The Global Peace Index 2018 has found that refugees comprise 1% of the world’s population, the highest in modern history. The Institute of Economics and Peace, which compiles the report, has also found that the world is less peaceful now than at any time in the last 10 years.

Iceland retained its spot at the top of the peace index, while Syria was at the bottom among 163 countries for the fifth year in a row. The United States and India were ranked among the 50 least peaceful countries along with Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Russia.

“Increased numbers of refugees, terrorism, and heightened political tensions were behind the deterioration,” Bloomberg quoted the institute’s director, Steve Killelea, as saying. “Refugees on their own would make one of the world’s biggest nations.”

The index arrived at the results by studying the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarisation.

The four most peaceful regions – Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, and South America – all recorded deterioration.

The report also found that peacefulness had a direct correlation with the macroeconomic performance of each country. The index found said that if the least peaceful countries had grown at the same rate as highly peaceful countries, “the global economy would be almost 14 trillion dollars larger”.