Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World is a yearly survey and report by the U.S.-based[3] and partially U.S. government funded[4] non-governmental organization Freedom House that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territories around the world.

Classification of countries according to the Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2021 survey, concerning the state of world freedom in 2020.[1]
  Free   Partly Free   Not Free
   Countries designated "electoral democracies" in Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2021 survey, covering the year 2020.[2]

Origin and use

Freedom in the World was launched in 1973 by Raymond Gastil. It produces annual scores representing the levels of political rights and civil liberties in each state and territory, on a scale from 1 (most free) to 7 (least free). Depending on the ratings, the nations are then classified as "Free", "Partly Free", or "Not Free".[5] The report is often used by researchers in order to measure democracy and correlates highly with several other measures of democracy such as the Polity data series.[6]

The Freedom House rankings are widely reported in the media and used as sources by political researchers. Their construction and use has been evaluated by critics and supporters.[7]

Country rankings

The rankings are from the Freedom in the World 2015,[8] 2016,[9] 2017,[10] 2018,[11] 2019,[12] 2020,[13] and 2021,[14] surveys, each report covering the previous year. The average of each pair of ratings on political rights and civil liberties determines the overall status of "Free" (1.0–2.5), "Partly Free" (3.0–5.0), or "Not Free" (5.5–7.0).[15]

An asterisk (*) indicates countries which are "electoral democracies". To qualify as an "electoral democracy", a state must have satisfied the following criteria:

  1. A competitive, multiparty political system;
  2. Adult suffrage for all citizens without criminal convictions (some states may further punish and subjugate people with criminal convictions by disenfranchising them from the democratic process);
  3. Regularly contested elections conducted in conditions of ballot secrecy, reasonable ballot security, and the absence of massive voter fraud that yields results that are unrepresentative of the public will; and
  4. Significant public access of major political parties to the electorate through the media and through generally open political campaigning.

An electoral democracy must have a score of 7 or more out of 12 in political rights subcategory A (Electoral Progress), an overall aggregate score of 20 in their political rights rating and an overall aggregate score of 30 in their civil liberties rating.[16]

Freedom House's term "electoral democracy" differs from "liberal democracy" in that the latter also implies the presence of a substantial array of civil liberties. In the survey, all Free countries qualify as both electoral and liberal democracies. By contrast, some Partly Free countries qualify as electoral, but not liberal, democracies.[15]

