Costa Rica became a little less peaceful in 2011, according to the 2011 Global Peace Index.
The country sometimes called the “Switzerland of Central America” fell five places – from 26th to 31st of a total of 153 countries – from its 2010 ranking. The Switzerland of Europe improved its own ranking, jumping two places to 16th in 2011. Costa Rica remains the most peaceful country in Central America and is ranked second in Latin America only to Uruguay, which earned 21st place.
The Global Peace Index is a measure of internal and external factors relating to peace and security in a country. Countries are scored based on a weighted matrix of these factors, with higher scores corresponding to a lower level of peacefulness. Costa Rica scored 1.68 in 2011, which caused the bump down in ranking from its 2010 score of 1.59.
Costa Rica’s higher score, and subsequent lower ranking, according to the index report, stems from ongoing bad blood with Nicaragua over the San Juan River as well as an overall perception in the country that criminality is on the rise.
In the region, Panama trailed Costa Rica in 49th place. Nicaragua came in at 72nd and El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala ranked 102nd, 117th and 125th, respectively. Due to a lack of data Belize was not included in the index.