WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 25, 2024 The Atlantic Council Freedom and Prosperity Center launched its third annual Freedom and Prosperity Indexes and an accompanying companion report today.

The Indexes collectively measure 164 countries on 19 different indicators of freedom and prosperity, including measurements of political and economic freedom and the rule of law, as well as health, education, and the environment. 

In the report, the Atlantic Council research team split countries into three equal groups based on how much their freedom has improved since 1995. Using this method, researchers found that countries improving the most in freedom see the biggest subsequent improvements in prosperity, with gaps between each of the three groups widening over time. 

“Our research shows that freedom has an exponential effect on prosperity over time,” said Dan Negrea, senior director of the Freedom and Prosperity Center. “And the opposite is equally true. In the long run, reducing freedom weakens societies and harms people’s lives.” 

The 2024 Indexes illustrate several important trends: 

  • Global prosperity levels are still lower than pre-COVID levels. 
  • The United States is the only country from the “high prosperity” category to see an overall decline in prosperity over the past ten years. 
  • Most countries saw an increase in economic freedom – especially economic opportunities for women. 
  • Political freedom and the rule of law have plummeted to their lowest points in over fifteen years. 
  • Freedom in China is at a 28-year low. It ranks at 145 out of 164 countries on the Freedom Index, falling into the “lowest freedom” category. On prosperity, China ranks at 85 out of 164 countries, falling in the “low prosperity” category. 
  • Freedom in Russia continues to collapse, ranking at 147 out of 164 countries on the Freedom Index. Last year, Russia ranked 138th out of 164 countries.

“Political freedom is collapsing around the world,” said Joseph Lemoine, director of the Freedom and Prosperity Center. “We are currently in an unprecedented period of regression for well-established democracies. That’s especially significant when 64 countries are holding elections this year.” 

The Freedom and Prosperity Center will officially launch the Indexes and accompanying report at an event on June 25 from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm. Keith Kellogg, former national security advisor to the president and vice president; Alicia Phillips Mandaville, vice president, Department of Policy and Evaluation, Millennium Challenge Corporation; and Dave McFarland, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs, US Department of State will be among the speakers at the event.  For more information or to watch the full event, please visit here

About the Atlantic Council’s Freedom and Prosperity Center 

The Freedom and Prosperity Center aims to increase the well-being of people everywhere and especially that of the poor and marginalized in developing countries through unbiased, data-based research on the relationship between prosperity and economic, political, and legal freedoms, in support of sound policy choices. 

For inquiries, contact press@atlanticcouncil.org.