While 70 countries improved their human freedom ranking in the past year, Iran remained in the 154th place among the 162 countries in the Human Freedom Index (HFI). The index which measures personal, civil and economic freedom at a global level, covers areas such as rule of law, security and safety, size of government, property rights, religion, civil society and expression.
The HFI also found a strong relationship between human freedom and democracy and said Hong Kong is an outlier in this regard.
The index which is the most comprehensive freedom index so far created for a globally meaningful set of countries covers 162 countries for 2017, the most recent year for which sufficient data are available.
In the latest report New Zealand has replaced Switzerland which is now in the second place, followed by Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Luxemburg (tied in 6th place), Finland and Germany (tied in 8th place), and Ireland.
Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States rank 11, 14 and 15 in the index, respectively and Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran rank 114, 149 and 154. Egypt, Venezuela and Syria are the lowest in the index, ranking 157, 161 and 162, respectively.
The rankings in the index indicate that the regions with the highest levels of freedom are North America, Western Europe and East Asia while the worst are the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia where women specific freedoms are the lowest, too.
The index which was prepared by the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute, and the Liberales Institute at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, rates countries on a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 represents more freedom.
The average human freedom rating for 162 countries in 2017 was 6.89. Iran has been given a rating of 5.1 out of 10.
“The findings in the Human Freedom Index suggest that freedom plays an important role in human well-being, and they offer opportunities for further research into the complex ways in which freedom influences, and can be influenced by, political regimes, economic development, and the whole range of indicators of human well-being,” the report says.
According to the report countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significantly higher average per capita income ($40,171) than those in other quartiles; the average per capita income in the least-free quartile is $15,721.