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The Most and Least Free Countries in the World by Freedom House, 2014

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World Freedom Rankings by Freedom House

According to its website, Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world. Freedom House supports democratic change, monitors freedom, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Freedom House was founded in 1941 by prominent Americans concerned with growing threats to peace and democracy. As such Freedom House has been a vigorous proponent of democratic values and a steadfast opponent of dictatorships of the far left and the far right.   Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie served as Freedom House’s first honorary co-chairpersons.

   

Throughout its history, Freedom House has opposed tyranny around the world, including dictatorships in Latin America, apartheid in South Africa, Soviet domination of Central and Eastern Europe, and religiously-based totalitarian regimes such as those governing Sudan, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Freedom House has promoted the growth of freedom by encouraging U.S. policymakers, international institutions, and the governments of established democracies to adopt policies that advance human rights and democracy around the world.  At the same time, it provides support to individuals working in the world's young democracies to overcome debilitating legacies of tyranny, dictatorship, and political repression; as well as to activists working in repressive societies to bring about greater freedom and openness.

Freedom House translates the intangible values of freedom into a strong tangible impact by combining analysis, advocacy and action.

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Freedom House's Freedom Index

This ranking by Freedom House quantifies political freedom and civil liberties into a single combined index on each sovereign country's level of freedom and liberty. The initials "PR" and "CL" stand for Political Rights and Civil Liberties, respectively. The number 1 represents the most free countries and the number 7 represents the least free. Several countries fall in the continuum in between. The freedom ratings show an overall judgment based on survey results. 

 

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Freedom House's Survey

Freedom House’s most important publication is Freedom in the World which is a comparative assessment of global political rights and civil liberties. Published annually since 1972, the Freedom of the World survey collects data from 193 countries and 15 related and disputed territories. The results are published and used by policymakers, the media, international corporations, civic activists, and human rights defenders to monitor trends in democracy and track improvements and setbacks in freedom worldwide. 

The Most Free Countries in the World according to Freedom House

From their research Freedom House determined which countries of the world could be considered the most and least free in terms of political freedom and civil liberties. In all, 48 countries rated a "1" in both political freedom and civil liberties in the 2014 survey, indicating the most free societies in the world. The 48 nations ranked highest by Freedom House included:

  1. Andorra
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Bahamas
  5. Barbados
  6. Belgium
  7. Canada
  8. Cape Verde
  9. Chile
  10. Costa Rica
  11. Cyprus
  12. Czech Republic
  13. Denmark
  14. Dominca
  15. Estonia
  16. Finland
  17. France
  18. Germany
  19. Iceland
  20. Ireland
  21. Italy
  22. Kiribati
  23. Liechtenstein
  24. Lithuania
  25. Luxembourg
  26. Malta
  27. Marshall Islands
  28. Micronesia
  29. Nauru
  30. Netherlands
  31. New Zealand
  32. Norway
  33. Palau
  34. Poland
  35. Portugal
  36. Saint Kitts and Nevis
  37. Saint Lucia
  38. Saint Vincent and Grenadines
  39. San Marino
  40. Slovakia
  41. Slovenia
  42. Spain
  43. Sweden
  44. Switzerland
  45. Tuvalu
  46. United Kingdom
  47. United States
  48. Uruguay

Countries Rated the Least Free by Freedom House

A "7" rating under Freedom House's system indicates that a nation is relatively "not free." In the 2014 report, 11 countries received "7" in both political freedom and civil liberties. Those eight countries deemed to be the least free societies included:

  1. Central African Republic
  2. Equatorial Guinea
  3. Eritrea
  4. Libya
  5. North Korea
  6. Saudi Arabia
  7. Somalia
  8. Sudan
  9. Syria
  10. Turkmenistan
  11. Uzbekistan

Five other countries received at least one 7 and one 6 in the two sections of the freedom index; they included:

  1. Belarus
  2. China
  3. Chad
  4. Cuba
  5. Laos

Vietnam and Swaziland were rated at the lowest level for political freedom.

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Comments

Tonie Cook from USA on February 12, 2015:

It does not surprise me that the UK and the US are near the bottom of the 'Top 50 Most Free List." Once upon a time, the US was at the top. Over the past 25 years, our country has seen many a freedom shot down behind closed doors in order to placate a PAC, political party, or foreign concern. Now the current regime wants to control the internet, tahe wilderness, the weather, health care, home care, medicine, food and water under the guise of 'freedom.' Thank you for the enlightenment. I was curious about where the US placed in all this, and the bottom of the "Top 50" is not good.

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on March 22, 2014:

Hendrika, you are sooo right. In many cases, we enslave ourselves. Viktor Frankl understood that we all have the choice to live as free no matter our surrounding circumstances.

