The United States lags far behind other developed countries in terms of personal, civil and economic freedoms, according to a study released this month. Its neighbor to the north, for example, ranked 14 spots ahead of the so-called “Land of the Free.”
Three international think tanks — the U.S.-based Cato Institute, Canada’s Fraser Institute, and Germany’s Liberales Institut at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom — released the Human Freedom Index earlier this month. In addition to major civil liberties, the study considers safety and rule of law, relative size of government and capitalist values like the soundness of money, property rights, and access to international trade. The authors used a total of 70 data sources ranging from 2008 to 2012, the most recent year for which all necessary data is currently available.
According to the report,
“The top 10 jurisdictions in order were Hong Kong, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Sweden.”
The U.S. ranks 20th, while Myanmar, Congo and Iran round out the bottom of the list of 152 countries.