Study: U.S. at 'Low' Risk of Terror Attack

The United States is actually relatively safe, study says.


Americans mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon.


In an era of terrorist plots and WMD proliferation, this news may come as a slight relief: Among countries with the highest risk of terrorist attacks, the United States ranks "relatively low," according to a new study.

The University of Maryland collected data on 104,000 instances of terrorism in 158 nations, and ranked the likelihood of each country witnessing a terrorist attack within its borders.

Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan earn the top positions. The U.S. slides in at No. 41.

"In global terms, this is a relatively low level of activity," according to the study, first reported by The Washington Times .

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"North America is the least-likely region to be involved in a terrorist attack, though this is not the general impression among many of its residents," says Steve Killelea with the Institute for Economics and Peace, which published the study using statistics and analysis from the University of Maryland's National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism .

"The fatality rate in the U.S. is 19 times lower than Western Europe," he tells the Times. "Still, the level of terrorism elsewhere is too high. We're hoping the index can prompt a practical debate about the future of terrorism and some appropriate policy responses."

Major U.S. allies land much higher on the list. Britain is ranked 28th, behind Turkey and Israel, which are 19th and 20th, respectively. The Philippines just squeaks into the top 10, right behind Russia at No. 9.

Many within the top 20 have seen some sort of armed conflict involving terrorist groups on their soil, including Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, as well as warring Somalia at No. 6, Nigeria at No. 7, and Sudan at No. 11.

Germany and France are even safer than the U.S., coming in at 62nd and 63rd, respectively.

Here is the complete list of the top 10:

1) Iraq

2) Pakistan

3) Afghanistan

4) India

5) Yemen

6) Somalia

7) Nigeria

8) Thailand

9) Russia


Learn more at, where the study is published.

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Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at