Freedom in the World 2017 evaluates the state of freedom in 195 countries and 14 territories during the calendar year 2016. Each country and territory are assigned between 0 and 4 points in a series of 25 indicators, for an aggregate score of up to 100. These scores are used to determine two numerical ratings, for political rights and civil liberties, with a rating of 1 representing the freest conditions and 7 the least free. A country or territory’s political rights and civil liberties ratings then determine whether it has an overall status of Free, Partly Free, or Not Free.
Freedom in the World Methodology The methodology, which is derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is applied to all countries and territories, irrespective of geographic location, ethnic or religious composition, or level of economic development. Freedom in the World assesses the real-world rights and freedoms enjoyed by individuals, rather than governments or government performance per se. Political rights and civil liberties can be affected by both state and nonstate actors, including insurgents and other armed groups.
Freedom has declined on a global basis for the last 11 years. The biggest mover in 2016 was Turkey (15-point decline of freedom). Hungary & Poland are among the Western democracies that lost significant points in 2016, but the report also has its crosshairs on the United States for 2017.
– Freedom in the World (1985 – 2015)