Syria has dropped to the bottom of an index measuring levels of peace around the world, according to a study released Wednesday by the Institute of Economics and Peace.
Syria pushed Afghanistan off the bottom slot in the the Global Peace Index, largely due to the millions of Syrians displaced by fighting and widespread access to weapons, the study found.
The institute created the index by assessing 162 nations based on 22 factors, including deaths during conflict and terrorist activity.
Overall, the study found that the world became less peaceful in the last year, partly due to rising terrorism and a larger number of conflicts. South Sudan saw the biggest decline in peacefulness, followed by Egypt, the Central African Republic and Ukraine. By calculating the "level of peacefulness for the average person in the world," the institute found that it has fallen every year since the index was established in 2007.
The institute also reported that conflicts cost the world some $9.8 trillion in 2013, adding that this amounts to 11.3 percent of the world's gross domestic product.
"The danger is that we fall into a negative cycle: low economic growth leads to higher levels of violence, the containment of which produces lower economic growth," Steve Killelea, the institute's executive chairman, said in a statement.
Amid the gloomy prognosis, there were a few good news stories. Georgia made the biggest gains in the index in the past year, partly due to thawing relations with Russia after a brief war in 2008.
Cote d’Ivoire came in second for the greatest improvements in the index as it recovered from its 2011 civil war. The report notes that just a year earlier, the African nation had one of the greatest declines in the index, which shows "how some nations can experience large swings in peace in relatively short periods of time."