World

*: Electoral democracies (as described above), PR: Political Rights, CL: Civil Liberties
  2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Country PR CL Free PR CL Free PR CL Free PR CL Free Pts PR CL Free Pts PR CL Free Pts PR CL Free Pts
 Afghanistan66Not66Not66Not56Not 26 56Not 27 56Not 27 56Not 27
 Albania*33Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 68 33Partly 68 33Partly 67 33Partly 66
 Algeria65Not65Not65Not65Not 35 65Not 34 65Not 34 65Not 32
 Andorra*11Free11Free11Free11Free 94 11Free 94 11Free 94 11Free 93
 Angola65Not66Not66Not66Not 26 65Not 31 65Not 32 65Not 31
 Antigua and Barbuda*22Free22Free22Free22Free 8322Free 84 22Free 85 22Free 85
 Argentina*22Free22Free22Free22Free 83 22Free 84 22Free 85 22Free 84
 Armenia54Partly54Partly54Partly54Partly 44 44Partly 51 44Partly 53 44Partly 55
 Australia*11Free11Free11Free11Free 98 11Free 98 11Free 97 11Free 97
 Austria*11Free11Free11Free11Free 93 11Free 93 11Free 93 11Free 93
 Azerbaijan66Not76Not76Not76Not 12 76Not 11 76Not 10 76Not 10
 Bahamas*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9111Free 91 11Free 91 11Free 91
 Bahrain76Not76Not76Not76Not 12 76Not 12 76 Not 11 76Not 12
 Bangladesh44Partly44Partly44Partly44Partly 45 55Partly 41 55Partly 39 55Partly 39
 Barbados*11Free11Free11Free 11Free 96 11Free 96 11Free 95 11Free 95
 Belarus76Not76Not76Not66Not 21 76Not 19 76Not 19 76Not 11
 Belgium*11Free11Free11Free11Free 95 11Free 96 11Free 96 11Free 96
 Belize*12Free12Free12Free12Free 86 12Free 86 22Free 86 21Free 87
 Benin22Free22Free22Free22Free 81 22Free 79 42Partly 66 42Partly 65
 Bhutan*34Partly34Partly34Partly34Partly 55 34Partly 59 34Partly 59 24Partly 61
 Bolivia*33Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 67 33Partly 67 33Partly 63 33Partly 66
 Bosnia and Herzegovina43Partly43Partly44Partly44Partly 55 44Partly 53 44Partly 53 44Partly 53
 Botswana*32Free32Free32Free32Free 72 32Free 72 32Free 72 32Free 72
 Brazil*22Free22Free22Free22Free 78 22Free 75 22Free 75 23Free 74
 Brunei65Not65Not65Not65Not 2865Not 29 65Not 28 65Not 28
 Bulgaria*22Free22Free22Free22Free 80 22Free 80 22Free 80 22Free 78
 Burkina Faso*63Partly43Partly43Partly43Partly 60 43Partly 60 44Partly 56 44Partly 54
 Burundi65Not76Not76Not76Not 18 76Not 14 76Not 13 76Not 14
 Cambodia65Not65Not65Not65Not 30 65Not 26 75Not 25 75Not 24
 Cameroon66Not66Not66Not66Not 22 66Not 19 66Not 18 66Not 16
 Canada*11Free11Free11Free11Free 99 11Free 99 11Free 98 11Free 98
 Cape Verde*11Free11Free11Free11Free 90 11Free 90 11Free 92 11Free 92
 Central African Republic77Not77Not77Not77Not 9 77Not 9 77Not 10 77Not 9
 Chad76Not76Not76Not76Not 18 76Not 17 76Not 17 76Not 17
 Chile*11Free11Free11Free11Free 94 11Free 94 12Free 90 11Free 93
 China76Not76Not76Not76Not 14 76Not 11 76Not 10 76Not 9
 Colombia*34Partly34Partly33Partly33Partly 65 33Partly 66 33Partly 66 33Partly 65
 Comoros34Partly34Partly34Partly34Partly 55 44Partly 50 44Partly 44 54Partly 42
Congo, Democratic Republic of66Not66Not76Not76Not 16 76Not 15 76Not 18 76Not 20
Congo, Republic of65Not65Not75Not75Not 20 75Not 21 75Not 20 75Not 20
 Costa Rica*11Free11Free11Free11Free 91 11Free 91 11Free 91 11Free 91
 Croatia*12Free12Free12Free12Free 86 12Free 85 12Free 85 12Free 85
 Cuba76Not76Not76Not76Not 14 76Not 14 76Not 14 76Not 13
 Cyprus*11Free11Free11Free11Free 94 11Free 94 11Free 94 11Free 94
 Czech Republic*11Free11Free11Free11Free 93 11Free 91 11Free 91 11Free 91
 Denmark*11Free11Free11Free11Free 97 11Free 97 11Free 97 11Free 97
 Djibouti65Not65Not65Not65Not 26 65Not 26 75Not 24 75Not 24
 Dominica*11Free11Free11Free11Free 93 11Free 93 11Free 93 11Free 93
 Dominican Republic*23Free33Partly33Partly33Partly 67 33Partly 67 33Partly 67 33Partly 67
 East Timor*33Partly33Partly33Partly23Free 69 23Free 70 23Free 71 23Free 72
 Ecuador*33Partly33Partly34Partly33Partly 60 33Partly 63 33Partly 65 33Partly 67
 Egypt65Not65Not65Not66Not 26 66Not 22 66Not 21 66Not 18
 El Salvador*23Free23Free23Free23Free 70 23Free 67 24Partly 66 24Partly 63
 Equatorial Guinea77Not77Not77Not77Not 7 77Not 6 77Not 6 77Not 5
 Eritrea77Not77Not77Not77Not 3 77Not 2 77Not 2 77Not 2
 Estonia*11Free11Free11Free11Free 94 11Free 94 11Free 94 11Free 94
 Ethiopia66Not76Not76Not76Not 12 66Not 19 66Not 24 66Not 22
 Eswatini75Not75Not75Not76Not 16 76Not 16 75Not 19 75Not 19
 Fiji*34Partly33Partly34Partly33Partly 59 33Partly 61 33Partly 60 33Partly 60
 Finland*11Free11Free11Free11Free 10011Free 100 11Free 100 11Free 100
 France*11Free11Free12Free12Free 90 12Free 90 12Free 90 12Free 90
 Gabon65Not65Not65Not75Not 23 75Not 23 75Not 22 75Not 22
 Gambia66Not76Not66Not45Partly 41 45Partly 45 44Partly 46 44Partly 46
 Georgia*33Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 64 33Partly 63 33Partly 61 43Partly 60
 Germany*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9411Free 94 11Free 94 11Free 94
