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Switzerland claims top spot in Human Freedom Index

Switzerland is the freest country in the world, having replaced Hong Kong at the top of the Human Freedom Index 2017 (HFI). The latest index, published recently by the Fraser and Cato Institutes, evaluated 159 countries around the globe.

concept image world map
Switzerland is the freest country in the world. (Picture: © Fraser Institute)

The Human Freedom Index presents the state of human freedom in the world based on a broad measure that encompasses personal, civil, and economic freedom. The Fraser Institute defines human freedom as the absence of coercive constraint, recognizing the dignity of individuals. The index uses multiple indicators that compare economic and personal freedoms.

Consistently high scores

For the past two years, Hong Kong led the rankings as the freest jurisdiction in the world, largely because of the city’s score in economic freedom. This year, Switzerland takes first place among 159 evaluated countries, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, Ireland and Australia.

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 represents more freedom, the alpine country received grade 9.33 for personal freedom and 8.44 for economic freedom, resulting in a human freedom rating of 8.89.

The index is calculated based on 79 indicators grouped in the areas listed below. Compared to previous years, Switzerland ranks consistently high in all areas, with the exception of Rule of law (increasing) and Religion (slight drop).

Personal Freedom

  • Rule of law (8.4)
  • Security and safety (9.6)
  • Movement (10)
  • Religion (8.6)
  • Association (10)
  • Expression, information (9.7)
  • Relationships, gender (10)

Economic Freedom

  • Size of government (7.7)
  • Property rights (8.6)
  • Sound money (9.8)
  • Freedom to trade internationally (7.5)
  • Regulation (8.6)

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