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Country overall change Rank Country overall change
1 Hong Kong 90.1 +0.8 4 Switzerland 81.6 +0.6
2 Singapore 89.4 +1.4 5 New Zealand 81.2 -0.2
3 Australia 82.0 -0.6 6 Canada 80.2 +0.8

Mostly Free

Rank Country overall change Rank Country overall change
7 Chile 78.7 -0.3 21 Lithuania 73.0 +0.9
8 Mauritius 76.5 -0.4 22 Georgia 72.6 +0.4
9 Ireland 76.2 +0.5 23 Iceland 72.4 +0.3
10 Denmark 76.1 0.0 24 Austria 72.4 +0.6
11 Estonia 75.9 +0.6 25 Japan 72.4 +0.6
12 United States 75.5 -0.5
American Flag

The United States, with an economic freedom score of 75.5, is the 12th freest economy in the 2014 Index. Its score is half a point lower than last year, primarily due to deteriorations in property rights, fiscal freedom, and business freedom. The U.S. is ranked 2nd out of three countries in the North America region, and although its score remains well above the world and regional averages, it is no longer one of the top 10 freest economies.

Over the 20-year history of the Index, the U.S.’s economic freedom has fluctuated significantly. During the first 10 years, its score rose gradually, and it joined the ranks of the economically “free” in 2006. Since then, it has suffered a dramatic decline of almost 6 points, with particularly large losses in property rights, freedom from corruption, and control of government spending. The U.S. is the only country to have recorded a loss of economic freedom each of the past seven years. The overall U.S. score decline from 1995 to 2014 is 1.2 points, the fourth worst drop among advanced economies.

Substantial expansion in the size and scope of government, including through new and costly regulations in areas like finance and health care, has contributed significantly to the erosion of U.S. economic freedom. The growth of government has been accompanied by increasing cronyism that has undermined the rule of law and perceptions of fairness.