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Country Rankings

This is a list of country rankings based on indicators that try to measure different comparable characteristics of countries around the world. Most of these rankings are ongoing and recurring.

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Sarah Gilchrist
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Civil Liberties country rankings

Be careful when using these indexes. They measure qualities that are difficult to quantify. Moreover, methodologies often change year to year; therefore, multiyear comparisons are often invalid. For these reasons, it is important to know the methodologies used to derive these cross country comparisons before using them. Most of the indexes included provide their methodology.

Search tip: If you are looking for an indicator, e.g. stability, do a search in the search box for the database that you select. That will let you know which index measures that quality.

  • Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Dataset (1981 to 2009)
    Not a country ranking, but this dataset has numerous variables where a numerical value is assigned to human rights measures. Requires a free registration.
  • Freedom in the World (1973- ) from Freedom House
    Assessment of political rights and civil liberties on 193 countries and 15 disputed territories. Starting with 2006 also has scores for: electoral process; political pluralism and participation; functioning of government; freedom of expression and belief; associational and organizational rights; rule of law; personal autonomy and individual rights.
  • Global Restrictions on Religion (2009) from Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
    Is a study that measures and rates the extent to which governments and societal groups impinge on the practice of religion in 198 countries and self-governing territories. The scores are based on two different years of data (July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2007, and July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008), and range from 0 to 10 with 10 being the most restrictive. Uses two measures:
    1. The Government Restrictions Index is based on 20 indicators of ways that national and local governments restrict religion, including through coercion and force.
    2. The Social Hostilities Index is based on 13 indicators of ways in which private individuals and social groups infringe on religious beliefs and practices, including religiously biased crimes, mob violence and efforts to stop particular religious groups from growing or operating.
    Hint: There is no ranking of all countries of the world; the Results by Country lists the two scores for each country.
  • Political Terror Scale (1976-2010)
    Measures levels of political violence and terror that a country experiences in a particular year based on a 5-level “terror scale” originally developed by Freedom House. The data used in compiling this index comes from the yearly country reports of Amnesty International and the U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
  • Religious Freedom in the World. Edited by Paul A. Marshall. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008.
    (Call number: BL640 .R44 2008). AU Library has print copy.
    Describes and analyzes over 100 countries and territories, especially those where religious freedom is most violated. It ranks them comparatively, includes scores and charts of freedom, details world trends, correlates religious freedom with measures of economic freedom, social wellbeing, civil liberties, and political rights.