The 20th anniversary edition of the Index of Economic Freedom, published jointly by The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal, was released on January 14, 2014 in Hong Kong and Washington, DC. Here are five key points you should take away.

  1. The 2014 Index, our 20th anniversary edition, shows economic freedom once again on the rise. Much of the momentum lost during the past five years has been regained. The global average economic freedom reached the highest level in the 20-year history of the Index. 114 countries, the majority of which are less developed, contributed to the growth in economic freedom over the past year; 43 countries, including Colombia, Poland, Cape Verde, and Turkey, achieved their highest economic freedom scores ever in the 2014 Index.
  2. Competition for the top spot in the Index rankings has intensified. Hong Kong maintained its status as the world’s freest economy, a remarkable distinction that it has achieved for 20 consecutive years. Singapore, the second-freest economy, has closed the gap between itself and Hong Kong to the second narrowest difference in their competition over the past two decades.
  3. A notable realignment of European countries continues to be underway in terms of advancing economic freedom. Eighteen, including Sweden, Lithuania, Georgia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Norway, Macedonia, Latvia, Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania, recorded their highest economic freedom scores ever in the 2014 Index. By contrast, five others (Greece, Italy, France, Cyprus, and the United Kingdom) registered scores lower than those they first received nearly two decades ago when the Index began recording economic freedom.
  4. The United States continues to lose ground to its competitors in the global race to advance economic freedom and prosperity. Registering a decline in economic freedom for the seventh year in a row, the U.S. tumbled from the ranks of the top 10 freest economies, falling to 12th place in the global economic freedom rankings.
  5. The link between freedom and human progress has never been clearer. The 20 years of Index data attest unequivocally that economies achieving or sustaining higher levels of economic freedom measurably outperform others in long-term prosperity and greater progress in many dimensions of socioeconomic development.

Do you want to know more about the interplay between economic freedom and opportunity? Visit www.hertitage.org/Index