The World's 3 Safest Countries

The world is a scary place. And while danger can strike anywhere, you can put the odds firmly in your favor by traveling to the safest countries in the world. Here are the world's three safest countries, ready for your next vacation.

3. Norway

Source: Wikimedia Commons, Hesse1309. 

It should come as no surprise that this rich and isolated Nordic nation is one of the safest countries in the world. Norway ranks No. 1 on the United Nations' Human Development Index and is considered to be one of the most equitable societies in the world.

Norwegians can live in luxury without ever having to loot your luggage. A natural resources boom has kept GDP per capita soaring over the last 15 years, with the average Norwegian pulling in $99,558 in 2012. And with a life expectancy of 81, Norwegians quite literally have more to live for than citizens of 182 other countries, including Americans' 79-year average.

While terrorist Anders Brevik's 77-person killing spree in 2011 might seem to push Norway far off this list of safest countries, the country's accommodating justice system is increasingly serving as a model for others. Brevik will receive just 21 years in prison (less than four months per murder), and he will spend his time in a three-room cell with TV, laptop, and exercise equipment at his disposal. While opponents call for blood, Norway has consistently had one of the lowest incarceration, rape, and homicide rates in the world -- potentially due in part to its progressive prisoner rehabilitation programs.

2. Iceland

Source: Wikimedia Commons, Morini. 

Norwegians may make $50,000 more per year than their Atlantic Ocean neighbors, but Iceland snags second place for the world's safest countries. With only 320,000 citizens, this island nation is no place for nonsense. It ranked No. 1 on the 2013 Global Peace Index from Vision of Humanity, scoring top marks for weapons control, freedom of press, and democratic governance.

With an unemployment rate of just 5.4%, most Icelanders simply don't need to steal. In the U.S., we aren't even dreaming of getting that low. The Federal Reserve's long-term target is 6.5%, and our current 6.7% rate has more to do with job-seekers giving up than increased employment.

1. New Zealand

Source: Author.

New Zealand isn't just the safest country now -- it has been since before humans lived there. The country's flightless bird population serves as a perfect example of what makes this island nation so secure: no predators.

In 2011, there were just 39 murders -- that's one-fifth the homicides in New Orleans, a city about which there is even a murders map to keep cartographical track of crime. While its inaccessibility may irk Lord of the Rings enthusiasts, New Zealand has also kept guns out of everyone's hands -- even the police. Everyday cops aren't packing, and in 2008 (most recent data) there were only seven gun deaths.

A safe country needs an accountable government, and New Zealand tied for first (with Denmark) on the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index from Transparency International that measures how corrupt a country's public sector is perceived to be. Smart citizens also have less reason to steal and 95% of New Zealanders attend high school, and a whopping 83% head on to higher education. And while the country's 6.2% unemployment rate  is higher than both Norway's and Iceland's, New Zealand has significant social safety nets to keep its down-and-out citizens off the streets.

Make Smart Choices
Norway, Iceland, and New Zealand aren't just the world's safest countries -- they're also some of the most beautiful nations around, with vibrant cultures and friendly locals. Kindness begets kindness, and these countries' safety records serve as models for the rest of the world. So leave your pepper spray at home, pack your bags, and bon voyage.

Boost Your Travel Budget
Traveling can be expensive, but there's a simple way to make money for your next big adventure. Investing is an easy way to make your money work for you, whether you're sitting at your desk job or sipping fruity drinks on a deserted beach. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you why investing is so important and what you need to do to get started. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2799821, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/29/2015 7:49:32 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Justin Loiseau

Energy and Macroeconomic Specialist keeping investors up to date with macro news, utilities, and good companies doing good things.

Today's Market

updated 22 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,643.01 -11.76 -0.07%
S&P 500 1,988.87 1.21 0.06%
NASD 4,828.33 15.62 0.32%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes