2024 Index of Economic Freedom: World Economic Freedom Reaches a 23-Year Low; U.S. Economic Freedom Continues to Diminish

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2024 Index of Economic Freedom: World Economic Freedom Reaches a 23-Year Low; U.S. Economic Freedom Continues to Diminish

Feb 26, 2024 2 min read

WASHINGTON- Marking the 30th anniversary of the Index of Economic Freedom, The Heritage Foundation released the 2024 edition of its annual Index of Economic Freedom today. 2023 was a year enveloped by the ongoing invasion of the U.S. southern border, Hamas's heinous attack on Israel, Russia's ongoing incursion in Ukraine, Iran-backed Houthi attacks on U.S. military personnel and ships in the Red Sea, and the Chinese Communist Party's persistent saber-rattling.

The turmoil at home and abroad makes it abundantly clear that economic freedom hangs in the balance, and the global average score for economic freedom’s continued hemorrhaging is emblematic of this grim reality. The 2024 Index stands at a 23-year low of global economic freedom rating, only 58.6 out of 100.

Singapore held its position as the world's most-free economy, Switzerland followed closely behind at second, and Ireland (3), Taiwan (4), and newly elevated Luxembourg (5) rounded out the top five.

The United States' once-esteemed "mostly free" ranking continues to diminish, this year reaching the lowest level in the 30-year history of the Index at 70.1. The U.S. sustained its global ranking of 25th freest in the 2024 index. The Biden administration's misguided anti-growth economic and entrepreneurial policies and mounting deficit spending fueled this decline, as examined in the report.

North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Sudan, and Zimbabwe remained the world's least economically free nations.

Dr. Kevin Roberts, president of The Heritage Foundation, said of the 2024 Index:

“We know from history that human flourishing comes in part from economic fairness, opportunity, and liberty. We also know, however, that the enemies of freedom are persistently pursuing collectivism, equity, and social justice. Conservatives know that these false idols produce disastrous results—such as economic stagnation, poverty, deprivation, and oppression—but too often we forget the source of their appeal. Now is the time for choosing and correcting the course. The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom provides practical examples of successful policies proven in action. It is up to us to provide the political will to implement them.”

Anthony Kim, research fellow and editor of the Index of Economic Freedom at The Heritage Foundation, added:

“The findings of the 2024 index are resounding: conserving and further enhancing the institutions of economic freedom is the key to true human empowerment and development. The stark difference between Taiwan and China, Chile and Venezuela or Israel and Iran are powerfully clear as the 2024 index documents categorically: freedom matters more than ever.

In particular, the months ahead present unique opportunities for America and other willing countries to restore economic freedom buttressed by the rule of law. Indeed, it's time to pursue and implement policies that put our freedom, prosperity, and security first for a better and greater future.”

Launched in 1995, the Index evaluates countries in four broad policy areas that affect economic freedom: rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency, and open markets. There are 12 specific categories, including property rights, judicial effectiveness, government integrity, tax burden, government spending, fiscal health, business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom. Scores in these categories are averaged to create an overall economic freedom score.

As the nation’s largest, most broadly supported conservative research and educational institution, The Heritage Foundation has been leading the American conservative movement since our founding in 1973. The Heritage Foundation reaches more than 10 million members, advocates, and concerned Americans every day with information on critical issues facing America.

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