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New Peace Index Ranks US Among Worst Nations

A new study has ranked Norway as the most peaceful country in the world, while placing the United States near the bottom.

A division of the group that publishes the Economist news magazine issued the Global Peace Index Wednesday ranking the U.S. at 96 out of 121 countries - one spot ahead of Iran. Iraq was ranked lowest.

Researches used 24 criteria to determine peacefulness, including the amount of money a country puts into military expenditure, local corruption, and domestic crime. According to the report, U.S. involvement in international conflicts, as well as high levels of incarceration and homicide determined America's placement. Other countries at the bottom of the list are Russia, Israel and Sudan.

According to the report, the most peaceful countries are small, democratic countries with regional links, and have efficient, accountable governments. The report also found links between peace and income levels and education.

Listed among the most peaceful countries are Ireland, Japan, Austria and Germany.

The report has been backed by a number of influential figures including the Nobel Peace Prize winners the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.