THE LEGATUM PROSPERITY INDEX™ 2016

Bringing Prosperity to Life

The world has never been more free, but some regions are freer than others

While most people now enjoy more Personal Freedom than they did in 2007, the improvement has been regionally uneven.

Three world regions—Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)—have seen their level of Personal Freedom decline slightly. Western Europe and Central and Latin America saw the biggest gains in Personal Freedom, while Asia and North America saw only slight increases.


It is encouraging that, in the face of large immigration and refugee pressures, Western Europe’s growing level of Personal Freedom is largely due to higher levels of tolerance of ethnic minorities and immigrants – and this despite the fact that the region is experiencing a populist backlash. In Central and Latin America, the gains in Personal Freedom are down to higher levels of LGBT tolerance among its population and more people feeling satisfied with their freedom of choice in general.

In contrast to Western Europe, the decline in Personal Freedom in Eastern Europe is due to lower tolerance of ethnic minorities and immigrants among Eastern Europeans. MENA’s decline in Personal Freedom is in part due to the deterioration in civil liberties in many Arab states as a result of the civil war in Yemen, for example, and the unrest following the Arab Spring in Egypt.