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LDI score (V-Dem 2023)

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Most Conservative Countries 2024

When discussing politics or religion, the term “conservative” comes up often, but what does it mean? Put simply, conservativism is a way of thinking that seeks to maintain the status quo rather than attempting solutions that may or may not improve a situation. Conservativism is commonly considered to be the opposite of liberalism, which is more open to experimentation and the implementation of new ideas. To quote the American writer Ambrose Bierce, conservatives are "enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others." The specific form conservativism takes frequently varies from one country to the next, but in general, conservatives have traditional, often faith-based values and are resistant to changes they feel could erode those values.

A brief profile of modern conservativism

People from conservative countries or more conservative U.S. states tend to desire a smaller government with reduced regulation. They usually disprove of rapid or radical changes and hold a strong belief that traditional morality—such as that articulated in the Bible (or, in Muslim countries such as Afghanistan, the Quran)—should be preserved. As a rule, conservatives reject ideas they believe impede business, such as environmental restrictions or empowered unions, and are particularly resistant to legislation they view as intruding upon personal freedoms, such as gun control. That said, conservatives often do support regulations that address issues they regard as moral concerns, such as LGBTQ+ marriage, abortion, recreational drug use, or (in some cases) the roles and rights of women and/or minorities in society. Conservatives tend to favor lower taxes and oppose social programs, which they believe can result in excessive tax burdens and reward the undeserving.

The Top 10 Most Conservative Countries in the World - Business Insider

Country
Conservative Rank (BI 2017)
Yemen1
Mali2
Iran3
Pakistan4
Chad5
Egypt6
Saudi Arabia7
Lebanon8
Eswatini9
Ethiopia10

Conservative countries around the world

Because conservativism is an overarching values system, it impacts a vast range of government operations. However, it may not impact each aspect of government equally. For example, it is possible for a country to be conservative in regard to social issues but liberal with regard to its economy. What's more, conservatism looks different in some countries than in others. Conservativism in the United States, for instance, appears quite different from conservativism in Afghanistan, where women are oppressed and Christians are persecuted, or Eswatini, where the king has more than a dozen wives. Finally, the most conservative countries often restrict the release of information, which can make comparisons and analysis more challenging. Given these factors, there is no single definitive metric that can be used to determine whether a country's government is conservative or not. However, by combining multiple metrics, it is possible to get a much clearer measure of where a country lies on the conservative to liberal scale.

In 2017, Business Insider released a list of the 25 most conservative countries in the world, based upon data compiled by MoveHub and originally pulled from studies including the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report, the Social Progress Index, the Environmental Performance Index, and the Economist's Democracy Index. These studies evaluate countries in categories including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and gender parity, all of which tend to be suppressed in highly conservative countries. The most liberal countries in the world proved to be Iceland, Finland, and Sweden. For the most conservative, see the list below and the table further down this page.

  • The annual Democracy Report—in which is included the Liberal Democracy Index (LDI)—is a signature publication of the V-Dem (for Varieties of Democracy) Institute, which produces the largest global dataset on democracy, with more than 31 million data points spread across 202 countries from 1789 to 2022.
  • LDI scores range from 0.0 to 1.0. Lower scores indicate an absence of democracy, which is generally an indirect indicator of increased conservatism.
  • BI = Business Insider Conservatism Rankings.
  • Somaliland is an unrecognized territory in Somalia.
  • Data for Palestine includes only the West Bank and excludes Gaza Strip.

Download Table Data

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Country
LDI score (V-Dem 2023)
Conservatism Rank (VDI 2023)
Conservative Rank (BI 2017)
Denmark0.89178
Sweden0.87177
Norway0.86176
Switzerland0.85174
Estonia0.85175
Belgium0.83173
New Zealand0.83172
Finland0.82171
Costa Rica0.82170
Ireland0.82169
Germany0.81168
Australia0.81167
France0.8165
Netherlands0.8166
Spain0.79163
Czech Republic0.79164
Luxembourg0.79162
Slovakia0.78161
United Kingdom0.77160
Italy0.77159
Chile0.76157
Portugal0.76158
United States0.74154
Canada0.74155
Latvia0.74156
Japan0.73150
South Korea0.73151
Taiwan0.73153
Lithuania0.73149
Iceland0.73152
Uruguay0.72148
Slovenia0.71147
Austria0.7145
Jamaica0.7146
Trinidad and Tobago0.67143
Barbados0.67144
Seychelles0.67142
Vanuatu0.66141
Israel0.65137
Croatia0.65140
Suriname0.65138
Cape Verde0.65139
Argentina0.64136
Moldova0.64133
Cyprus0.64135
Malta0.64134
Peru0.63132
Bulgaria0.61131
Greece0.6130
South Africa0.58129
Sao Tome and Principe0.58128
Panama0.57127
Colombia0.55125
Ghana0.55124
Romania0.55126
Malawi0.54122
Senegal0.54123
Brazil0.53121
Georgia0.51120
Namibia0.51118
Timor Leste0.51119
Nepal0.511411
Ecuador0.5115
Gambia0.5117
Lesotho0.5116
Solomon Islands0.48113
Dominican Republic0.46110
Liberia0.4610915
Botswana0.46111
Armenia0.45107
Maldives0.45108
Zambia0.44105
Bhutan0.44106
Indonesia0.43104
Poland0.43103
Sierra Leone0.43101
Paraguay0.43100
Mongolia0.43102
Kenya0.4299
Sri Lanka0.419625
Albania0.4198
Montenegro0.4197
Honduras0.495
Mauritius0.3994
Niger0.3893
Papua New Guinea0.3791
Bosnia and Herzegovina0.3790
Guyana0.3792
Tanzania0.3689
Bolivia0.3588
Mexico0.3485
Hungary0.3486
Singapore0.3487
Nigeria0.328422
India0.318221
Malaysia0.3183
Benin0.38023
Kuwait0.38114
Philippines0.2979
Serbia0.2778
Fiji0.2776
Pakistan0.26734
Madagascar0.2675
Guatemala0.2672
Lebanon0.26748
Morocco0.256920
Mozambique0.2571
Jordan0.257016
Ivory Coast0.2467
Togo0.2468
Ukraine0.2364
Kyrgyzstan0.2366
Burkina Faso0.226318
Tunisia0.2262
Gabon0.2160
Guinea Bissau0.2161
Uganda0.258
Iraq0.259
Zimbabwe0.1957
Thailand0.1855
Angola0.185612
Central African Republic0.1753
Mauritania0.1754
Ethiopia0.165210
DR Congo0.1651
Mali0.15492
Haiti0.1548
El Salvador0.1550
Cameroon0.1447
Kazakhstan0.1445
Oman0.1444
Algeria0.134224
Djibouti0.1343
Egypt0.12386
Vietnam0.1241
Turkey0.123919
Rwanda0.1240
Hong Kong0.1237
Bangladesh0.113513
Laos0.1136
Libya0.1133
Republic of the Congo0.1134
Comoros0.1132
Iran0.1283
Somalia0.129
Guinea0.130
Eswatini0.1319
United Arab Emirates0.0927
Uzbekistan0.0824
Burundi0.0826
Palestine0.0825
Qatar0.0823
Russia0.0722
Sudan0.0721
Venezuela0.0616
Cambodia0.061517
South Sudan0.0618
Cuba0.0619
Azerbaijan0.0617
Bahrain0.0620
Myanmar0.0514
Tajikistan0.0513
Equatorial Guinea0.0512
China0.0410
Saudi Arabia0.0487
Yemen0.0471
Belarus0.049
Turkmenistan0.0411
Afghanistan0.036
Syria0.034
Chad0.0355
Nicaragua0.033
North Korea0.012
Eritrea0.011
showing: 174 rows

Which countries in the world are conservative?

According to Business Insider, Yemen, Mali, Iran, Pakistan and Chad are the world's most conservative countries based on freedom of the press, equality of genders, and tolerance of various religions.

Frequently Asked Questions

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