 Ghana*12Free12Free12Free12Free 8312Free 83 22Free 82 22Free 82
 Greece*22Free22Free22Free22Free 8512Free 8712Free 88 12Free 87
 Grenada*12Free12Free12Free12Free 8812Free 89 12Free 89 12Free 89
 Guatemala*34Partly44Partly44Partly44Partly 5644Partly 5344Partly 52 44Partly 52
 Guinea55Partly55Partly55Partly55Partly 4154Partly 4355Partly 40 55Partly 38
 Guinea-Bissau55Partly55Partly55Partly55Partly 4154Partly 4254Partly 46 54Partly 44
 Guyana*23Free23Free23Free23Free 74 23Free 75 23Free 74 23Free 73
 Haiti55Partly55Partly55Partly55Partly 4155Partly 4155Partly 38 55Partly 37
 Honduras44Partly44Partly44Partly44Partly 4644Partly 4644Partly 45 45Partly 44
 Hungary*22Free22Free32Free32Free 72 33Partly 70 33Partly 70 33Partly 69
 Iceland*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9511Free 9411Free 94 11Free 94
 India*23Free23Free23Free23Free 77 23Free 75 23Free 71 24Partly 67
 Indonesia24Partly24Partly24Partly24Partly 64 24Partly 62 24Partly 61 24Partly 59
 Iran66Not66Not66Not66Not 17 66Not 18 66Not 17 66Not 16
 Iraq66Not56Not56Not56Not 31 56Not 32 56Not 31 56Not 29
 Ireland*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9611Free 9711Free 97 11Free 97
 Israel*12Free12Free12Free13Free 7923Free 7823Free 76 23Free 76
 Italy*11Free11Free11Free11Free 8911Free 8911Free 89 11Free 90
 Ivory Coast54Partly44Partly44Partly44Partly 5144Partly 5144Partly 51 54Partly 44
 Jamaica*23Free23Free23Free23Free 7722Free 7822Free 78 22Free 80
 Japan*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9611Free 9611Free 96 11Free 96
 Jordan65Not65Not55Partly55Partly 3755Partly 3755Partly 37 65Not 34
 Kazakhstan65Not65Not75Not75Not 2275Not 2275Not 23 75Not 23
 Kenya44Partly44Partly44Partly44Partly 4844Partly 4844Partly 48 44Partly 48
 Kiribati*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9311Free 9311Free 93 11Free 93
 Kosovo*44Partly34Partly34Partly34Partly 5234Partly 5434Partly 56 44Partly 54
 Kuwait55Partly55Partly55Partly55Partly 3655Partly 3655Partly 36 55Partly 37
 Kyrgyzstan55Partly55Partly55Partly55Partly 3754Partly 3854Partly 39 75Not 28
 Laos76Not76Not76Not76Not 1276Not 1476Not 14 76Not 13
 Latvia*22Free22Free12Free22Free 8722Free 8712Free 89 12Free 89
 Lebanon54Partly54Partly54Partly64Partly 4354Partly 4554Partly 44 54Partly 43
 Lesotho*23Free33Partly33Partly33Partly 6433Partly 6333Partly 63 33Partly 63
 Liberia*34Partly34Partly34Partly33Partly 6233Partly 6234Partly 60 34Partly 60
 Libya66Not66Not76Not76Not 976Not 976Not 9 76Not 9
 Liechtenstein*11Free11Free21Free21Free 9021Free 9021Free 90 21Free 90
 Lithuania*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9111Free 9111Free 91 12Free 90
 Luxembourg*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9811Free 9811Free 98 11Free 97
 Madagascar*44Partly34Partly34Partly34Partly 56 34Partly 56 33Partly 61 34Partly 60
 Malawi*34Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 63 33Partly 64 33Partly 62 33Partly 66
 Malaysia44Partly44Partly44Partly44Partly 45 44Partly 52 44Partly 52 44Partly 51
 Maldives44Partly45Partly55Partly55Partly 35 55Partly 35 45Partly 40 45Partly 40
 Mali54Partly54Partly54Partly54Partly 44 44Partly 44 55Partly 41 65Not 33
 Malta*11Free11Free11Free11Free 92 21Free 91 21Free 90 21Free 90
 Marshall Islands*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9211Free 9311Free 93 11Free 93
 Mauritania65Not65Not65Not65Not 30 65Not 32 55Partly 34 55Partly 35
 Mauritius*12Free12Free12Free12Free 8912Free 8912Free 89 12Free 87
 Mexico*33Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 62 33Partly 63 33Partly 62 34Partly 61
Micronesia*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9311Free 9211Free 92 11Free 92
 Moldova*33Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 61 34Partly 58 34Partly 60 33Partly 61
 Monaco*21Free21Free31Free31Free 8231Free 8231Free 83 31Free 83
 Mongolia*12Free12Free12Free12Free 8512Free 8512Free 84 12Free 84
 Montenegro*32Free33Partly33Partly33Partly 67 43Partly 65 43Partly 62 33Partly 63
 Morocco54Partly54Partly54Partly55Partly 39 55Partly 39 55Partly 37 55Partly 37
 Mozambique43Partly44Partly44Partly44Partly 52 44Partly 51 54Partly 45 54Partly 43
 Myanmar66Not65Not55Partly55Partly 3155Partly 3056Not 30 56Not 28
 Namibia*22Free22Free22Free22Free 7732Free 7522Free 77 22Free 77
 Nauru*12Free22Free22Free22Free 81 22Free 78 23Free 77 23Free 77
   Nepal*34Partly34Partly34Partly34Partly 5534Partly 5434Partly 56 34Partly 56
 Netherlands*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9911Free 9911Free 99 11Free 98
 New Zealand*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9811Free 9811Free 97 11Free 99
 Nicaragua43Partly43Partly54Partly54Partly 5465Not 3265Not 31 65Not 30
 Niger34Partly34Partly44Partly44Partly 5044Partly 4944Partly 48 44Partly 48
 Nigeria45Partly45Partly35Partly35Partly 5035Partly 5045Partly 47 45Partly 45
