations, such as the Internet Society, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and ICT-4Peace.
The Swiss Soil Strategy was implemented in 2020 by the Federal Council, which aims to achieve zero net soil loss by the year 2050. Switzerland is sometimes known as Europe’s reservoir and is home to many rivers, including the Rhine and Rhone. The Federal Council has also chosen to add an additional treatment stage to the largest of approximately 800 wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland over the next 20 years. This is done to eliminate any micropollutants from medicines, cosmetics and pesticides.
*We cannot cover expats living and working in Switzerland.
It’s really important to remember though, that there may be a considerable amount of petty crime even in countries with the lowest crime rates. So wherever you are, it’s always vital to keep your wits about you.
Is the world becoming more or less safe?
Since 2022, the average level of peacefulness across the world has decreased for the ninth year in a row. Despite 84 countries seeing an improvement in their level of peace, 79 countries, including the likes of Ethiopia, Myanmar and Israel, saw a decrease in their peace level. This shows that there have been more deteriorations since the previous year when 71 countries saw a decrease in their peace level and 2 countries remained stable.
Unsurprisingly, Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. Making up the remainder of the top 10 most peaceful countries are Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Austria, Singapore, Portugal, Slovenia, Japan and Switzerland.
Afghanistan remains the least peaceful country in the world, a position it has held for the last six years. The remainder of the top 10 least peaceful countries is made up of Yemen, Syria, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Russia, Ukraine, Somalia, Sudan and Iraq.
Over the past year, there have been many changes to the level of peace across the world, including protests in Iran, divided politics in Pakistan and, of course, the war between Russia and Ukraine. Because of issues like these, the number of deaths caused by global conflict has increased by a considerable 96%, totalling 238,000 deaths.
Since 2022, the global economic impact of violence increased by 17% (US$1 trillion) to US$17.5 trillion, which is equivalent to 13% of global GDP. This is compared to $16.5 trillion in 2021, which was equal to 10.9% of global GDP.
Back in 2008, just 58 countries were involved in international conflict, but this figure now stands at 91 countries. There has also been an increase in the amount of money being spent on fighting this conflict, with 92 countries increasing their military expenditure. However, despite the high-profile conflict in Ukraine, 110 countries decreased their military personnel.
Which countries have the highest and lowest crime rates in 2023?
According to Numbeo statistics, the safest country in 2023 in terms of crime is Qatar, scoring 14.3 on the crime index and 85.7 on the safety index. This is then closely followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which receives a score of 14.6 on the crime index and 85.4 on the safety index.
The country with the highest crime rate in 2023 is Venezuela, which scores 82.1 on the crime index and just 17.9 on the safety index. This is then closely followed by Papua New Guinea, scoring 80.4 on the crime index and just 19.6 on the safety index.
How has the war between Russia and Ukraine impacted peacefulness?
Although the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been ongoing since 2014, the hostilities escalated in February 2022 when Russia instigated the current war with Ukraine. The latest statistics show that over 62,000 people have been killed in the war, with another 60,000 receiving non-fatal injuries and at least 15,000 people still missing. Over 140,000 buildings have also been destroyed in Ukraine, totalling approximately US$411 billion in damages.
Because of the ongoing conflict, Ukraine has seen the largest deterioration in peacefulness, dropping 14 places to position 157. The war has also caused a huge increase of 479% (US$449 billion) in the economic impact of violence in Ukraine, which is equivalent to 64% of the country’s GDP. 65% of men aged between 20-24 in Ukraine have also either fled the country or have unfortunately been killed in the conflict.
However, despite the conflict between the two countries, Russia has seen an improvement in many areas over the past year, including incarceration rate, violent demonstrations, terrorism impact and homicide rates, with the latter being at its lowest rate since 2008. However, the reduction in violent demonstrations may be in part due to government crackdowns on public dissent, while the conscription of prisoners to fuel the Russian war effort could be a major factor in lowering the country’s incarceration rate.
- Do your research – it’s really important that you get a good understanding of your destination before your arrival, including any potential risks and how you can either avoid or minimise the impact of them.
- Be aware of different cultures – to avoid putting yourself in tricky or awkward situations, it’s a good idea to become acquainted with any cultural sensitivities in the country that you are visiting.
- Be safe and secure – before heading out, make sure that all of your windows and doors are locked, and any valuables or possessions aren’t on show.
- Make sure you’re medically prepared – some countries require you to have specific vaccinations before arriving at your destination, which may include the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Have a safety net in case things go wrong – it is vital that you are prepared and have a backup plan in case something goes wrong whilst you are abroad. This could involve things such as international health insurance, which will allow you to receive private treatment if you fall ill or injure yourself.
FAQ for the safest countries in the world in 2023
Earlier this year, according to a BBC report, Slovenia was named the best destination for a safe solo trip for female travellers.
Solo female visitors who had recently visited the country said that they never felt unsafe when exploring Slovenia, and 85% of Slovenian women have also said that they feel safe when walking alone at night.
Other countries that are commended for being particularly safe for female expats and travellers are Rwanda, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Japan, Austria, Ireland and Norway.
Appearing at position six on the Global Peace Index, Singapore is considered to be the safest country in Asia. This is followed by Japan, which appears at position nine on the index.
Crime levels are kept very low in both of these countries and travelling on public transport or walking alone at night is considered to be very safe.
Appearing at position 23 on the Global Peace Index, Mauritius is considered to be the safest country in Africa. This is followed by Botswana, which appears at position 42 on the index.
Crime levels are relatively low in both countries, with petty theft such as pickpocketing and bag snatching occasionally occurring. However, people are advised not to walk alone at night in Mauritius.
Many of the Nordic countries are considered to be highly safe for travellers and expats within the LGBTQ+ community. For example, Denmark was the first country in the world to legalise same-sex partnerships back in 1989.
Iceland has also previously been ranked in first place for the social acceptance of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people and anti-discrimination laws have been implemented there.
Some of the other safest countries in the world for LGBTQ+ travellers and expats include Belgium, Malta, Spain and Canada.
Wherever you move, go with total peace of mind
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Making the move to another country can be challenging. But no matter where you go, you can take one thing off your mind. William Russell offers international health insurance that covers you for everything from minor injuries to long hospital stays, and we can even offer medical evacuations to patients who require treatment in other countries.
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We used Vision of Humanity’s ‘Global Peace Index’ to gather the most recent peacefulness scores for the 163 countries that regularly feature in the index. It is a composite index measuring the peacefulness of countries made up of 23 quantitative and qualitative indicators, each weighted on a scale of 1-5. The lower the score the more peaceful the country. All data was collected on 3rd July 2023.