Human Freedom Index

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Feb 28, 2023, 10:28

Freedom is key to the growth of any civilization. And nations through centuries have strived to establish a true, free land for their people. Those who didn't? They've gone down in the pages of history for their notorious ways. However, freedom as a concept isn't quantifiable, and it's social. So how do we assess that country A is freer than country B? Here comes the Human Freedom Index.

What is the Human Freedom Index Report?

The Human Freedom Index is an annual report collaborated upon by the Fraser Institute and the Cato Institute. Here, the word freedom concerns the individual, civil and economic freedom of a person. It measures the dignity of an individual and how it's respected in a nation without an external coercive force impeding upon it or having it affect another's personal freedom.

Compared to other empirical methods of measuring freedom, the Human Freedom Index report is the most comprehensive way, for it reviews 82 separate indicators, which are again summed up under 12 broad categories.

Human Freedom Index - 12 Mega-Factors of Calculating Human Freedom

  1. The Rule of Law
  2. Freedom of Movement
  3. Holistic Safety and Security
  4. Freedom of Practicing Religion
  5. The Government Size
  6. Assembly and Association, Civil Liberty
  7. Freedom to Acquire Sound Money
  8. Expression and Information
  9. Regulation of Business, Credit, and Labor
  10. Freedom of Internation Trade
  11. Property Rights and Legal System
  12. Individual Identity and Relationships

Each of these factors is scored by calculating their sub-category scores. For instance, under the Rule of Law, we have Procedural, Criminal, and Civil Justice. Once the mega-factors are scored upon the average of their sub-category scores, they are then evaluated under personal and economic freedom. The average of the two, in turn, provides us with the Human Freedom Index score of a nation.

Human Freedom Index - Countries with the Highest and Lowest Index

Highest Index

  1. Switzerland - 9.11
  2. New Zealand - 9.01
  3. Denmark - 8.98
  4. Estonia - 8.91
  5. Ireland - 8.90

Lowest Index

  1. Egypt - 4.49
  2. Sudan - 4.48
  3. Yemen - 4.08
  4. Venezuela - 4.03
  5. Syria - 3.66

People living in areas around North America, East Asia, or Western Europe enjoy a better sense of liberty than those living in areas around South Asia, North and sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East. In the latter mentioned regions, women are at a much lesser advantage.

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Human Freedom Index - Latest Findings

As of now, the Human Freedom Index report factors in 165 countries and territories. The latest report we have in our hands is for 2019, as it is the latest year in which maximum data is available to us. However, there have been a few ups and downs, with 67 nations having improved and 82 having deteriorated their ranking.

Since the very onset of the publication of these reports in 2008, it has been seen that over 80% of the world population remains under a jurisdiction where human liberty keeps worsening. At the same time, only 17% of the human population falls under a jurisdiction where the Human Freedom Index is on a consistent rise. The latest report averages the world's Human Freedom score at a 7.12.

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FAQs on Human Freedom Index

Q.1. Which country topped the Human Freedom Index in 2021?

In the annual report of the country topped the Human Freedom Index in 2021 Switzerland, New Zealand, and Denmark ranked in the first, second, and third positions, respectively.

Q.2. What are the different indicators of the Human Freedom Index?

The state of Human Freedom Index is based on indicators like personal, civil, and economic freedom.

Q.3. How is a country's rank affected by the Human Freedom Index?

Parameters such as trade freedom, tax burden, judicial effectiveness, and more affect the influence on economic freedom, which in turn affects the ranking by the Human Freedom Index.

Q.4. What is the freest country on the list of Human Freedom Index 2022?

With an economic freedom score of 84.4, Singapore is the freest on the 2022 Human Freedom Index.

Q.5. What is the purpose of the Human Freedom Index?

The Human Freedom Index acts as a resource to objectively observe the relationships between freedom and social/economic phenomenon and how these factors interact with one another.