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Politics The 27 countries in the world with the most freedom

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Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization, measures freedom in terms of civil liberties and political rights for an annual report.

Sweden supporters enjoy the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France on June 13, 2016 in Paris, France. play

Sweden supporters enjoy the atmosphere prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Stade de France on June 13, 2016 in Paris, France.

(Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Freedom means different things to different people.

But Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization that releases an annual report on freedom around the world, measures it in terms of civil liberties and political rights.

Their annual report, Freedom in the World, "operates from the assumption that freedom for all people is best achieved in liberal democratic societies."

In 2018, more than 130 in-house and external analysts and advisers from academia, think tanks, and human rights institutions created the report by collecting data from media, research articles, government documents, and other sources.

That data was then used to score a country's political rights on a scale of 0-40 and its civil liberties on a scale of 0-60.

Freedom House measured political rights by the degree with which a country's elections are free and fair, as well as by how much political pluralism and participation there is. Civil liberties, on the other hand, were measured by how free and independent the media is and how much freedom of expression and assembly there is.

In the ranking below, countries with a shared freedom rating were listed by alphabetical order, except for the three countries that received the top score.

Check out the 27 countries with the most freedom below:

27. United Kingdom

27. United Kingdom play

27. United Kingdom

(AP/RICHARD LEWIS)

Freedom Score: 94

The United Kingdom received a score of 95 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing five civil liberties points in the freedom of expression and belief, rule of law, and individual rights categories.



26. Tuvalu

Flagbearer Etimoni Timuani of Tuvalu leads his country's contingent into the stadium at the Rio Olympics. play

Flagbearer Etimoni Timuani of Tuvalu leads his country's contingent into the stadium at the Rio Olympics.

(Reuters)

Freedom Score: 94

Tuvalu also received a score of 94 in Freedom House's 2017 report.



25. Spain

25. Spain play

25. Spain

(Eloy Alonso/Reuters)

Freedom score: 94

Spain also received a score of 94 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing two political rights points under the functioning of government category, and four civil liberties points under the freedom of expression, rule of law, individual rights, and associational and organizational categories.



24. Germany

24. Germany play

24. Germany

(REUTERS)

Freedom score: 94

Germany received a score of 95 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing one political rights points under the political pluralism and participation category, and four civil liberties points under the freedom of expression, rule of law, and individual rights categories.



23. Estonia

A man in traditional seto dress holds an ancient axe during Seto Kingdom Day in Luhamaa, Estonia on August 3, 2013. play

A man in traditional seto dress holds an ancient axe during Seto Kingdom Day in Luhamaa, Estonia on August 3, 2013.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 94

Estonia also received a score of 94 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing two political rights points under functioning of government and political pluralism and participation categories, and four civil liberties points under the rule of law and individual rights categories.



22. Cyprus

Left-wing activists protest at a gate of RAF Akrotiri, a Britsh military base in Cyprus, near the city of Limassol, Cyprus on April 15, 2018. play

Left-wing activists protest at a gate of RAF Akrotiri, a Britsh military base in Cyprus, near the city of Limassol, Cyprus on April 15, 2018.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 94

Cyprus also received a score of 94 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing two political rights points under electoral process and functioning of government categories, and four civil liberties points under the rule of law, individual rights, and freedom of expression categories.



21. Chile

Participants in costume dance during a parade commemorating Earth Day in downtown Santiago, April 22, 2013. play

Participants in costume dance during a parade commemorating Earth Day in downtown Santiago, April 22, 2013.

(REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado)

Freedom score: 94

Chile also received a score of 94 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing three political rights points under political pluralism and participation and functioning of government categories, and three civil liberties points under the rule of law and individual rights categories.



20. Austria

Demonstrators covering their faces participate in a protest called "The traditional clown's walk against the burqa ban" in Vienna, Austria October 1, 2017. play

Demonstrators covering their faces participate in a protest called "The traditional clown's walk against the burqa ban" in Vienna, Austria October 1, 2017.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 94

Austria received a score of 94 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing three political rights points under political pluralism and participation and functioning of government categories, and two civil liberties points under the rule of law and individual rights categories.



