Human Freedom Index ranks Taiwan 1st in Asia, 14th globally

Taiwan was rated 14th out of 165 countries and territories assessed in the latest Human Freedom Index report jointly released Jan. 26 by Washington-based Cato Institute and Vancouver-based Fraser Institute.

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 represents the most freedom, Taiwan scored 8.44. This is well above the global average of 6.81 and puts the country first in Asia.

The world’s top five spots went to Switzerland, New Zealand, Estonia, Denmark and Ireland, in that order. The countries scored high in the report’s two broad measures of economic and personal freedom.

According to the report, while global freedom was already waning before COVID-19, governments’ responses during the pandemic accelerated the loss of freedom by restricting freedom of movement, among other civil liberties. More than 94 percent of the global population experienced a decline in freedom from 2019 to 2020, the latest year of available data, the report added.

For economic freedom, Taiwan scored 9.6 in sound money and between 6.3 and 7.7 in the other four subcategories, which are size of government, legal system and property rights, the freedom to trade internationally, and regulation.

In the personal freedom categories, Taiwan performed even better, with an overall score of 8.98 and a score of 9.9 in the subcategory of religion. The security and safety subcategory received a similarly high score of 9.5.