Iceland Voted World’s ‘Safest’ Country

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a photo of London, UK, and IcelandPexels

Do you feel safe in your own country? A weird, rather vague question, yes, but an important one for those who aren’t lucky enough to be born into a country which is the global equivalent of cotton wool. 

Well, important to the world leaders and elite one per cent who are responsible for making our world safer and, in at least some places, are failing pretty miserably.

Look at us over here in Blighty. We’re constantly bombarded with news of knife crime, political upheaval, racial unrest and we love to dismiss these claims as fear-mongering from the right-wing press.

So you might be surprised to learn we’re no where near the safest place in the world. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of amazing things about living in Britain; multiculturalism, democracy, free healthcare, our stiff upper lips, and Greggs.

But we’re only the 38th safest place in the world to inhabit, out of a possible 128 countries, according to a report published by Global Finance.

The people who compiled the report weigh up three factors each year to decide upon their rankings: namely, war and peace, personal security, and natural disaster risk.

Take Icelanders. You can bet not many Icelandic folk sit about all day mulling over how safe they are in their minimalist Reykjavik flats – an overgeneralisation which largely stems from my romanticised view of the country, admittedly.

They’re too busy throwing themselves into adventures in their epic natural landscapes of volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields.

Ah, the perks of living in the safest country in the world where you have to actively search for danger, hey?

Now, that’s not to say Iceland doesn’t have its problems – with a score of 6.16, it’s not perfect. I think if it were we’d rename it Utopia. But Iceland and the rest of the high ranking countries provide a pretty good blueprint.

The top 10, needless to say, reads like an A to Z map of bliss, peaking with Iceland, followed by Switzerland and Finland – really repping for the beautiful Northern nations who’ve taken gold, silver and bronze.

This will no doubt only serve to cement my rose-spectacled view of Scandinavia and its surrounding areas as a place of natural beauty and wonderment.

Portugal follows on in fourth place, with Austria landing fifth. They’re the two second highest ranking European nations, behind Switzerland.

Next is Norway and then Qatar slips in at number seven, representing the Arab countries solo in the top 10, closely followed by the island city-state, Singapore. Nine and 10 are Denmark and New Zealand, with scores of 7.41 and 7.42, respectively.

Often the controllable factors are dependent on economic development, so richer countries are much more likely to score well on the safety ranking… With one notable exception.

You guessed it, friends across the pond. America ranks almost exactly in the middle at 65th, well behind its economically developed peers.

According to Global Finance, this is because the risk from violent crime in the US is higher due to the higher rate of homicide, which lowers the personal safety and security score drastically.

It also has a slightly higher risk from natural disaster simply due to its geographic landscape and size. Japan also is an exception to the economics rule, ranking 43rd, largely due to its high risk from natural disasters.

On the other end of the spectrum, things look a little more bleak, with war, terror, natural disasters and poverty meaning the Philippines places last, second only to Yemen.

Writing up their findings, a statement from Global Finance reads:

This can be attributed to the fact that the Philippines has poor scores in peace, security, and prevalence of natural disasters.

Yemen’s terrible score is due to war and famine but the country has a very low risk of natural disaster. Thus, the Philippines ranks lower than Yemen even though Yemen is a warzone.

Other so-called surprises, according to Global Finance, include Russia (108th) – which sounds like a civil rights hell hole – and Ukraine (116th) due to the low-intensity civil conflict which has been violently simmering since 2014.

So, next time you bad mouth Britain, be thankful we have the presumed power to change things we don’t like from a position of relative safety. Or just go to Iceland.

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