Corruption is a term used to describe dishonest or fraudulent behavior by someone in power. When applied on a national scale, "corruption" refers to government leaders who abuse their power, take bribes, or commit fraud or other disreputable acts to increase their own wealth and/or power instead of helping the people they are meant to serve. Corruption is an unfortunate reality in many nations around the world, especially low-income countries, developing countries, and least developed countries, which have fewer checks and balances on their rulers' powers. While there is no single data indicator that directly measures corruption in a nation, many indicators offer indirect-but-accurate evidence of the presence or absence of corruption.
Corruption Perceptions Index
One of the most comprehensive and trusted measures of corruption around the world is the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which is published annually by Transparency International. The 2021 CPI gave 180 countries a score of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean) based upon their perceived levels of public sector corruption. As in previous years, more than two-thirds of the world's countries scored below 50 in the 2021 rankings, resulting in an average score of 43 for the tenth year in a row. The top ten least corrupt appear below, followed by the full list further down the page.
Top 10 Least Corrupt Countries in the World (CPI 2021)
The list of least corrupt countries often includes many of the same countries as would a list of the most developed or high income countries. On the other end of the spectrum are the most corrupt countries in the world, such as South Sudan, Syria, Somalia, and Venezuela. As previously mentioned, these tend to also be low-income countries, developing countries, or least developed countries.