 North Korea77Not77Not77Not77Not 377Not 377Not 3 77Not 3
 North Macedonia*43Partly43Partly43Partly43Partly 58 43Partly 59 33Partly 63 33Partly 66
 Norway*11Free11Free11Free11Free 10011Free 10011Free 100 11Free 100
 Oman65Not65Not65Not65Not 2365Not 2365Not 23 65Not 23
 Pakistan45Partly45Partly45Partly45Partly 4355Partly 3955Partly 38 55Partly 37
 Palau*11Free11Free11Free11Free 92 11Free 92 11Free 92 11Free 92
 Panama*22Free22Free22Free22Free 83 12Free 84 12Free 84 22Free 83
 Papua New Guinea*43Partly43Partly33Partly33Partly 63 43Partly 64 43Partly 62 43Partly 62
 Paraguay*33Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 64 33Partly 65 33Partly 65 33Partly 65
 Peru*23Free23Free23Free23Free 7323Free 7323Free 72 33Partly 71
 Philippines*33Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 6233Partly 6134Partly 59 34Partly 56
 Poland*11Free11Free12Free12Free 8522Free 8422Free 84 22Free 82
 Portugal*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9711Free 9611Free 96 11Free 96
 Qatar65Not65Not65Not65Not 24 65Not 25 65Not 25 65Not 25
 Romania*22Free22Free22Free22Free 84 22Free 81 22Free 83 22Free 83
 Russia66Not66Not76Not76Not 2076Not 2076Not 20 76Not 20
 Rwanda66Not66Not66Not66Not 23 66Not 23 66Not 22 66Not 21
 Saint Kitts and Nevis*11Free21Free11Free11Free 89 11Free 89 11Free 89 21Free 89
 Saint Lucia*11Free11Free11Free11Free 91 11Free 92 11Free 92 11Free 91
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines*11Free11Free11Free11Free 90 11Free 91 11Free 91 11Free 91
 Samoa*22Free22Free22Free22Free 80 22Free 81 22Free 81 22Free 81
 San Marino*11Free11Free11Free11Free 97 11Free 95 11Free 95 11Free 93
 São Tomé and Príncipe*22Free22Free22Free22Free 82 22Free 83 22Free 84 22Free 84
 Saudi Arabia77Not77Not77Not77Not 7 77Not 7 77Not 7 77Not 7
 Senegal*22Free22Free22Free22Free 75 23Free 72 33Partly 71 33Partly 71
 Serbia*22Free22Free32Free32Free 73 33Partly 67 43Partly 66 43Partly 64
 Seychelles*33Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 71 33Partly 71 33Partly 72 23Free 77
 Sierra Leone*33Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 66 33Partly 65 33Partly 65 33Partly 65
 Singapore44Partly44Partly44Partly44Partly 52 44Partly 51 44Partly 50 44Partly 48
 Slovakia*11Free11Free11Free11Free 89 12Free 88 12Free 88 11Free 90
 Slovenia*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9411Free 9411Free 94 11Free 95
 Solomon Islands*33Partly33Partly32Free32Free 72 22Free 79 22Free 79 22Free 79
 Somalia77Not77Not77Not77Not 7 77Not 7 77Not 7 77Not 7
 South Africa*22Free22Free22Free22Free 78 22Free 79 22Free 79 22Free 79
 South Korea*22Free22Free22Free22Free 84 22Free 83 22Free 83 22Free 83
 South Sudan76Not76Not77Not77Not 2 77Not 2 77Not 2 77Not 2
 Spain*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9411Free 9411Free 92 11Free 90
 Sri Lanka*55Partly44Partly34Partly34Partly 55 34Partly 56 44Partly 56 44Partly 56
 Sudan77Not77Not77Not77Not 8 77Not 7 76Not 12 76Not 17
 Suriname*22Free23Free23Free22Free 78 23Free 77 23Free 75 22Free 79
 Sweden*11Free11Free11Free11Free 10011Free 10011Free 100 11Free 100
  Switzerland*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9611Free 9611Free 96 11Free 96
 Syria77Not77Not77Not77Not -177Not 077Not 0 77Not 1
 Taiwan*12Free12Free11Free11Free 9311Free 9311Free 93 11Free 94
 Tajikistan66Not76Not76Not76Not 1176Not 976Not 9 76Not 8
 Tanzania33Partly34Partly34Partly44Partly 5245Partly 4555Partly 40 55Partly 34
 Thailand65Not65Not65Not65Not 3175Not 3064Partly 32 75Not 30
 Togo44Partly44Partly44Partly44Partly 4754Partly 4354Partly 44 54Partly 43
 Tonga*22Free22Free22Free22Free 7422Free 7922Free 79 22Free 79
 Trinidad and Tobago*22Free22Free22Free22Free 8122Free 8222Free 82 22Free 82
 Tunisia*13Free13Free13Free23Free 7023Free 6923Free 70 23Free 71
 Turkey34Partly34Partly45Partly56Not 3256Not 3156Not 32 56Not 32
 Turkmenistan77Not77Not77Not77Not 477Not 277Not 2 77Not 2
 Tuvalu*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9411Free 9311Free 93 11Free 93
 Uganda65Not65Not65Not64Partly 3765Not 3665Not 34 65Not 34
 Ukraine*33Partly33Partly33Partly33Partly 6234Partly 6033Partly 62 34Partly 60
 United Arab Emirates66Not66Not66Not76Not 1776Not 1776Not 17 76Not 17
 United Kingdom*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9411Free 9311Free 94 11Free 93
 United States*11Free11Free11Free21Free 8621Free 8621Free 86 22Free 83
 Uruguay*11Free11Free11Free11Free 9811Free 9811Free 98 11Free 98
 Uzbekistan77Not77Not77Not77Not 776Not 976Not 10 76Not 11
 Vanuatu*22Free22Free22Free22Free 8122Free 8222Free 82 22Free 82
 Venezuela55Partly55Partly65Not65Not 2676Not 1976Not 16 76Not 14
 Vietnam75Not75Not75Not75Not 2075Not 2075Not 20 76Not 19
 Yemen66Not76Not76Not76Not 1376Not 1176Not 11 76Not 11
 Zambia34Partly34Partly44Partly44Partly 5544Partly 5444Partly 54 44Partly 52
 Zimbabwe56Not55Partly55Partly65Not 3055Partly 3155Partly 29 65Not 28

Territories

These are territories as opposed to independent countries.

Key: P political rights /40, C: civil liberties /60, Score: score /100 and status (Free, Partly Free, or Not Free)
  2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021[17]
Country P C Score P C Score P C Score P C Score P C Score P C Score P C Score P C Score
 Abkhazia (Georgia) 17 23 40 (Partly)[18] 17 23 40 (Partly)
 Crimea (Ukraine) -2 10 8 (Not)[19] -2 9 7 (Not)
eastern Donbas ("DNR" and "LNR", Ukraine) -1 6 5 (Not)[20] -1 5 4 (Not)
 Gaza Strip (PA) 3 8 11 (Not)[21] 3 8 11 (Not)
 Hong Kong (China) 16 39 55 (Partly)[22] 15 37 52 (Partly)
 Jammu and Kashmir (India) 8 20 28 (Not)[23] 7 20 27 (Not)
 Azad Kashmir (Pakistan) 9 19 28 (Not)[24] 9 19 28 (Not)
 Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan) 13 21 34 (Partly)[25] 16 19 35 (Partly)
 Northern Cyprus (Cyprus)* 31 50 81 (Free)[26] 28 50 78 (Free)
 Puerto Rico (United States)*
 Somaliland (Somalia) 17 24 41 (Partly)[27] 18 24 42 (Partly)
 South Ossetia (Georgia) 2 8 10 (Not)[28] 2 8 10 (Not)
 Tibet (China) -2 3 1 (Not)[29] -2 3 1 (Not)
 Transnistria (Moldova) 9 13 22 (Not)[30] 8 12 20 (Not)
 West Bank (PA) 4 21 25 (Not)[31] 4 21 25 (Not)
 Western Sahara (Morocco) -3 7 4 (Not)[32] -3 7 4 (Not)

According to Freedom House, a quarter of all declines of freedom in the world in 2016 took place in Europe.[33]

Percentage of countries in each category, from the 1973 through 2021 reports:

1973–2021

  Not Free
  Partly Free
  Free

  Electoral Democracies
Year
Free
Partly
Free
Not
Free
Electoral
Democracies
197541 (27%)48 (32%)63 (41%)
198051 (32%)54 (33%)56 (35%)
198553 (32%)59 (35%)55 (33%)
199061 (37%)44 (26%)62 (37%)69 (41%)
199576 (40%)61 (32%)54 (28%)113 (59%)
200085 (44%)60 (31%)47 (25%)120 (63%)
200589 (46%)54 (28%)49 (26%)119 (62%)
201089 (46%)58 (30%)47 (24%)116 (60%)
201187 (45%)60 (31%)47 (24%)115 (59%)
201287 (45%)60 (31%)48 (25%)117 (60%)
201390 (46%)58 (30%)47 (24%)117 (60%)
201488 (45%)59 (30%)48 (25%)122 (63%)
201589 (46%)55 (28%)51 (26%)125 (64%)
201686 (44%)59 (30%)50 (26%)125 (64%)
201787 (45%)59 (30%)49 (25%)123 (63%)
201888 (45%)58 (30%)49 (25%)116 (59%)
201986 (44%)59 (30%)50 (26%)115 (59%)
202083 (43%)63 (32%)49 (25%)115 (59%)
202182 (42%)59 (30%)54 (28%)114 (58%)

Sources: Country Status and ratings overview 1973–2016,[34] Number and percentages of electoral democracies 1989–2016,[35] Freedom in the World 2018 report covering 2017.[36]

Notes:

  • The years shown in the map and table above are the year the survey was released, the data shown covers the prior calendar year.
  • The chart and table above do not include data for related/disputed territories.

Evaluation

There is some debate over the neutrality of Freedom House and the methodology used for the Freedom in the World report, which has been written by Raymond D. Gastil and his colleagues.[5] The neutrality and biases of human-rights indices have been discussed in several publications by Kenneth A. Bollen.[37] Bollen wrote that "Considered together these criticisms suggest that some nations may have been incorrectly rated on Gastil's measures. However, none of the criticisms have demonstrated a systematic bias in all the ratings. Most of the evidence consists of anecdotal evidence of relatively few cases. Whether there is a systematic or sporadic slant in Gastil's ratings is an open question" (Bollen, 1986, p. 586).[5] The freedom index of Freedom in the World has a very strong and positive (at least an 80%) correlation with three other democracy-indices studied in Mainwaring (2001, p. 53).[38]

Ideological bias or neutrality

In his 1986 study, Bollen discussed reviews of measurements of human rights, including the index reported in Freedom in the World (Bollen, 1986, p. 585). Criticisms of Freedom in the World during the 1980s were discussed by Gastil (1990), who stated that "generally such criticism is based on opinions about Freedom House rather than detailed examination of survey ratings", a conclusion disputed by Giannone.[39] The definition of Freedom in Gastil (1982) and Freedom House (1990) emphasized liberties rather than the exercise of freedom, according to Adam Przeworski, who gave the following example: In the United States, citizens are free to form political parties and to vote, yet even in presidential elections only half of U.S. "citizens" vote; in the U.S., "the same two parties speak in a commercially sponsored unison", wrote Przeworski (2003, p. 277).[7]

More recent charges of ideological bias prompted Freedom House to issue this 2010 statement:

Freedom House does not maintain a culture-bound view of freedom. The methodology of the survey is grounded in basic standards of political rights and civil liberties, derived in large measure from relevant portions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These standards apply to all countries and territories, irrespective of geographical location, ethnic or religious composition, or level of economic development.[15]

