In the 2017 Human Freedom Index, compiled by three non-governmental foundations, Estonia ranks 13th among 159 countries.
Estonia shares its ranking with Sweden and Luxembourg – all three countries scored 8.48 on a scale of zero to ten. On the economic freedom scale, Estonia scored 7.95, ranking the country 10th in the world, and on the personal freedom scale, the country scored 9.01, ranking it 18th.
The countries in the index are ranked using 79 indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: the rule of law; security and safety; movement; religion; association, assembly and civil society; expression and information; identity and relationships; the size of the government; the legal system and property rights; the access to sound money; the freedom to trade internationally; and regulation of credit, labour and business.
Based on these indicators, countries are given scores from zero to ten with ten being the highest. The Human Freedom Index is one of the most comprehensive freedom indices available for a globally meaningful set of countries, covering 159 countries.
The US scores lower than Estonia
The freest country in the world, according to the index, is Switzerland, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, Ireland, Australia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada and Austria.
The United States, notably, scores lower than Estonia, having been ranked only 17th.
What comes to Estonia’s neighbours, Lithuania ranks 18th, Latvia 24th and Russia 126th. The country with the lowest human freedom score is Syria, having scored 4.04 and been ranked 159th.
The Human Freedom Index is compiled by Ian Vásquez and Tanja Porčnik on the behalf of the Cato Institute, a US-based think tank; the Fraser Institute, a Canadian public policy think tank; and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, a Germany-based foundation for liberal politics.
Cover: A pair of Estonians and their dog enjoying summer (the image is illustrative/by Anneli Arusaar).