Since 1973, Freedom House has evaluated the global state of civil liberties, democratic institutions, and independent media. Its research suggests that the world is steadily becoming more free.
In 1973, Freedom House said that 29 percent of the world’s countries were free, 25 percent were “partly free,” and 46 percent were “not free.”
By 2009, the figures were dramatically improved: 46 percent of the nations on the planet were free, 32 percent were “partly free,” and 22 percent were “not free.” In 36 years, the percentage of “not free” countries had dropped by over 50 percent.
Of the world’s 195 countries evaluated in a recent report, 147 were judged to be free or partly free. This group accounts for over 90 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Freedom House concluded that the majority of the planet’s economic, technological, and military resources belong to electoral democracies.
(Some progressives have complained that Freedom House is not sufficiently strong in reporting the abuses of freedom perpetrated by the U.S. and its allies. I think there may be some merit to their arguments, and I don’t mean to imply that Freedom House is the ultimate and sole authority in the assessment of global freedom. However, it’s also true that the organization assailed the Bush Administration’s policies on interrogation and detention during its so-called War of Terror, and has over the years given low rankings to countries the U.S. considers friendly, like Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Chile, and Guatemala.)
Analysis of the Amount of Freedom in the World
Freedom in the World Country Ratings
Number of Electoral Democracies