Top 16+ Most Dangerous Countries in the World

Have you ever wondered where the line between adventure and danger truly lies?

Let’s venture into the heart of uncertainty and explore the realities of the most dangerous countries in the world.

Here are the top 17 countries on the list:

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Yemen
  3. Syria
  4. Russia
  5. South Sudan
  6. Democratic Republic of the Congo
  7. Iraq
  8. Somalia
  9. Central African Republic
  10. Sudan
  11. Ukraine
  12. Somalia
  13. Sudan
  14. Iraq
  15. Mali
  16. Central African Republic
  17. Ethiopia
  18. Burkina Faso
  19. North Korea
  20. Iran
  21. Turkey

The most dangerous country in the world is currently Afghanistan.

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is an annual report published by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). The GPI ranks 163 countries according to their level of peacefulness.

It uses 24 indicators to measure three dimensions of peace: the absence of violence, the existence of a functioning government, and the prevalence of militarization.

The indicators fall into four broad categories: societal safety and security, militarization, international conflict, and domestic and human rights.

Here’s a list of key factors assessed in the 2023 Global Peace Index:

  • Number of violent deaths
  • Impact of terrorism
  • Nuclear capability
  • Conditions of peace
  • Social security
  • Internal conflicts
  • International relations

Keep reading to discover the most dangerous countries in the world in 2023.

17 Most Dangerous Countries in the World

#1. Afghanistan

Afghanistan remains the most dangerous country in the world – due to its ongoing conflict and instability.

More than two decades of war have taken a toll on the country, leaving it with one of the lowest Human Development Indices in the world.

The ongoing conflict has also resulted in high levels of violence and insecurity, with civilians often bearing the brunt.

The Afghan government is also plagued by corruption, which has made it difficult to provide basic services and improve the country’s infrastructure.

#2. Yemen

Yemen is currently the second most dangerous country in the world. The country has been in the midst of a civil war since 2015, and the situation continues to worsen.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, and millions more have been displaced. Basic services such as healthcare and education are scarce, and famine is widespread.

The war has also allowed terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS to gain a foothold in the country, making it even more dangerous for civilians.

#3. Syria

Syria has been embroiled in a devastating civil war since 2011. The death toll has surpassed 250,000, and the number of those internally displaced is over 7.6 million.

The country’s infrastructure has been decimated, and its healthcare and education systems are in shambles. The conflict has also led to the rise of terrorist groups like ISIS, which have carried out brutal attacks on civilians.

In addition, Syria’s proximity to Europe has led to a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions. All of these factors have made Syria the third most dangerous country in the world in 2023 – plus one of the most difficult countries for US citizens to travel to.

#4. South Sudan

South Sudan is the fourth most dangerous country in the world in 2023. The country has been plagued by violence and civil war since it gained its independence from Sudan in 2011.

More than 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, and more than 2 million people have been displaced. South Sudan is also home to numerous armed groups, which makes it a difficult place to live.

What’s more, the country’s infrastructure is in poor condition, and basic services such as healthcare and education are scarce.

#5. Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been plagued by violence and conflict for many years.

The situation is only getting worse. The DRC government is extremely unstable, and various armed groups operate throughout the country.

There’s also a high level of poverty and inequality, which makes it easy for criminal gangs and terrorist organizations to recruit new members.

The DRC is a dangerous place to live, and it’s likely to remain one of the most dangerous countries in the world for many years to come.

#6. Russia

Russia is the sixth most dangerous country in the world in 2023.

This is largely due to its high homicide rate and increasing political instability. The homicide rate in Russia is high compared to other countries, with around 9.5 murders per 100,000 people.

High levels of poverty and inequality in Russia contribute to this, as well as the lack of rule of law and widespread corruption.

In addition, Russia faces increasing political instability, with protests and opposition movements becoming more common. This could lead to increased violence and civil unrest in the future.

#7. Ukraine

Ukraine is now considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world, due to the Russian invasion of February 2022.

The Russian military presence in Ukraine has led to widespread violence and human rights violations, contributing to the country’s ranking at position 157 (out of 163 countries analyzed) on the Global Peace Index.

