The index presents a broad measure of human freedom — understood as the absence of coercive constraint — using 76 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom. “Hard facts must counter the perception that freedom is somehow failing to achieve the goal of a better society while serfdom succeeds,” Detmar Doering, director of the Liberales Institut, writes in the introduction. And indeed, the findings, which cover 152 countries for 2012 (the most recent year for which data is available), suggest that freedom plays a central role in human well‐being. For instance, countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significantly higher per capita income ($30,006) than those in other quartiles; the per capita income in the least‐free quartile is $2,615.
The Human Freedom Index is the most comprehensive freedom index ever created for a globally meaningful set of countries. It offers opportunities for further research into the elaborate ways in which freedom influences, and can be influenced by, political regimes, economic development, and the whole range of indicators of human well‐being.