19. Iceland

Iceland fans celebrate their team returning home after the Euro 2016 in Reykjavik, Iceland, July 4, 2016. play

Iceland fans celebrate their team returning home after the Euro 2016 in Reykjavik, Iceland, July 4, 2016.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 95

Iceland received a score of 97 in Freedom House's 2017 report.



18. Belgium

People take part in a sex toys hunt in a field in Wepion, Belgium, April 8, 2018. play

People take part in a sex toys hunt in a field in Wepion, Belgium, April 8, 2018.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 95

Belgium also received a score of 95 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing five civil liberties points under the rule of law, individual rights, and freedom of expression and belief categories.



17. Switzerland

Skiers relax on the terrace of a restaurant as mount Matterhorn (R, 4478 metres/14687ft above sea level) is seen in the background near the Swiss Alpine resort of Zermatt, Switzerland April 12, 2018. play

Skiers relax on the terrace of a restaurant as mount Matterhorn (R, 4478 metres/14687ft above sea level) is seen in the background near the Swiss Alpine resort of Zermatt, Switzerland April 12, 2018.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 96

Switzerland received a score of 96 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing one political rights point under political pluralism and participation category, and three civil liberties points under the rule of law, individual rights and freedom of expression and belief categories.



16. Japan

Sumo wrestlers perform a show fight during an annual sumo tournament dedicated to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, April 16, 2018. play

Sumo wrestlers perform a show fight during an annual sumo tournament dedicated to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan, April 16, 2018.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 96

Japan also received a score of 96 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing four civil liberties points under the rule of law, individual rights and freedom of expression and belief categories.



15. Ireland

People wear Shamrock suits on St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland, March 17, 2018. play

People wear Shamrock suits on St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, Ireland, March 17, 2018.

(REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

Freedom score: 96

Ireland also received a score of 96 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing one political rights point under the functioning of government category, and three civil liberties points under the rule of law and individual rights categories.



14. Barbados

Handlers bath horses from the Garrison Savannah in the Caribbean Sea near Bridgetown, Barbados November 30, 2016. play

Handlers bath horses from the Garrison Savannah in the Caribbean Sea near Bridgetown, Barbados November 30, 2016.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 96

Barbados also received a score of 96 in Freedom House's 2017 report.



13. Andorra

Irineu Esteve Altimiras of Andorra carries the national flag at the Winter Olympics. play

Irineu Esteve Altimiras of Andorra carries the national flag at the Winter Olympics.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 96

Andorra also received a score of 96 in Freedom House's 2017 report.



12. San Marino

Alessandro Mariotti of San Marino carries the national flag in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. play

Alessandro Mariotti of San Marino carries the national flag in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 97

San Marino received a score of 97 in Freedom House's 2017 report.



11. Portugal

A woman holds a poster saying "enough incompetence" during a demonstration in a tribute to the victims of the deadly fires in Portugal, in Praca do Comercio square, downtown Lisbon, Portugal October 21, 2017. play

A woman holds a poster saying "enough incompetence" during a demonstration in a tribute to the victims of the deadly fires in Portugal, in Praca do Comercio square, downtown Lisbon, Portugal October 21, 2017.

(REUTERS/Pedro Nunes)

Freedom score: 97

Portugal also received a score of 97 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing two civil liberties points under the rule of law and individual rights categories, and one political rights point under the functioning of government category.



10. Denmark

10. Denmark play

10. Denmark

(Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

Freedom score: 97

Denmark also received a score of 97 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing three civil liberties points under the rule of law and individual rights categories.



9. Uruguay

A gaucho rides an untamed horse during Creole week celebrations in Montevideo, Uruguay March 27, 2018. play

A gaucho rides an untamed horse during Creole week celebrations in Montevideo, Uruguay March 27, 2018.

