Freedom Index by Country 2022

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Human freedom is an inherently valuable social concept that recognizes the dignity of individuals. Human freedom enables and empowers people to do as they please, free from constraints or punishments, so long as it does not impinge upon the freedom of another. Human freedom plays a huge role in human progress.

The Human Freedom Index and its purpose

The Human Freedom Index is an annual report that evaluates the state of human freedom in 165 countries and territories around the world, representing 98.1 percent of the human population as of 2021. The HFI is a broadly comprehensive measure that encompasses both personal and economic freedom, then merges the two into a single value titled simply "human freedom." The Human Freedom Index is co-published by the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute, and the Liberales Institut at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. The countries with the highest Human Freedom Index scores are widely considered to be among (the freest countries in the world).

The 2021 Human Freedom Index report is the most comprehensive empirical measure of freedom yet created. It compares and combines 82 different indicators to quantify the degree of freedom in 165 countries and territories during 2019, the most recent year for which sufficient data are available. Each of the 82 indicators examined fits into one of 12 meta-categories.

The 12 Categories of the Human Freedom Index:

  • Rule of Law
  • Security and Safety
  • Movement
  • Religion
  • Association, Assembly, and Civil Society
  • Expression and Information
  • Identity and Relationships
  • Size of Government
  • Legal System and Property Rights
  • Access to Sound Money
  • Freedom to Trade Internationally
  • Regulation

The Human Freedom Index gives each country a score from 0 to 10, wherein a score of 10 represents the most freedom and 0 represents no freedom at all, in each of the 82 indicators. These scores are carefully weighted and combined to determine the values for personal freedom and economic freedom, then those two values are averaged to determine each country’s ultimate human freedom index score.

Personal freedom and economic freedom compared

Personal freedom and economic freedom are made up of two sets of distinct, but closely intertwined indicators. Personal freedom involves indicators such as the fairness of the laws, personal safety, freedom of movement and assembly, freedom of religion, freedom to run for political office, freedom of the press, freedom of speech and expression, and freedom to pursue same-sex relationships or obtain a divorce.

In comparison, economic freedom observes indicators such as the size of the government and degree of overbearance it imposes, tax and interest rates, the impartiality of the courts and integrity of the legal system, freedom to participate in financial markets and/or trade internationally, minimum wage, the cost of starting a business, the presence or absence of conscription (obligatory government work), and general freedom to prosper financially without intervention from the government or economic authority.

Top 10 Countries with the Highest Human Freedom Indexes (2021):

  1. Switzerland — 9.11
  2. New Zealand — 9.01
  3. Denmark — 8.98
  4. Estonia — 8.91
  5. Ireland — 8.90
  6. Canada — 8.85
  7. Finland — 8.85
  8. Australia — 8.84
  9. Sweden — 8.83
  10. Luxembourg — 8.80

In the 2021 edition of the Human Freedom Index, the average human freedom score was 7.12. Compared to the levels in 2008, the overall freedom of the countries included has decreased by 0.01. The report finds a strong relationship between human freedom and democracy. The regions with the highest levels of freedom are North America, Western Europe, and East Asia. The lowest levels of freedom are in the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. Women are particularly unprotected in these regions, where female-specific freedoms are more likely to be repressed.

Top 10 Countries with the Lowest Human Freedom Indexes (2021):

  1. Syria — 3.66
  2. Venezuela — 4.03
  3. Yemen — 4.08
  4. Sudan — 4.48
  5. Egypt — 4.49
  6. Iran — 4.53
  7. Somalia — 4.93
  8. Burundi — 5.02 (tie)
  9. Iraq — 5.02 (tie)
  10. Libya — 5.05

The quartiles of human freedom

The Human Freedom Index further groups each country into one of four quartiles, with the first quartile being the freest and the fourth quartile being the least free. According to the data analyzed for the 2021 report, only 14.6 percent of people live in the first quartile, which offers the greatest amount of personal, economic, and human freedom. Conversely, a full 40.3 percent live in the fourth quartile, which enjoys the lowest degree of personal, economic, and human freedom. What's more, those who live in the first quartile enjoyed a per-capita income of $48,748. This compared quite favorably to the much lower $11,259 average income in the fourth quartile.

Freedom Index by Country 2022

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Freedom Index by Country 2022