Mainwaring et alia (2001, p. 52)[38] wrote that Freedom House's index had "two systematic biases: scores for leftist were tainted by political considerations, and changes in scores are sometimes driven by changes in their criteria rather than changes in real conditions." Nonetheless, when evaluated in Latin American countries yearly, Freedom House's index was very strongly and positively correlated with the index of Adam Przeworski and with the index of the authors themselves: They evaluated Pearson's coefficient of linear correlation between their index and Freedom House's index, which was 0.82; among these indices and the two others studied, the correlations were all between 0.80 and 0.86 (Mainwaring et alia, 2001, p. 53).[38]

As previously quoted, Bollen criticized previous studies of Freedom in the World as anecdotal and inconclusive; they raised issues needing further study by scientific methods rather than anecdotes.[5] Bollen studied the question of ideological bias using multivariate statistics. Using their factor-analytic model for human-rights measurements, Bollen and Paxton estimate that Gastil's method produces a bias of -0.38 standard deviations (s.d.) against Marxist–Leninist countries and a larger bias, +0.5 s.d., favoring Christian countries; similar results held for the methodology of Sussman (Bollen and Paxton, 2000, p. 585).[40] In contrast, another method by a critic of Freedom in the World produced a bias for Leftist countries during the 1980s of at least +0.8 s.d., a bias that is "consistent with the general finding that political scientists are more favorable to leftist politics than is the general population" (Bollen and Paxton, p. 585).[40]

Use and conceptual analysis

Criticisms of the reception and uses of the Freedom in the World report have been noted by Diego Giannone:[41]

  • "Conceptual stretching", Giovanni Sartori's critical term for a methodological shortcoming common in social studies.[42] Giannone reports as an example that, according to Landman and Hausermann (2003), "the index by FH has been used as a tool for measuring democracy, good governance, and human rights, thus producing a conceptual stretching which is a major cause of 'losses in connotative precision': in short, an instrument used to measure everything, in the end, is not able to discriminate against anything."[43]
  • Issues with aggregation. Giannone quotes Scoble and Wiseberg's conclusion (1981) that "the sum of a civil liberty score of 4 and a political liberty score of 2 is the same as the sum of a civil liberty score of 2 and a political liberty score of 4 even though the substantive interpretation of these different combinations is different."[44]
  • "Lack of specificity and rigorousness in construction" and "inadequate level of transparency and replicability of the scales", the first referencing to Scoble et alie (1981) and the latter to Hadenius and Teorell (2005).[45] In support of the latter, he also quotes the conclusion of Munck and Verkuilen (2002) that "the aggregate data offered by Freedom House has to be accepted largely on faith",[46] due to the factors that "no set of coding rules is provided, and the sources of information are not identified with enough precision, and because disaggregated data have not been made available to independent scholars".[45]

Time series

In "Political and ideological aspects in the measurement of democracy: the Freedom House case" (2010) which reviewed changes to the methodology since 1990, Diego Giannone concluded that "because of the changes in methodology over time and the strict interconnection between methodological and political aspects, the FH data do not offer an unbroken and politically neutral time series, such that they should not be used for cross-time analyses even for the development of first hypotheses. The internal consistency of the data series is open to question."[47]

On this topic, the Freedom House website replies that they have "made a number of modest methodological changes to adapt to evolving ideas about political rights and civil liberties. At the same time, the time series data are not revised retroactively, and any changes to the methodology are introduced incrementally in order to ensure the comparability of the ratings from year to year."[15]

See also

  • Freedom in the World by region
  • World Index of Moral Freedom
  • Democracy Ranking
  • Democracy-Dictatorship Index
  • List of indices of freedom
  • Index of Freedom in the World
  • Freedom of the Press report
  • Polity data series
  • Democracy in the Middle East

