Dr. Bassem Ali Khreisan / Professor at the College of Political Science – University of Baghdad.

The Human Freedom Index presents the state of human freedom in the world based on a broad measure that encompasses personal, civil, and economic freedom. Human freedom is a social concept that recognizes the dignity of individuals and is defined here as negative liberty or the absence of coercive constraint. Because freedom is inherently valuable and plays a role in human progress, it is worth measuring carefully. The Human Freedom Index is a resource that can help to more objectively observe relationships between freedom and other social and economic phenomena, as well as how the various dimensions of freedom interact with one another. The report is co-published by the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute.

This seventh annual index uses 82 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas (Rule of law, Security and safety, Movement, Religion, Association, assembly, and civil society, Expression and information, Relationships, Size of government, Legal system and property rights, Sound Money, Freedom to trade internationally, Regulation)

The HFI is the most comprehensive freedom index so far created for a globally meaningful set of countries and jurisdictions representing 98.1 percent of the world’s population. The HFI covers 165 jurisdictions for 2019, the most recent year for which sufficient data are available. The index ranks jurisdictions beginning in 2008, the earliest year for which a robust enough index could be produced. On a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 represents more freedom.

The average human freedom rating for 165 jurisdictions in 2019 was 7.12. Among the 162 jurisdictions for which we have data for 2018 and 2019, the overall level of freedom (weighing all jurisdictions equally) remained unchanged. Comparing all the jurisdictions for which we have the same data available since 2008, the level of global freedom has decreased slightly (−0.01), 83% of the global population lives in jurisdictions that have seen a fall in human freedom since 2008. That includes decreases in overall freedom in the 10 most populous countries in the world. Only 17 percent of the global population lives in countries that have seen increases in freedom over the same time period.

The countries that took the top 10 places, in order, were Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Canada, Finland, Australia, Sweden, and Luxembourg.