This is a huge drop, as Ukraine was ranked as the 33rd most peaceful country before the Russian invasion. Back then, it had a low crime rate, and citizens generally felt safe and secure.

But with the Russian invasion and subsequent occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the security situation in Ukraine has deteriorated significantly.

The Russian military has been involved in numerous human rights abuses in Ukraine, including torture, rape, and murder.

#8. Somalia

Somalia ranks in position 156 on the latest Global Peace Index, making it the eighth most dangerous country in the world.

Somalia has faced significant challenges in recent years, including political instability, insecurity, and poverty.

The humanitarian situation in Somalia is dire, with more than 6 million people in need of assistance. The country is home to a number of terrorist groups, such as Al-Shabaab, which have carried out attacks on civilians.

The government of Somalia has been working to improve the security situation in the country and has made some progress in recent years. However, much work is still needed to make Somalia safe for civilians.

#9. Sudan

Sudan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for a number of reasons. The country has suffered from years of violence and conflict, and the situation is only getting worse.

Civil war has been raging in the country since 1983, and it has claimed the lives of over 2 million people. The Sudanese government is also accused of committing genocide in the Darfur region, which has resulted in the displacement of millions of people.

Sudan also is plagued by extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS, which have been responsible for numerous terror attacks in the country.

#10. Iraq

Iraq ranks in position 154 on the Global Peace Index, which makes it the 10th most dangerous country in the world (but this is an improvement on its 2022 position).

This low ranking is mainly due to the ongoing conflict and violence that persist in Iraq.

The aftermath of the Iraq War, plus ongoing conflicts, has displaced millions of people, killed thousands of civilians, and caused immense human suffering.

What’s more, the Iraqi government has been ranked as one of the most corrupt in the world, which further contributes to the instability in the country.

#11. Mali

Timbuktu, one of Mali’s most famous landmarks

Mali, like Iraq, is another country grappling with significant instability and insecurity. It currently ranks at position 153 on the Global Peace Index, placing it among the top 11 most dangerous nations globally.

One primary driver of Mali’s instability is the ongoing conflict and violence that has plagued the nation for years. The conflict is rooted in a complex web of ethnic tensions, political instability, and jihadist insurgency.

Various armed groups, including Islamist extremist organizations, have been active in the northern and central regions of the country. This has resulted in recurring clashes, displacement of civilians, and widespread insecurity.

Mali also faces governance challenges that exacerbate its instability. The country has grappled with issues of corruption and weak governance for years.

Transparency International has consistently ranked Mali among the world’s most corrupt nations. This corruption erodes public trust in the government, undermines the rule of law, and perpetuates the cycle of instability.

#12. Central African Republic

Due to ongoing conflict and a humanitarian crisis, the Central African Republic is one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The country has been plagued by violence and instability for many years – and there’s no end in sight.

More than half of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance, and millions have been displaced by the conflict.

The violence has also caused immense suffering for civilians, with thousands killed or injured, and countless others raped or subjected to other forms of violence.

The lack of security means that people are unable to go about their daily lives without fear for their safety, and those who have sought refuge in other countries face an uncertain future.

#13. Ethiopia

Addis Ababa at sunset

As of the latest rankings, Ethiopia occupies the 151st position on the Global Peace Index, placing it among the world’s most dangerous countries.

Ethiopia has faced a series of internal conflicts and tensions in various regions of the country.

The most prominent among these has been the Tigray conflict, which erupted in late 2020 and has since resulted in widespread violence, displacement, and humanitarian crises.

Ethnic tensions, political disputes, and regional aspirations have all played a role in these conflicts, contributing to Ethiopia’s unstable environment.

Governance challenges also factor into Ethiopia’s precarious position. The country faces issues of political instability, governance shortcomings, and allegations of human rights abuses.

These challenges not only undermine the rule of law but also contribute to the cycle of instability and violence.

#14. Burkina Faso

Traditional homes, Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso’s dangerous status is predominantly a consequence of persistent conflict and militant activities that have engulfed the country.

The Sahel region, where Burkina Faso is located, has become a hotbed for jihadist insurgencies.

Armed extremist groups like Ansarul Islam and Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) have wreaked havoc through acts of terrorism, ambushes, and violence targeting civilians.