Notes

  1. "Freedom in the World Countries | Freedom House". freedomhouse.org. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  2. List of Electoral Democracies FIW20 (.XLSX), by Freedom House
  3. William Ide (11 January 2000). "Freedom House Report: Asia Sees Some Significant Progress". Voice of America. Archived from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
  4. "FINANCIAL STATEMENTS Year Ended June 30, 2016 AND INDEPENDENT AUDITORS' REPORT" (PDF). 30 June 2016.
  5. Bollen, K.A., "Political Rights and Political Liberties in Nations: An Evaluation of Human Rights Measures, 1950 to 1984", Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 4 (November 1986), pp.567–591. Also in: Jabine, T.B. and Pierre Claude, R. (Eds.), Human Rights and Statistics, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992, pp. 188–215, ISBN 0-8122-3108-2.
  6. “Correlation Versus Interchangeability: the Limited Robustness of Empirical Finding on Democracy Using Highly Correlated Data Sets", Gretchen Casper and Claudiu Tufis, Political Analysis, 11:2 (2003), pp. 196–203, Society for Political Methodology
  7. Przeworski, Adam (2003). "Freedom to choose and democracy". Economics and Philosophy. 19 (2): 265–279. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.570.736. doi:10.1017/S0266267103001159.
  8. Freedom in the World 2015, Freedom House, 28 January 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  9. "Freedom in the World 2016" (PDF). Freedom House. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  10. "Freedom in the World 2017" (PDF). Freedom House. 31 January 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  11. "Freedom in the World 2018" (PDF). Freedom House. 27 January 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  12. "Freedom in the World 2019" (PDF). Freedom House. 5 February 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  13. "Freedom in the World 2020" (PDF). Freedom House. 4 March 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
  14. "Freedom in the World 2021" (PDF). Freedom House. 3 March 2021. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  15. "Freedom in the World 2010: Methodology", Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom house
  16. "Methodology: Freedom in the World 2018". freedomhouse.org. 13 January 2018.
  17. "Countries and Territories". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  18. "Abkhazia: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  19. "Crimea: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  20. "Eastern Donbas: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  21. "Gaza Strip: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  22. "Hong Kong: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  23. "Indian Kashmir: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  24. "Pakistani Kashmir: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  25. "Nagorno-Karabakh: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  26. "Northern Cyprus: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  27. "Somaliland: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  28. "South Ossetia: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  29. "Tibet: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  30. "Transnistria: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  31. "West Bank: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  32. "Western Sahara: Freedom in the World 2020 Country Report". Freedom House. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  33. Freedom House (2017). Freedom in the World, 2017 (PDF). Freedom House. p. 1. Archived from the original on 27 July 2017. Retrieved 27 July 2017. [N]early one-quarter of the countries registering declines in 2016 were in Europe.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  34. "Country Status and ratings overview", Freedom In the World 1973–2016, Freedom House. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  35. "Number and percentages of electoral democracies", Freedom In the World 1973–2016, Freedom House. Retrieved 2 August 2016.
  36. Freedom In the World 2018, Freedom House.
  37. Bollen has held chairs as a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Also serving as an Adjunct Professor of Statistics at UNC-CH, Bollen wrote the leading graduate textbook in structural equation models (SEM), often called LISREL models; SEM modeling allows the summary of a large number of measurements using a small number of meaningful factors. SEM was used by Bollen in the studies reported hereafter.
  38. Mainwaring, S.; Brinks, D.; Pérez-Liñán, A.B. (2001). "Classifying Political Regimes in Latin". Studies in Comparative International Development. 36 (1): 37–65. doi:10.1007/BF02687584. S2CID 155047996.
  39. Gastil, R.D. (1990). "The Comparative Survey of Freedom: Experiences and Suggestions". Studies in Comparative International Development. 25 (1): 25–50. doi:10.1007/BF02716904. S2CID 144099626.
  40. Bollen, Kenneth A. and Paxton, Pamela, "Subjective Measures of Liberal Democracy", Comparative Political Studies, vol. 33, no. 1 (February 2000), pp. 58–86
  41. Giannone, Diego, "Political and ideological aspects in the measurement of democracy: the Freedom House case", Democratization, vol. 17, no. 1 (February 2010), pp. 68–97.
  42. "Concept Misformation in Comparative Politics." The American Political Science Review 64 (4): 1033–1053.
  43. Giannone (2010), p. 69. Quoting Landman, Tod, and Julia Hausermann, Map-Making and Analysis of the Main International Initiatives on Developing Indicators on Democracy and Good Governance Archived 13 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Final Report, University of Essex – Human Rights Centre, July 2003, 98 pp.
  44. Scoble, Harry and Laurie Wiseberg, Ved Nanda, Ved, James Scarritt, and George Shepherd (eds) (1981), "Problems of Comparative Research in Human Rights", Global Human Rights: Public Policies, Comparative Measures and NGO Strategies, pp. 147–171, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, ISBN 978-0-89158-858-0. Cited in Giannone (2010), p. 69.
  45. Giannone (2010), p. 69, citing Scoble, et al. (1981) and Axel Hadenius and Jan Teorell. "Assessing Alternative Indices of Democracy", Political Concepts, Committee on Concepts and Methods, Working Paper Series, August 2005, 47 pp.
  46. Munck, Gerardo L. and Verkuilen, Jay, "Conceptualising and Measuring Democracy: Evaluating Alternative Indices" Archived 11 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Comparative Political Studies, vol. 35, no. 1 (February 2002), pp. 5–34. Cited in Giannone (2010), p. 69.
  47. Giannone (2010), p. 68.

References

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