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  • Writer's pictureGunnar Garfors

The World’s Most Dangerous Countries



Where would you not want to go on holiday? To war zones? They actually aren’t too bad. Considering. Less people are killed in armed conflict now than ever before in modern history.

By: Gunnar Garfors. He travelled 5 continents in 1 day and visited every country. On Twitter: @garfors.

Of the 526,000  people that die violently every year, ‘only’ 55,000 die in armed conflict or war. It is still a lot, yet half of what was the case in the 1990s, one third of the war deaths during the cold war and a hundreth of what they were during WWII, according to the magazine Foreign Policy.



UNODC or United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime keep statistics on annual murder rates, or what they call ‘intentional homicide rate. Do note that numbers may be manipulated or underreported by governments.   The overview provided by Wikipedia is easier to follow. UNODC defines this as ‘unlawful death purposefully inflicted on a person by another person.’

So which countries should you avoid as a tourist? I have been unable to find statistics that isolate murdered tourists, so I am echoing the UNODC numbers. There are two ways of trying to approach the question; The total number of intentional homicides and the homicide rate per 100,000 people. I will go through both.

You may also be interested in reading: The Airlines That Fly to the Most Countries
The Least Visited Countries in the World

Most dangerous countries, accumulated numbers

9 of the top 25 countries here are in Africa, 8 are in the Americas while are 7 in Asia. Russia is located in both Europe and Asia, and is the only European entry. There are armed conflicts or wars in 5 out of the 25 countries. The most surprising country on the list may be the United States which is the second most visited country in the world.


25. Cameroon 3,700 homicides (19.7 per 100,000)

24. Bangladesh 3,988 homicides (2.7 per 100,000)

23. El Salvador 4,308 homicides (69.2 per 100,000)

22. Myanmar (Burma) 4,800 homicides (10.2 per 100,000)

21. Philippines 4,947 homicides (5.4 per 100,000)

20. Guatemala 5,681 homicides (38.5 per 100,000)

19. Honduras 7,104 homicides (91.6 per 100,000)

18. Kenya 7,733 homicides (20.1 per 100,000)

17. Sudan 10,028 homicides (24.2 per 100,000) NB: Two armed conflicts in Sudan.

16. Tanzania 10,357 homicides (24.5 per 100,000)

15. Ivory Coast 10,801 homicides (56.9 per 100,000)

14. Venezuela 13,080 homicides (45.1 per 100,000)

13. China 13,410 homicides (1.0 per 100,000)

12. Democratic Republic of the Congo 13,558 homicides (21.7 per 100,000)

11. Pakistan 13,860 homicides (7.8 per 100,000) NB: War in North-West Pakistan.

10. Russia 14,574 homicides (10.2 per 100,000)

9. Colombia 14,670 homicides (31.0 per 100,000) NB: Civil war in Colombia.

8. United States 14,748 homicides (4.8 per 100,000)

7. South Africa 15,940 homicides (31.8 per 100,000)

6. Nigeria 18,422 homicides (12.2 per 100,000)

5. Indonesia 18,963 homicides (8.1 per 100,000)

4. Ethiopia 20,239 homicides (22.5 per 100,000)

3. Mexico 25,757 homicides (22.7 per 100,000) NB: War on drugs in Mexico.

2. India 40,752 homicides (3.4 per 100,000) NB: Insurgency in eastern parts. 

1. Brazil 40,974 homicides (21.0 per 100,000)

What happened to North Korea? It’s actually number 26 and just outside the list with its 3,658 murders (15,2 per 100,000).

The most dangerous countries per 100,000 people

This list is usually put forward in articles, and understandably so. It gives an overview of murders in percentages of the population. But St. Kitts and Nevis, a small country with 20 accumulated murders may still not seem to be very dangerous, despite being number 8 on the list with 38.2 homicides per 100,000 people.

Only the Americas and Africa are represented on this list with 15 and 10 countries, respectively. The United States is understandably not here thanks to a population of 312 million people. Some cities would have been though, according to this article from January 22 in The Atlantic Cities.