(REUTERS/Andres Stapff)

Freedom score: 98

Uruguay received a score of 98 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing two civil liberties points under the rule of law and individual rights categories.



8. New Zealand

New Zealand's rugby 7's team performs the haka in April 2018. play

New Zealand's rugby 7's team performs the haka in April 2018.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 98

New Zealand also received a score of 98 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing two civil liberties points under the rule of law and individual rights categories.



7. Luxembourg

European workers and trade union representatives take part in a "No to austerity" protest to demand better job protection in Luxembourg June 21, 2011. play

European workers and trade union representatives take part in a "No to austerity" protest to demand better job protection in Luxembourg June 21, 2011.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 98

Luxembourg also received a score of 98 in Freedom House's 2017 report.



6. Australia

Members of staff from the Sydney Opera House participate in a dress rehearsal in central Sydney, Australia, March 2, 2018, as part of preparations for their participation in the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on March 3. play

Members of staff from the Sydney Opera House participate in a dress rehearsal in central Sydney, Australia, March 2, 2018, as part of preparations for their participation in the 40th anniversary of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade on March 3.

(REUTERS/Steven Saphore)

Freedom score: 98

Australia also received a score of 98 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing two civil liberties points under the rule of law and individual rights categories.



5. Netherlands

A woman cycles past national flags, the day before a general election, in Delft, Netherlands, March 14, 2017. play

A woman cycles past national flags, the day before a general election, in Delft, Netherlands, March 14, 2017.

(Yves Herman/Reuters)

Freedom score: 99

The Netherlands received a score of 99 in Freedom House's 2017 report, losing one civil liberties point under the rule of law category.



4. Canada

4. Canada play

4. Canada

(Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Freedom score: 99

Canada also received a score of 99 in Freedom House's 2017 report. The country lost one civil liberties point for rule of law, citing strict defamation laws and high rates of gender and racial discrimination among indigenous women.



1. Sweden (tie)

Sweden fans enjoy the atmosphere ahead of the UEFA EURO 2012 group D match between Sweden and England at The Olympic Stadium on June 15, 2012 in Kiev, Ukraine. play

Sweden fans enjoy the atmosphere ahead of the UEFA EURO 2012 group D match between Sweden and England at The Olympic Stadium on June 15, 2012 in Kiev, Ukraine.

(Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Freedom score: 100

Sweden received a score of 100 in Freedom House's 2017 report.



1. Norway (tie)

Norway's team supporters hold a giant national flag during their 2012 IIHF men's ice hockey World Championship game with Latvia in Stockholm May 12, 2012. play

Norway's team supporters hold a giant national flag during their 2012 IIHF men's ice hockey World Championship game with Latvia in Stockholm May 12, 2012.

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 100

Finland also received a score of 100 in Freedom House's 2017 report.



1. Finland (tie)

Farmer Mikko Lahtiluoma (front) holds the Finnish flag as he together with more than 5000 farmers protest against the plight of Finnish agricultural sector, at the Helsinki Senate Square, Finland, March 11, 2016 play

Farmer Mikko Lahtiluoma (front) holds the Finnish flag as he together with more than 5000 farmers protest against the plight of Finnish agricultural sector, at the Helsinki Senate Square, Finland, March 11, 2016

(Reuters)

Freedom score: 100

Finland also received a score of 100 in Freedom House's 2017 report.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Freedom House's top 10 countries in 2018 also match rather well with Forbes' list of the 10 happiest countries in 2018.



It's worth noting that the US was ranked 58th.

It's worth noting that the US was ranked 58th. play

It's worth noting that the US was ranked 58th.

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Freedom score: 86

The US received a score of 89 in Freedom House's 2017 report.

Here's Freedom House's rationale for the drop in rankings: "The United States’ political rights rating declined from 1 to 2 due to growing evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, violations of basic ethical standards by the new administration, and a reduction in government transparency."



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