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How the U.S. is getting more violent, by the numbers

President Trump claims he’s making America great again–but the hard numbers paint a disturbing picture of an increasingly violent society.

How the U.S. is getting more violent, by the numbers
[Image: Institute for Economics & Peace]

You’re looking at the 2018 Global Peace Index, an annual report that analyses metrics relating to peace and violence around the world.

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So how is humanity doing? 92 countries are less peaceful, while 71 countries are more peaceful this year. Although we’re experiencing the most peaceful time in history by a very large margin when it comes to death rates by war, peace has been worsening steadily over the last four years.

Click here for a larger version. [Image: Institute for Economics & Peace]
The yearly study, which the Sydney-based global think tank Institute for Economics and Peace has produced for the last 12 years, covers 99.7% of the people on Earth. The non-profit uses 23 qualitative and quantitative data indicators–like the number of refugees and internally displaced people, political terror, the impact of terrorism, and violent crime rates–which are grouped into three domains: Societal safety, ongoing domestic and international conflict, and militarization of each country. In total, the twelfth edition ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their level of peacefulness.

[Image: Institute for Economics & Peace]

If you guessed that the United States is one of the 92 countries where peace is worsening, given the level of gun violence, the increasingly aggressive foreign policy and rhetoric of the current administration, and the escalating trade wars–congratulations! You’re right.

“The United States has deteriorated in Positive Peace over the last 11 years,” the report begins. In fact, the last time it improved was back in 2014. As Fast Company reported at the time, by 2016 the U.S. had dropped to the 103rd position on the list of 163 countries ranked by peacefulness. This year, it dropped even further, down to 121.

You can’t blame Trump alone, since the deterioration has accelerated over the last three years. On the other hand, however, this year the U.S. got worse across all three of the main domains–and, for a number of years, the United States has received the worst possible score on many indicators. That includes incarceration rates, external conflicts, the weapons it exports, and its nuclear and heavy weapons. And it can expect to see further drops in its score on militarization after the Senate sent a $716 billion defense spending bill to President Trump earlier this week, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described as the largest year-over-year increase in 15 years.

The president claims he’s making America great again, but the hard numbers prove him wrong. The country is getting more violent and less peaceful–and there’s nothing great about that.

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About the author

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce and a contributing writer at Fast Company.

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