The 2020 Human Freedom Index report is out and for the U.S., freedom has been in steady retreat in the last three years according to a broad analysis of personal, political, and economic freedom.

The annual report, a collaboration between the Cato Institute and the Fraser Institute, shows the U.S. is 17th most free nation in the world – dropping nine places since the 2017-2018 report.

The freedom index includes a number of factors to create the national ranking:

The HFI measures economic freedoms such as the freedom to trade or to use sound money, and it captures the degree to which people are free to enjoy the major freedoms often referred to as civil liberties—freedom of speech, religion, association, and assembly—in the countries in the survey. 

In addition, it includes indicators on rule of law, crime and violence, freedom of movement, and legal discrimination against same-sex relationships. We also include five variables pertaining to women-specific freedoms that are found in various categories of the index.

The U.S. ranks 6th in economic freedom, but its 29th place ranking on individual freedom drags down the overall rank.

The world’s top ten nations for human freedom according to the report are (in order): New Zealand, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Estonia, and Germany, and Sweden (tied in 9th place).

Image Credit: Michael Dorausch [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]