FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What do the Colors and Categories in the Index and on the Map Signify?

 
 
The rank order of the states is based on the total scores of the 12 indicators. For each indicator, the ratings are placed on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the lowest intensity (most stable) and 10 being the highest intensity (least stable). The total score is the sum of the 12 indicators and is on a scale of 0-120. For easy reference, the 178 countries are divided into four quarters that are in turn each divided into ten-point tiers. Note that FFP changed its color coding in 2015 to better recognize that many countries are indeed stable and sustainable, with "cooler" colors applied to countries that score in the lower half of the points scale.
 
From 2015 Onwards

  • Countries that score between 90.0 and 120.0 are classified in the red "Alert" category;
  • Countries that score between 60.0 and 89.9 are classified in the yellow-orange "Warning" category;
  • Countries that score between 30.0 and 59.9 are classified in the green "Stable" category;
  • Countries that score between 0.0 and 29.9 are classified in the blue "Sustainable" category;
  • Countries that are not assessed are categorized as Non-Applicable and a colored light grey.

 
Between 2005 and 2014

  • Countries that score between 90.1 and 120.0 are classified in the red "Alert" category;
  • Countries that score between 60.1 and 90.0 are classified in the orange "Warning" category;
  • Countries that score between 30.1 and 60.0 are classified in the yellow "Stable" category;
  • Countries that score between 0.1 and 30.0 are classified in the green "Sustainable" category;
  • Countries that are not assessed are categorized as Non-Applicable and a colored light grey.

 
It is important to note that these ratings do not necessarily forecast when states may experience violence or collapse. Rather, they measure vulnerability to collapse or conflict. All countries in the red, orange, or yellow categories display features that make significant parts of their societies and institutions vulnerable to failure. The pace and direction of change, either positive or negative, varies. Some in the yellow zone may be failing at a faster rate than those in the more dangerous orange or red zones, and therefore could experience violence sooner. Conversely, some in the red zone, though critical, may exhibit some positive signs of recovery or be deteriorating slowly, giving them time to adopt mitigating strategies. (Further insights are available when the CAST methodology is applied over different time periods.)

Furthermore, the color ratings and the categorizations are a vague guide, but should not be relied upon too heavily. In essence, it is a method for breaking down the Index into digestible sections that provide a way of understanding the broad concepts of the findings at-a-glance. A country that scores 60.0 and another that scores 60.1 will be categorized as being in the "Stable" and "Warning" categories respectively, but in reality the difference in the overall level of pressure between them will be negligible. Any serious analysis of the drivers of pressures and instability should delve deeper into sub-indicator measures and long-term trends -- simple reliance on the color-coding of the map is not sufficient for substantive analysis.