#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 3°C Wednesday 19 January 2022

Failed States: Top 10 best and worst countries in the world

Ireland’s position drops in this year’s rankings, according to the latest Failed States Index of 177 countries.

An al-Shabab fighter poses for a photo in late 2010.
An al-Shabab fighter poses for a photo in late 2010.
Image: Mohamed Sheikh Nor/AP/Press Association Images

SOMALIA REMAINS the world’s most failed state, according to the latest annual Failed States Index compiled by the Fund for Peace. At the other end of the scale, Ireland is ranked 171st out of the 177 countries surveyed.

The index uses publicly available information to analyse countries across a range of factors from economic development to refugee flows.

Somalia, which hasn’t had an effective government since 1991, has repeatedly topped the index and was recently named in a separate report as one of the worst places in the world for women. The country’s women’s minister Maryan Qasim says that women face a daily struggle to feed their families and are constantly at risk of being raped and shot.

Somalia has seen the rise of Islamist extremists in recent years, with the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab particularly gaining strength.

Foreign Policy, which publishes the index results in partnership with the Fund for Peace, notes that Iraq and Afghanistan have moved down the ranking, suggesting both have improved somewhat on last year. Haiti, however, rose six places on last year’s position to number five in the index.

In photos: The top ten failed states, according to the Failed States Index 2011:

Failed States: Top 10 best and worst countries in the world
1 / 10
  • 10. Ivory Coast

    (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
  • 9. Iraq

    (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
  • 8. Central African Republic

    (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
  • 7. Afghanistan

    (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
  • 6. Zimbabwe

    (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
  • 5. Haiti

    (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
  • 4. Congo (DRC)

    (AP Photo/Pete Muller)
  • 3. Sudan

    (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • 2. Chad

    (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • 1. Somalia

    (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)


Ireland secured the rank of 171 out of 177, down from last year’s position of 173, after the state was given poor scores under the sections “uneven economic development” and “poverty, sharp or severe economic decline”.

At the bottom of the rankings, the ten least-failed states are listed in the index as:

  1. Finland
  2. Norway
  3. Sweden
  4. Switzerland
  5. Denmark
  6. New Zealand
  7. Ireland
  8. Luxembourg
  9. Austria
  10. Canada

Read the 2011 Failed States Index in full >

Read next: