Last year, 32,658 lives were lost to terrorism, the highest number ever recorded. The more than 32,000 deaths is a remarkable 80% increase from 2013 – a sorry sign of just how bloody our world has become.
The Islamic State, which just claimed responsibility for attacks on Paris and Beirut, and the downing of the Russian plane in Egypt, has overtaken the Taliban to be the deadliest terrorist group. The IS killed more than 20,000 people last year. French President Francois Hollande has recently called IS “the biggest terrorist factory the world has ever known.”
A recent report from the Institute For Economics and Peace also calculates that the world is paying the highest price for terrorism since the 2001 9/11 attack on America. In 2014, acts of terror cost the world $52.9 billion — and that compares with $51.51 billion in the aftermath of Sept. 11th. The report states: “Despite being highly concentrated in five countries, terrorism is spreading, with more countries recording attacks and deaths.”
Key Facts from this report include:
- Deaths from terrorism increased 80% last year to the highest level ever, with 32,658 people killed, compared to 18,111 in 2013.
- Boko Haram and ISIL were jointly responsible for 51% of all claimed global fatalities in 2014.
- 78% of all deaths and 57% of all attacks occurred in just five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.
- Iraq continues to be the country most impacted by terrorism with 9,929 terrorist fatalities the highest ever recorded in a single country.
- Nigeria experienced the largest increase in terrorist activity with 7,512 deaths in 2014, an increase of over 300% since 2013.
- The global economic cost of terrorism reached an all-time peak at US$52.9 billion.
- Since 2000 there have been over 61,000 terrorist attacks, killing more than 140,000 people.
- Thirteen times as many people are killed globally by homicides than die in terrorist attacks.
The report also noted that about 70 percent of deaths from terrorism in western countries between 2006-2014 were the product of unaffiliated lone wolves motivated by their anti-government sentiments or opposition to immigration, gay rights, or abortion. On this point, the report states:
“The majority of deaths from terrorism do not occur in the West. Excluding the September 11 attack, only 0.5% of deaths from terrorism have occurred in the West since 2000. Including September 11, the percentage reaches 2.6.
“Of the attacks that do occur, lone wolf attackers are the main perpetrators, causing 70% of all deaths in the West over the past 10 years. It is important to note that political extremism, not Islamic fundamentalism is the main driver of terrorism in Western countries.”
2014 was the costliest year for terrorism since 9/11
Last year’s price tag on world-wide terrorism was nearly 53 billion dollars. The Institute For Economics calculates the dollar figure on terrorism as the value of property damage – for example, a suicide bombing in a building – and the cost of death and injury, which includes medical care costs and lost earnings.
Note that this figure does not take into account the increased number of security guards, higher insurance premiums, or city gridlock in the aftermath of an assault. So, in the case of last year’s attack in Ottawa, it would not factor the security costs of the day’s response efforts or the additional costs since of the beefed-up police and security measures in the Nation’s Capital.
The Institute For Economics and Peace has developed a great infographic that is available for download here: