2017 State of World Liberty Index

by Patrick Rhamey

The State of World Liberty Index was a combination of indices compiled originally in 2006 by Nick Wilson.  Since then, I've periodically updated the index.  My methodology is similar to the original with the following exceptions: I use only the civil liberties portion of Freedom House, economic liberty (Fraser/Heritage) is weighted evenly with social liberty, and the Reporters without Borders Press Freedom Scores are of equal weight to each of the Freedom House Civil Liberties sub-components.  All changes are done with the purpose of creating the most accurate relative ranking of countries by the degree of liberty (economic and social) enjoyed by the average individual within the state or territory.  Note, the ranking is not reflective of, nor does it include, political or electoral rights.  Where data is available, territories or colonies (e.g. Hong Kong) are included.

Also please note, rankings used to create the below are typically delayed by one to two years.  So they do not reflect any recent events or changes in leadership that may have occurred within the past 6-12 months.

Full Rankings are here.

2017 Liberty by Quintile.  Colors represent countries grouped by quintiles in order of blue (top 20%), green (20-40%), yellow (40-60%), orange (60-80%), and red (80-100%).

2017swl

2017 Most Free Countries:
1. New Zealand
2. Switzerland
3. Canada
3. Australia
5. Norway
5. Sweden
5. Luxembourg
5. Finland
9. Netherlands
9. Ireland

2017 Most Oppressive Countries:
1. North Korea
2. Libya
2. Syria
4. Venezuela
5. Eritrea
6. Cuba
7. Turkmenistan
8. Equatorial Guinea
9. Central African Republic
10. Iran

2017 Five Year change in Liberty.  Blue is an increase in rank by >20 and green >10 since 2013.  Orange is a fall in rank of >10 and red >20 since 2013.

2017 Greatest 5 Year Increases:
1.  Cote d'Ivoire
2. Tunisia
3. Lesotho
4. Fiji
5. Georgia
6. Malaysia
6. Sri Lanka
8. Burkina Faso
8. Belarus
10. Togo

2017 Greatest 5 Year Declines:
1. Turkey
2. Guinea
3. Honduras
3. Lebanon
5. Zambia
6. Ghana
7. Maldives
7. Bahamas
9. Djibouti
9. Barbados