Posted by: bkivey | 14 January 2014

Index of Economic Freedom 2014

Every January for the past 20 years, the Heritage Foundation has published their Index of Economic Freedom. The Index uses 10 criteria grouped under four categories, and assigns an overall score by averaging the unweighted scores. The 2014 rankings cover the period mid-2012 to mid-2013, and this year 178 countries were evaluated, from Hong Kong (1) to North Korea (178) Eight countries were unranked, including Lichtenstein (?).

I looked at the Index in 2010 and 2012, and noted that the US is declining in terms of economic freedom. The current Index shows that the trend continues. This year the US ranks 12th among nations for economic freedom, down from 10th in 2012. Canada ranks 6th, and is first among the  North American nations.

Of note is the fact that of the six nations rated ‘free’, five are former members of the British Empire. The original part of the Empire itself ranks 14th.

As I did in 2012, I’ve used a variety of sources to provide a ‘Harper’s Index’ style snapshot of the US economy at the beginning 2014.

2014 rank of US in the Index of Economic Freedom


Rank in 2012


Total score for 2014


Total score for 2012


Economy rating for 2012

Mostly Free

For 2014

Mostly Free

US GDP for 2012

$15.1 trillion

Estimated US GDP for 2014

$16.7 trillion

Total national debt at end of FY2012

$15.2 trillion

National debt as of January 2014

$18.2 trillion

Debt-to-GDP ratio FY2012


Estimated Debt-to-GDP ratio FY2014


Rank of US in percentage of debt-to-GDP 2014

T-7 (UK)

Rank in 2012


US credit rating in 2012


In 2014


Federal government revenue FY2012

$2.6 trillion

Estimated revenue for FY2014

$3.0 trillion

Federal budget FY2012

$3.7 trillion

For FY2014

$3.8 trillion

Federal budget deficit FY2012

$1.3 trillion

Budget deficit for FY2014

$750 billion

Official unemployment rate for 2012


As of December 2013


Number of food stamp participants in 2012

46 million

Number of participants as of December 2013

47 million

% of population on food stamps in 2012


Percentage as of December 2013



  1. One has to wonder where the United States was at in Ronald Reagans 5th year as president, I will bet the contrast is stark.

    • Different times. I agree the contrast would be revealing, but would it be useful? Times are past; we need to look to the future.

  2. I understand that the clock only moves forward, but with the current administration, the progressives are taking us backwards. That we are now 12th in economic freedom and possibly moving even farther away does not bode well for the U.S., the farther away we move from economic freedom the more liberty is lost and the more the economy will continue to shrink, money goes where it is treated best, and when it leaves for more friendly places we are at much higher risk of recession or even depression conditions that will make 2008 look like a walk in the park. President Reagan came in after Carter who had a world view very much like the current presidents, We can do better!

    • Carter’s worldview was similar to Obama’s, but I do believe that unlike the current community-organizer-in-chief, Carter liked and respected the US. Your point that money is fungible and obeys economic law is well taken. Progressives either are ignorant of or willfully ignore of the fact that economic law is every bit as real as natural or physical law. You can suspend reality for a while, but in the long term, nature will have its way. Natural systems are self-correcting, and for human societies that deem to operate outside reality, the corrections are bloody.

  3. The Socialist Myth of the Greedy Banker & the Gold Standard

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