Country Human Freedom Score HF Rank Personal Freedom Economic Freedom Quartile
Switzerland9.1119.568.481
New Zealand9.0129.338.561
Denmark8.9839.568.171
Estonia8.9149.488.111
Ireland8.959.48.211
Canada8.8569.48.061
Finland8.8569.527.921
Australia8.8489.38.21
Sweden8.8399.637.721
Luxembourg8.8109.487.841
Netherlands8.78119.367.861
Iceland8.77129.47.91
Norway8.76139.57.721
United Kingdom8.75149.198.151
United States8.73159.098.241
Japan8.73159.267.981
Germany8.73159.327.911
Portugal8.69189.337.791
Taiwan8.68199.149.021
Lithuania8.68199.018.211
Austria8.67219.257.861
Latvia8.67219.187.941
Belgium8.61239.317.621
Czech Republic8.61239.147.871
Spain8.56259.047.891
Italy8.49269.127.611
Malta8.45278.758.031
Chile8.44288.867.851
Cyprus8.42298.87.891
Hong Kong8.41308.068.911
South Korea8.39318.947.611
Slovenia8.37329.047.431
Uruguay8.36339.087.361
France8.34348.917.551
Romania8.33358.657.881
Costa Rica8.25378.667.681
Bahamas8.22388.697.561
Slovakia8.21398.637.611
Georgia8.2408.158.261
Armenia8.2408.328.031
Croatia8.16428.737.362
Albania8.14438.387.812
Panama8.12448.357.792
Bulgaria8.08458.37.762
Mauritius8.07468.018.162
Mongolia8478.457.382
Singapore7.98487.398.812
Poland7.96498.57.22
Peru7.93508.037.782
Barbados7.92518.656.912
Jamaica7.91528.067.712
Botswana7.9538.17.622
Dominican Republic7.88548.097.582
Montenegro7.88548.057.642
Greece7.86568.377.152
Seychelles7.84577.997.632
North Macedonia7.75588.187.132
Hungary7.73597.887.532
Trinidad and Tobago7.7608.017.272
Moldova7.68617.957.32
Israel7.66627.697.632
Suriname7.64638.636.142
Belize7.64638.316.72
Guatemala7.63657.517.82
Namibia7.56668.126.762
Serbia7.54677.777.222
Paraguay7.54677.787.222
Bosnia and Herzegovina7.54678.036.862
Ghana7.49708.076.692
Guyana7.49708.066.522
Ecuador7.43727.966.682
El Salvador7.39737.397.392
Argentina7.38748.735.52
Fiji7.36757.96.542
Benin7.32767.836.622
South Africa7.3777.536.972
Brazil7.22787.646.632
Timor Leste7.22787.976.192
Haiti7.21807.716.512
Kyrgyzstan7.18817.187.172
Malaysia7.17826.927.523
Papua New Guinea7.17827.726.233
Nepal7.12847.416.713
Indonesia7.1856.987.263
Honduras7.09866.977.263
Senegal7.07877.666.253
Madagascar7.02887.516.333
Colombia7.01897.146.823
Lesotho7.01897.326.573
Malawi6.99917.725.963
Bolivia6.94927.416.283
Mexico6.92936.727.23
Jordan6.91946.427.593
Ivory Coast6.9957.426.183
Thailand6.89966.96.873
Gambia6.88976.777.043
Ukraine6.86987.336.23
Bhutan6.86986.96.823
Burkina Faso6.851007.446.043
Philippines6.831016.427.423
Zambia6.821026.627.093
Liberia6.811037.146.353
Mozambique6.81047.276.153
Gabon6.81047.515.83
Kazakhstan6.771066.247.523
Lebanon6.761086.766.763
Kenya6.731096.596.943
Belarus6.731096.626.883
Sierra Leone6.71117.126.153
Sri Lanka6.581126.446.783
Togo6.51136.66.353
Tanzania6.481146.296.753
Cambodia6.471155.947.223
Tunisia6.461166.825.973
Brunei6.461165.877.33
Niger6.411186.785.973
India6.391196.26.663
Rwanda6.361205.657.353
Kuwait6.341216.076.723
Uganda6.321225.547.423
Nigeria6.281235.796.973
Mali6.251246.555.834
Nicaragua6.241255.677.044
Russia6.231265.96.74
Azerbaijan6.161275.966.444
Qatar6.151285.487.094
Angola6.091296.55.54
Comoros6.071305.736.554
United Arab Emirates6.061315.27.284
Ethiopia5.9513265.874
Oman5.921335.366.694
Vietnam5.91345.636.264
Morocco5.91345.336.694
Laos5.851365.36.64
Djibouti5.841375.246.684
Guinea5.821385.965.624
Turkey5.791395.256.544
Eswatini5.791395.66.054
Myanmar5.781415.725.944
Bangladesh5.751425.526.054
Mauritania5.731435.186.494
Bahrain5.731434.597.334
Pakistan5.631455.415.954
Cameroon5.631455.475.864
DR Congo5.621475.815.364
Central African Republic5.621475.815.364
Zimbabwe5.61496.074.944
China5.571504.876.534
Chad5.571505.545.64
Republic of the Congo5.551525.885.084
Tajikistan5.521534.836.54
Algeria5.261545.514.94
Saudi Arabia5.121553.896.854
Libya5.051565.174.794
Iraq5.021574.495.744
Burundi5.021574.575.654
Somalia4.931593.686.674
Iran4.531604.145.064
Egypt4.491613.635.684
Sudan4.481624.744.194
Yemen4.081633.115.454
Venezuela4.031644.92.834
Syria3.661652.65.194

Freedom Index by Country 2022

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