25. Burundi 21.7 homicides per 100,000 (1,726)


24. Dominica 22.1 homicides per 100,000 (15)

23. Guinea 22.5 homicides per 100,000 (2,152)

22. Ethiopia 22.5 homicides per 100,000 (20,239)

21. Mexico 22.7 homicides per 100,000 (25,757) NB: War on drugs in Mexico.

20. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 22.9 homicides per 100,000 (25)

19. Sudan 24.2 homicides per 100,000 (10,028) NB: Two armed conflicts.

18. Tanzania 24.5 homicides per 100,000 (10,357)

17. Dominican Republic 25.0 homicides per 100,000 (2,513)

16. Saint Lucia 25.2 homicides per 100,000 (44)

15. Bahamas 27.4 homicides per 100,000 (94)

14. Central African Republic 29.3 homicides per 100,000 (1,240)

13. Congo 30.8 homicides per 100,000 (1,180)

12. Colombia 31.0 homicides per 100,000 (14,670) NB: Civil war in Colombia.

11. South Africa 31.8 homicides per 100,000 (15,940)

10. Trinidad and Tobago 35.2 homicides per 100,000 (472)

9. Lesotho 35.2 homicides per 100,000 (764)

8. Saint Kitts and Nevis 38.2 homicides per 100,000 (20)

7. Guatemala 38.5 homicides per 100,000 (5,681)

6. Belize 41.4 homicides per 100,000 (129)

5. Venezuela 45.1 homicides per 100,000 (13,080)

4. Jamaica 52.2 homicides per 100,000 (1,430)

3. Ivory Coast 56.9 homicides per 100,000 (10,801)

2. El Salvador 69.2 homicides per 100,000 (4,308)

1. Honduras 91.6 homicides per 100,000 (7,104)

The two lists are quite different, as it is unlikely that a small country will have a high accumulated number, even though the percentage is high. So, what is the most dangerous country?

The combined list

By combining the positions on the two lists, we will make a third one. Venezuela is for example placed 14 and 5. 14+5=19. We can assume that the lower the combined number, the more dangerous the country. Brazil has the most homicides, but is not among the top 25 on the deadliest per 100,000 people list, neither is the US. The worst ten from the two combined lists will then be:

10. Tanzania: 18+16=34 9. Guatemala: 7+20=27 8. Ethiopia=22+4=26 7. El Salvador: 2+23= 25 6. Mexico: 21+3=24

5. Colombia: 12+9=21 4. Honduras: 1+19=20 3. Venezuela: 5+14=19 2. South Africa: 11+7=18 1. Ivory Coast: 3+15=18

How about the more pleasant end of the list? Some of the least populated countries in the world are overrepresented here. Several of the world’s least visited countries also appear on both lists. Two countries have no homicides whatsoever.

The 10 safest countries in accumulated numbers


1. Palau No homicides 

1. Monaco No homicides

3. Iceland 1 homicide (0.3  per 100,000)

4. Federated States of Micronesia 1 homicide (0.9 per 100,000)

5. Tonga 1 homicide (1.0 per 100,000)

6. Andorra 1 homicide (1.3 per 100,000)

7. Liechtenstein 1 homicide (2.8 per 100,000)

8. Nauru 1 homicide (9.8 per 100,000) PS: The least visited country in the world.

9. Brunei 2 homicides (0.5 per 100,000)

10. Vanuatu 2 homicides (0.9)

The 10 safest countries per 100,000 people


1. Palau No homicides

1. Monaco No homicides

3. Iceland 0.3 per 100,000 (1)

4. Singapore 0.3 per 100,000 (16)

5. Japan 0.4 per 100,000 (506)

6. Brunei0.5 per 100,000 (2)

7. Bahrain 0.6 per 100,000 (6)

8. Norway 0.6 per 100,000 (29)

9. Austria0.6 per 100,000 (56)

10. Slovenia 0.7 per 100,000 (15)

Note that the Vatican, the world’s least populated country, is not on the list of UNODC. There are presumably no homicides in the homeland of the Pope, either. 

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