Hendrika from Pretoria, South Africa on March 20, 2014:

I think freedom will always be a problem in the world. Political freedom can be very relative if it does not make any difference in the lives of people. Sometimes with all the "freedom" there are so many any factors still imprisoning them.

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on October 30, 2013:

Yes that Way is the Truth and the Life as well.

Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on October 30, 2013:

There is a "Way" to liberate everybody but it won't likely change the government of the country you live in. It'll just change your heart and mind so that you'll realize you were born free and you'll die free. Whatever happens in between, you'll still be free!

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on October 14, 2013:

Why is the list alphabetical? Because all the countries in the list received the same score from Freedom House. In the list of most free countries, all 49 countries received the best possible score in both aspects of the measuring scale "political freedom" and "civil liberties." Also, by listing them alphabetically, we do not attempt to prejudice the findings by placing our favored nation(s) at the top of the list.

roy ryan on October 12, 2013:

what a coincidence....the list is alphabetical

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on August 26, 2013:

Yes sir, MRamirez, that is the way to true heaven on earth.

MRamirez from Gainesville on August 26, 2013:

ecoggins, you are so right about it, freedom starts in every human heart and is so sublime that God respects it!! If every person could think more in the common welfare than in his own, our entire world would be better, then we would see less abuse, poverty and more happiness

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on August 26, 2013:

MRamirez, that is an excellent question. Not everywhere in every country, but sadly it does happen in various parts of every country. Admittedly it even happens from time to time on the personal level in my own heart. The state of our world gives clear evidence that human beings often act selfishly in defense of their own petty agendas. In doing so, we step on others rather than promote the welfare of all. The most free society will be the one in which every man, woman, and child from every ethnic group and every social strata is allowed equal opportunity to thrive at their optimal level.

MRamirez from Gainesville on August 26, 2013:

Somebody said that "our rights end where the other's start", does this really happen in every country?

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on August 26, 2013:

Humbly and respectfully, apparently you are concerned or you would not have commented in the first place. Even so, as you say there is good and bad in every society and some regions of a country (including the USA) where certain citizens are less free than others. So let us start over in terms of India. So you would say the former caste system has been completely abolished everywhere and there is complete freedom of movement and expression (if a person has the means) in every part of the country. You would also say that it is completely appropriate for a person of a lower caste to go up and interact freely with a person from a higher caste as if they are equals.

pramodgokhale from Pune( India) on August 26, 2013:

Sir,

India is not concern what freedom house decides or it's rankings, we have our own way to build democratic society, we do not carry baggage of century old differences and most successful NON-WESTERN-DEMOCRACY functioning and plural India is going strong due to democracy and freedom of expression.

thank you pramodgokhale

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on August 25, 2013:

pramodgokhale, thank you again for your input and historical insight.

Just to let you know, the most recent version of the Freedom House Report also classified India as "Free" as opposed to "Partly Free" and "Not Free."

pramodgokhale from Pune( India) on August 25, 2013:

Sir,

Christians in our country , by and large were converted by offering jobs or other means, in north-east of India tribal population was converted during British regime by force, Converted people are more faithful than original ,in many parts of the world. In north-east agitation against Indian government launched by missionaries mostly American and European during 60s and they want to break this part of India, Nehru ,our first prime minister was wise person and he settled all issues by peaceful negotiations. That was a plot and machinations of British and Americans and want to destabilize India.

Nehru promoted democracy despite many flaws it is functioning well.

I am not a fan of extreme secularism or that cosmopolitan world, I love my country and faith on my religion that is Hinduism.

In many countries conversion is not permitted, Spain was Muslim European country long back but , reconverted to Christianity after crusades, so that is right and forceful conversion in India it is not crime or that is legitimate right of Christian world.

These discussion has no end and finally reaches controversies which i do not want.

pramodgokhale

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on August 25, 2013:

Thank you pramodgokhale for your input. I appreciate it very much.

No doubt sadly atrocities were perpetrated against the people of India by British Imperialists and the USA has often been duplicitous in its backing of regimes friendly to its interests and not to its own people.

However, sir, the persecution of Christians in certain regions of India is far from fabrication. Perhaps, it has subsided in the past five years and maybe it does not happen in your neighborhood. But, it does continue to happen in certain parts of the country.

pramodgokhale from Pune( India) on August 24, 2013:

Sir,

I found again Western bias against India, India is the world largest democracy and in plural from stood on three pillars, Democracy, Secularism,Judiciary. There is freedom of expression in India otherwise , we could not interact. We change our government so new government comes in and defeated regimes hands over to new regimes.

You mentioned somewhere that one Christian fellow was beaten, these are stories ,full fabrication, minorities in India are safe and enjoying democratic rights. West has her jaundiced eyes where they found always wrong with India, British imperialist massacred Indians and looted and plundered our wealth,. I think democracy confined to their country only. USA funded and armed worst dictators on the earth, especially in their world nations.

