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:
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.
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.
- 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.
Change in freedom, average of 1972-1976 to average of 2010-2014.
Change in freedom, average of 2000-2002 to average of 2012-2014.
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, https://freedomhouse.org/
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. http://gsociology.icaap.org.
Data from The Freedom House. Freedom in the World, https://freedomhouse.org/
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
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
1. (MILESTONES: 1989–1992. The Collapse of the Soviet Union. US
Department of State, Office of the Historian. https://history.state.gov/milestones/1989-1992/collapse-soviet-union
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