Where's the freest place in the world? A London think tank has the answer.
The answer was pretty surprising.
This article originally appeared on 11.05.15
Which country best represents the "free world"? That was one question at the heart of a report by a London-based think tank.
Each year, the Legatum Institute ranks countries on their Prosperity Index by measuring performance on eight subindices.
Among their most notable findings for 2015 is a new global leader for personal freedom.
They rate countries' personal freedom according to surveys covering tolerance for immigrant and minority communities, civil liberty and free choice, and citizens' satisfaction with their freedom of choice.
A mapping out of what creates personal freedoms.
Image by the Legatum Institute.
So which country is our new beacon of freedom?
That would be Canada.
The Canucks ascended five places since the previous year to take the #1 seat for personal freedom.
They took the top spot because over 92% of survey respondents said they believe Canada is both welcoming to immigrants and "tolerant" of ethnic minorities, and 94% feel they have the freedom to shape their own futures.
Canada ranks sixth overall for prosperity and holds the second highest rank for education. Their lowest score was in the subindex for entrepreneurship and opportunity, which could change under the leadership of Canada's newly-elected prime minister, Justin Trudeau.
Others in the freedom top 10 include New Zealand, Norway, Luxembourg, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, and Uruguay.
What about the United States?
It is the self-proclaimed "land of the free."
All-American Benedict Cumberbatch.
Happy Bbc GIF/Giphy
You're not fooling anyone, Cumberbatch.
The U.S. climbed seven spots from its 2014 rank, just barely squeezing into the 90th percentile for personal freedom at #15. And though it remains the world's richest country, it ranks 11th overall for prosperity.
The U.S. was the subject of another one of Legatum's top-line findings for becoming less safe, sliding down three places to #33 for the safety and security subindex.
The world's highest-ranked country for overall prosperity is Norway. But that's old news. The quasi-socialist Scandinavian state has held the post for the last six years.
Today, the maple leaf is a global symbol of freedom.
Let's let it ring to a tune by one of Canada's most iconic sons, Neil Young:
Here are the full 2015 Legatum Institute Prosperity Index rankings: