Hong Kong comes first in economic freedom rankings again

The 2011 Index of Economic Freedom, a project of The Wall Street Journal and the conservative Heritage Foundation, ranked Hong Kong as the world’s freest economy, giving the “Asian tiger” that title for 17 years in a row. The report generally covered the last half of 2009 and the first half of 2010.

Overall, this year’s report saw economic freedom on the rise around the world, with scores on freedom rising in almost two-thirds of the countries examined.

The study’s executive highlights found “those gains are particularly welcome and significant given the fact that the biggest improvements have been achieved in developing and emerging economies where poverty reduction is a top priority.”

Four economies saw their scores rise at least three points: Rwanda, Djibouti, Seychelles and the Solomon Islands.

According to Heritage, six areas — Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada — have set themselves apart as the world’s “free” economies. Ireland and Denmark also ranked above the United States in this year’s index.

Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea were among the countries in the rear of this year’s rankings.

The Top 10

1 Hong Kong (89.7 points)

2 Singapore (87.2)

3 Australia (82.5)

4 New Zealand (82.3)

5 Switzerland (81.9)

6 Canada (80.8)

7 Ireland (78.7)

8 Denmark (78.6)

9 United States (77.8)

10 Bahrain (77.7)