Cuba more peaceful than US

New Zealand leads the list

Cuba and China are more peaceful than the United States, according to a report published Thursday.

The global peace index, prepared by the Sydney, Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace, says the world in general is becoming a more violent place. The report says nearly two-thirds of the countries it ranks every year have become more violent since 2007.

Iraq is the most violent nation in the world, the report says, followed by Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan, Israel, Georgia, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Beacons of peace are New Zealand — which tops the index — Iceland, Japan, Austria, Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland and Sweden.

The United States ranks 85th, below Cuba and China and just ahead of Angola.

The idea for the index came from Steve Killelea, an Australian entrepreneur who wanted to identify what makes a peaceful country. He asked the Economist Intelligence Unit, which is affiliated with the Economist news magazine, to look at a range of variables, from levels of homicides per 100,000 people — which drags down America and boosts Denmark — to corruption and access to primary education.

The survey also looks at levels of crime, social unrest and military spending.

World peace would save the global economy $7 trillion a year, the report says. Becoming more peaceful translates into economic gains, the report claims, because less money needs to be spent on security and can be invested instead to make the country more prosperous.