I close it here when you defend your criterion and grading free countries and least countries

thank you pramod gokhale

Jessie Freeman from San Diego, California on June 10, 2013:

"The U.S. has done more to help liberate people around the world than any other country in history." Dave, you and I have a very different view on "liberating" people. Our country doesn't liberate anyone, we support regime changes, we destabilize areas of the world who don't agree to our demands, and put different controlling powers in place that agree to give us what we want from that area.

Our terrorist enemies are people whom we have given weapons to, people we've supported and shaken hands with, look at Mexico with the weapons we've given them, we gave aid to empower Gaddafi, our foreign policy hides behind "bringing democracy" to others, but it's bullshit, our goals have nothing to do with helping anyone else, it has to do with getting what we want from those less capable of defending themselves. We want their oil, and we'll put anyone in charge who will agree to sell it to us.

Kurvey1 on January 25, 2013:

The list is in alphabetical order ------

wba108@yahoo.com from upstate, NY on April 11, 2012:

This is an eye opening analysis but I would question rating that the US received. I would have factored in economic freedom into the equation because the other freedoms don't mean much if your consigned to a life of poverty. Also without financial resources, your participation in a democratic government is alot less effective, generally speaking! If you don't have a system of government that protects private property and prevent government intrusion, there will be an uncertainty created because a government that allows all these freedoms can later remove them at will !

Georgelower on March 06, 2012:

Ecogens, great hub! I'm a little depressed that the US is not higher on the list. I guess it gives us something to strive for as a nation. I do agree with Dave S. that the US has done more to promote freedom. It's a shame we don't practice it more ourselves.

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on January 19, 2012:

MG Singh, Thank you for your insights. You definitely point out some facts I did not know. I apologize for not knowing more. It is great to hear that those from untouchable and backward caste as you call it have risen high in the political spectrum. That is magnificent. As far as persecution of Christians I know for certain that you are not correct. Maybe it is not rampant, but sadly it does go on. No doubt you are right about continued discrimination against African Americans in the USA. I almost made to India and would certainly like to visit some day. I lived in Cambodia for six years and was on my way to India for a week, when I was stopped in Thailand because I failed to get my Visa in advance.

MG Singh from UAE on January 19, 2012:

Dear Friend, an untouchable Dr Ambedkar was the man who drafted the Indian constitution. The last President of India Mr Narayan was a Backward Caste. You need to brush up your facts. An untouchable is the Chief Minister of the largest state in India , Utter Pradesh. There is no violence against Christians , the opposition is only against forcible conversion by inducement to Christianity. With this sort of thinking one may well conclude that that the Blacks are discriminated in USA, that is the reason for a large number of them converting to Islam. Come to India my friend, like I often visit the USA and see. Knowledge is power and sitting with preconceived comments leads no where.

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on January 18, 2012:

The report is compiled by Freedom House and the criteria is listed above. India may seem to be a democracy, but I have Christian friends who have been beaten, lost their businesses, and kidnapped. Can an untouchable become prime minister? When an untouchable can become prime minister then India will be truly free.

MG Singh from UAE on January 17, 2012:

I don't know how accurate this list is as you have missed out India, which is the largest democracy in the world

Josak from variable on January 14, 2012:

Columbia has an internal revolution going on this hardly makes it more or less free FARC is a left wing revolutionary movement, not a government it really has no bearing, having said that the Colombian government has been oppressive and militaristic which is probably why it doesn't feature.

ecoggins (author) from Corona, California on December 08, 2011:

MRamirez, Thank you for your insights concerning Colombia. I believe you when you say that Colombia is a beautiful country. I hope you get your wish and one day soon Colombia will be listed among the most "free" countries.

MRamirez from Gainesville on December 08, 2011:

I don't see Colombia in any list, I would like it to be listed in the most "free" countries, but how can I say it is, when there are so many kidnappings every year. On December 6th, a lot of people went to a massive protest all over our Country against this terrible act. For example, 13 years ago the guerilla FARC, got more than 18 policemen, kidnapped them and there are still 12 of them captive, 4 of them were killed one week ago. Anyway, Colombia is a beautiful country with more good people than bad people.

dusy7969 from San Diego, California on February 05, 2011:

So far, we've uncovered some interesting facts about The Most and Least Free Countries in the World by Freedom House. You may decide that the following information is even more interesting.

Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on September 05, 2010:

Thank you for writing about Freedom House! I have never heard of this group. I have always advocated for Social Justice, and this is wonderful. Thanks again.

Dave Sibole from Leesburg, Oh on August 30, 2010:

Interesting. The U.S. has done more to help liberate people around the world than any other country in history. The Muslims and our president down play it. Shame on them. Great Hub eccogins.

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