This ongoing conflict has resulted in a staggering loss of life and the displacement of countless Burkinabé citizens.

The humanitarian toll is starkly evident, with millions of Burkina Faso’s residents facing dire circumstances.

The situation is further exacerbated by the displacement of thousands of Malian refugees into Burkina Faso, placing additional strain on limited resources and services.

#15. North Korea

Arch of Reunification, Pyongyang

North Korea, often shrouded in secrecy, ranks as one of the world’s most dangerous places. The so-called “hermit kingdom” occupies 149th position on the Global Peace Index.

North Korea’s reclusive regime, led by the Kim dynasty, has maintained an iron grip on the country for decades.

The lack of transparency and the absence of basic political freedoms make it challenging to know the true extent of human rights abuses against its citizens.

The government’s strict control over information and limited interaction with the international community have further isolated North Korea on the global stage.

Reports of human rights abuses within North Korea are deeply troubling. These allegations include forced labor camps, political purges, and severe restrictions on freedom of expression.

Since the mysterious death of Otto Warmbier in 2017, North Korea has been high up on the list of countries Americans are banned from visiting.

North Korea’s belligerent stance and nuclear ambitions have created persistent tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The regime’s missile tests, coupled with confrontations with neighboring South Korea and Japan, have heightened international concerns over regional stability.

#16. Iran and Turkey (joint position)

Tehran cityscape

Iran and Turkey, two neighboring nations with rich histories and significant geopolitical influence, share joint 16th position among the most dangerous countries in the world.

Both Iran and Turkey are regional powerhouses with ambitions and interests that extend beyond their borders.

They have been involved in regional conflicts and competition that has added to the volatility in the Middle East.

Both nations have been implicated in proxy conflicts in the region. Iran’s support for groups like Hezbollah and its involvement in the Syrian conflict have contributed to regional instability.

Turkey, on the other hand, has been involved in conflicts in Syria and has confronted Kurdish separatist groups, adding to the tensions in the region.

Economically, both Iran and Turkey have faced difficulties. Iran has grappled with international sanctions that have taken a toll on its economy, while Turkey has experienced currency devaluation of the lira and economic instability.

What’s more, both nations have faced human rights criticisms. Iran has been scrutinized for its restrictions on freedom of speech and political repression, while Turkey has faced allegations of crackdowns on political dissent and curbs on media freedom.

FAQ: Most Dangerous Countries in the World

Which is the most violent country in the world?

The most violent country in the world is currently Nigeria, according to data on rates of intentional homicide from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC).

What are the most dangerous countries in Europe?

The most dangerous countries in Europe are Turkey, Kosovo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro (according to Global Peace Index 2023 data). However, Europe is still the safest region in the world.

How unsafe is Europe?

Europe is not particularly unsafe. Many countries in Europe (including Ireland, Austria and Portugal), rank high on global safety rankings. In fact, most European countries are extremely safe to visit and thousands of tourists go there every year.

Danger can appear in unexpected places, but knowing about the most dangerous countries in the world gives you a better chance of avoiding it.

What is the roughest city in Europe?

The roughest city in Europe has recently been named as Bradford, in the UK, according to recent crime data from Numbeo. This takes into account increases in crime over the past three years, plus thefts, robberies and attacks.

Is Europe still safe with the war in Ukraine?

Europe is still safe, despite the war in Ukraine, as the war is confined to Ukrainian territory. No European countries have been affected.

Are European countries safer than America?

Yes, European countries are generally safer than America. For one thing, most of the world’s safest countries are located in Europe, while the US ranks in a low 131st place on the latest Global Peace Index. What’s more, there is far less gun crime in Europe, as guns are tightly controlled.

Before you go…

Most of the countries that rank low on the Global Peace Index have been stuck in conflict and poor economic conditions for many years.

The only exception is Ukraine, where national peace levels have declined massively as a direct result of Russia’s 2022 decision to invade.

In contrast, the countries of Europe dominate the top positions of the Global Peace Index, with Iceland, Ireland and Denmark among the top five safest countries in the world.

What’s more, Europe is also a good place to find some of the world’s happiest countries.

Want the perfect Plan B to stay safe in a dangerous world? Check out our guide to getting EU citizenship.

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