Last year, the U.S. ranked 20th

Canada sixth freest country in the world, United States drops to 23rd

By —— Bio and Archives--November 29, 2016

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TORONTO—Canada ranks sixth overall while the United States continues to decline—this year dropping to 23rd—in the Human Freedom Index, released today by the Fraser Institute and a network of international public policy think-tanks.

The index—which uses 79 indicators of personal, civil and economic freedoms to rank 159 countries and jurisdictions around the world—includes rankings from 2008 to 2014, the most recent year of available data.


Since 2014, the federal government, and provincial governments in Alberta and Ontario, have introduced legislation and regulations that encroach on economic freedom, which could affect Canada’s human freedom ranking in the coming years.

“Canadians are generally free to enjoy civil liberties such as freedom of speech and religion, and women’s rights, but the more government hampers our ability to trade and conduct business openly, the less free we become,” said Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute and editor of the study.

Hong Kong remains the freest jurisdiction in the world, followed by Switzerland, New Zealand, Ireland and Denmark. Canada is tied for sixth with Australia and the United Kingdom. Other notable countries include Germany (13), the U.S. (23), France (31), Japan (32), Russia (115) and China (141).

Last year, the U.S. ranked 20th.

And Hong Kong’s top ranking may surprise many.

“While the freedom index doesn’t measure democracy, democracy remains the best safeguard of personal freedoms, so if China encroaches on its one-country, two-system relationship with Hong Kong, we can expect Hong Kong’s ranking to drop,” McMahon said.

The complete index—a joint project of the Fraser Institute, the Cato Institute in the U.S., and the Liberales Institut of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Germany—is available as a free PDF download at www.fraserinstitute.org.

McMahon is the project editor. Ian Vasquez of the Cato Institute, and Tanja Porčnik, of the Visio Institute in Slovenia are the co-authors.

The 10 freest jurisdictions (from top)

1. Hong Kong
2. Switzerland
3. New Zealand
4. Ireland
5. Denmark
6. Canada
6. Australia
6. United Kingdom
9. Finland
10. Netherlands

The 10 least free countries

150. Angola
151. Democratic Republic of Congo
152. Algeria
153. Myanmar
154. Venezuela
155. Central African Republic
156. Syria
157. Iran
158. Yemen
159. Libya


Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom, Fraser Institute
For interviews with Mr. McMahon or for more information, please contact:

Bryn Weese
Media Relations Specialist, Fraser Institute
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 86 think-tanks. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit fraserinstitute.org.

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