U.S. is only 15th most free country in the world, study says (Video series)
With costly healthcare, a stereotype of obesity and a culture of creatively fatty foods, “healthy” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think of the United States.
But according to the Legatum Prosperity Index’s findings for 2015, the U.S. is the healthiest country in the world. However, when it comes to freedom, an ideal most Americans pride themselves on, the U.S. falls to 15.
So what’s the country with the most personal freedom? Canada, followed by New Zealand, Norway, Luxembourg and Iceland.
Personal freedom, as defined by the London-based Legatum Institute, measures a nation’s performance at both guaranteeing individual freedom and encouraging social tolerance. Canda was ranked No. 1 due to 94 percent of its citizens saying they believed they had the freedom to choose the course of their own lives and 92 percent saying there was tolerance for ethnic minorities and immigrants.
Overall, the U.S. was ranked the 11th most prosperous country out of 142, with Norway snagging the top spot. Other areas measured are the economy, entrepreneurship and opportunity, governance, education, social capital and safety and security.
The U.S. was ranked highly in all categories except safety and security, where it has dropped to number 33. In fact, in the study’s key findings, it said the U.S. is “an increasingly dangerous place.”
“It is also the only Western country to register high levels of state-sponsored political violence,” the study says. “According to Amnesty International the country has the same level of political violence as Saudi Arabia.”
The safest countries are Hong Kong, Iceland, Finland, Ireland and Sweden.