Fragile States Index

Fragile States according to the "Fragile States Index", 2005–2013
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The Fragile States Index (FSI; formerly the Failed States Index) is an annual report published by the United States think tank the Fund for Peace and the American magazine Foreign Policy from 2005 to 2018, then by The New Humanitarian since 2019[1]. The list aims to assess states' vulnerability to conflict or collapse, ranking all sovereign states with membership in the United Nations where there is enough data available for analysis.[2] Taiwan, the Palestinian Territories, Northern Cyprus, Kosovo and Western Sahara are not ranked, despite being recognized as sovereign by one or more other nations. Ranking is based on the sum of scores for 12 indicators (see below). Each indicator is scored on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the lowest intensity (most stable) and 10 being the highest intensity (least stable), creating a scale spanning 0−120.[2]


The index's ranks are based on twelve indicators of state vulnerability, grouped by category: Cohesion, Economic, Political, Social.[3]

Scores are obtained via a process involving content analysis, quantitative data, and qualitative review. In the content analysis phase, millions of documents from over 100,000 English-language or translated sources (social media are excluded)[4] are scanned and filtered through the Fund for Peace's Conflict Assessment Systems Tool (CAST), which utilizes specific filters and search parameters to sort data based on Boolean phrases linked to indicators, and assigns scores based on algorithms.[5] Following CAST analysis, quantitative data from sources such as the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), World Factbook, Transparency International, World Bank, and Freedom House are incorporated, which then leads to the final phase of qualitative reviews of each indicator for each country.[4]

Considered together in the index, the indicators are a way of assessing a state's vulnerability to collapse or conflict, ranking states on a spectrum of categories labeled sustainable, stable, warning, and alert. Within each bracket, scores are also subdivided by severity. The score breakdown[6] is as follows:

Category FSI score* Brackets (2016) 2015–2016 color 2005–2014 color
Alert 90.0–120.0 Very high: 110+

High: 100–109.9

Alert: 90–99.9

Red Red
Warning 60.0–89.9 High: 80–89.9

Warning: 70–79.9

Low: 60–69.9

Yellow-Orange Orange
Stable 30.0–59.9 Less stable: 50–59.9

Stable: 40–49.9

More stable: 30–39.9

Green Yellow
Sustainable 0.0–29.9 Sustainable: 20–29.9

Very sustainable: 0–19.9

Blue Green
Not assessed N/A Light gray Light gray

All countries in the top three categories display features that make their societies and institutions vulnerable to failure. However, the FSI is not intended as a tool to predict when states may experience violence or collapse, as it does not measure direction or pace of change. It is possible for a state sorted into the 'stable' zone to be deteriorating at a faster rate than those in the more fragile 'warning' or 'alert' zones, and could experience violence sooner. Conversely, states in the red zone, though fragile, may exhibit positive signs of recovery or be deteriorating slowly, giving them time to adopt mitigating strategies.[6]