Freedom Lost, Freedom Gained
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This chapter may be freely cited, provided proper citation is given.  See bottom for notice.

This report charts trends in freedom from 1972 to 2014. Over this time period 32 countries lost in freedom while 101 countries gained in freedom. Examining the trends shows that:
  1. Among the 8 countries that gained the most in freedom (Chart 1), most of the gained happened between 1988 and 2000, which also included the collapse of the Soviet Union.1   A few of these countries were related to the former SU, but some were not.

  2. Looking at the next two charts (Charts 2 and 3) indicate that for the most part the gains and losses in freedom were gradual, and in some cases didn't seem to follow any particular pattern. One other pattern was that after about 2000, there didn't seem to be any further gains in freedom, among those 14 countries that gained the most freedom over this time period.

  3. The last chart (Chart 4) shows that, as mentioned above, more countries gained in freedom than lost in freedom. One other feature is that many countries gained quite a lot in freedom. On the other hand, only a few countries lost a lot in freedom, while most list only a little.

Additional analysis of the last 15 years (Chart 5) shows that 52 countries lost in freedom while 88 countries gained in freedom. The pattern was fairly similar to the third pattern described above. A few countries lost a lot of freedom while many more gained a lot in freedom.

Chart 1
largest gains

Chart 2
second largest gains

Chart 3
largest losses

Chart 4
Change in freedom, average of 1972-1976 to average of 2010-2014.
change 40 years

Chart 5
Change in freedom, average of 2000-2002 to average of 2012-2014.
change 15 years

Note: The analysis of trends from 1972 to 2014 excludes the former Soviet Union and the countries that were created after the SU broke apart. These countries didn't have continuous freedom rankings over this period.

Data copyright by The Freedom House, Freedom in the World,  Used by permission. Charts created by Gene Shackman, Ph.D. The Global Social Change Research Project. Charts and text copyright by Gene Shackman 11/22/2015. This report may be freely used or cited for academic or research purposes, provided this report is cited as source, and the Freedom House is cited as source for data. Cite as "Gene Shackman, Ph.D. Freedom Lost, Freedom Gained. 11/22/2015. The Global Social Change Research Project.  Data from The Freedom House. Freedom in the World,  "

According to the Freedom House, "Each country is assigned two numerical ratings—from 1 to 7—for political rights and civil liberties, with 1 representing the most free and 7 the least free."  I combined the two scores, and then looked at the difference from time 1 to time 2. A positive difference means a gain in freedom while a negative difference means a decline in freedom.

This report may be cited for commercial purposes or for Wikipedia. However, permission is NOT given for any of these charts to be used on wikipedia or for any commercial purposes. This report may NOT be copied to any commercial site or to Wikipedia.


1. (MILESTONES: 1989–1992. The Collapse of the Soviet Union. US Department of State, Office of the Historian. )

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