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Global Terrorism Index 2015
Nov 23, 2015

According to the Global Terrorism Index 2015, the number of people killed by terrorism reached a record high in 2014, with almost four in five of these deaths occurring in just five countries. The index is compiled by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank based in Sydney, New York and Mexico.

Key Points

  • Terrorism killed more than 32,600 people last year, an 80 per cent increase from 2013 and the sharpest yearly rise on record.

  • The death toll was heavily concentrated. 78 per cent of fatalities occurred in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.

  • Nigeria recorded the largest increase in deaths from terrorism. Fatalities quadrupled in 2014, reaching more than 7500.

  • Iraq stands out as the worst-affected country, accounting for 30 per cent of all deaths from terrorism, according to the report. More than 9900 people died in 3370 attacks in Iraq last year. This is the highest number of terrorism incidents and fatalities ever recorded by a single country.

  • The report highlights the link between US military intervention and terrorism in Iraq.

  • Less than three per cent of the lives lost to terrorism since 2000 have been in the West. This figure drops to 0.5 per cent when the September 11 attacks are excluded.

  • More than 60 per cent of the 162 countries covered in the report did not have any deaths from terrorism in 2014.

  • Islamic State and Boko Haram were jointly responsible for half (51 per cent) of all lives lost in terrorist attacks in 2014. Together, the groups killed more than 12,700 people last year, with Boko Haram killing about 570 more than Islamic State.

  • Boko Haram pledged allegiance to Islamic State in March 2015.

  • State-sponsored violence and armed conflict within a country are the two factors most closely associated with terrorism, according to the report's statistical analysis of 25 years of terrorist activity.

  • The conditions that foster terrorism differ between more and less developed countries. 

  • In the West, socio-economic factors such as youth unemployment and drug crime correlate with terrorism. 

  • In non-OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, terrorism shows stronger associations with ongoing conflict, corruption and violence.

  • The Global Terrorism Index is based on data from the Global Terrorism Database, compiled by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland. The data starts from 1970.

  • Putting the numbers in context, the index notes that homicides kill 13 times more people worldwide than terrorism.

Top-10 Countries

1. Iraq

2. Afghanistan

3. Nigeria

4. Pakistan

5. Syria

6. India

7. Somalia

8. Yemen

9. Philippines

10. Thailand

The Global Terrorism Index, now in its third year, ranks 162 countries by how greatly terrorism affects them both directly and indirectly. It defines terrorism as the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non‐state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.

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