The Human Freedom Index (HFI) is the most comprehensive measure of freedom ever created for a large number of countries around the globe. It captures the degree to which people are free to enjoy major liberties such as freedom of speech, religion, and association and assembly, as well as measures freedom of movement, women’s freedoms, crime and violence, and legal discrimination against same-sex relationships. The authors of the study—Ian Vásquez, Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, and Tanja Porčnik, a Cato Institute adjunct scholar and President of the Visio Institute based in Slovenia—also measure the rule of law, which they consider “an essential condition of freedom that protects the individual from coercion.” Vásquez says that “freedom is inherently valuable and plays a central role in human progress, so it is worth measuring carefully. Over time, the Human Freedom Index could track not only specific gains and losses of freedom but also explore the complex ways in which freedom influences, and can be influenced by, political regimes, economic development, and the whole range of indicators of human well-being."
The index is co-published by the Cato Institute, the Fraser Institute in Canada, and the Liberales Institut at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Germany.