Thursday, January 18, 2007

Freedom in the World 2007

Freedom House has issued it's annual report on freedom in the world. This year was a mixed bag.

46% of the world's population lives in free countries. 37% in countries that are not free.

Longterm, we're still seeing great improvements. In 1996, 79 countries were free, compared to 90 today. There were 53 not free countries in 1996, and only 45 today. So freedom is still on the march, at least in the longterm.

The freest region is Europe. The least free is the Middle East. No big surprises there.

In 1987, there were only 66 democracies. Today there are 123.

Individual countries of note:

Afghanistan, which had the worst rating at 7,7 back in 2001, is now at 5,5.

Haiti is now a 4,5, which is an improvement over last year.

Iraq was 7,7 in 2003, now it's 6,6. Much less progress. Iraq actually took a step back this year.

Russia is 6,5. That's pretty ominous. It's getting worse over there. And that's not the kind of country you want falling back under authoritarianism.