Freedom is declining in America.
That is what the majority of Americans are saying, according to a global poll on the matter.
What I find most interesting about these research data compare and rank how free people feel all over the world. America is supposed to be the land of the free. In the years this research has been conducted, Americans have never ranked their experience as tops in freedom. Among 118 countries in 2006, America ranked number 11 when 91 percent of Americans said they were “satisfied with the freedom in their lives”. Last year, the “Land of the free” ranked number 71…compared to more countries: 139. Only 75 percent of Americans said they were “satisfied with the freedom in their lives”. As the research explains:
This puts the U.S. in the bottom half of all countries measured.
The statisticians looking at these data say the 16 percent decline is “dramatic”. I agree. But to me that’s not bad news. It just means more people are feeling the shift to a better future, experiencing the pain of the shift, and although they may not be ready to look at alternatives, the pain is getting greater.
Interestingly, the decline isn’t happening in other wealthy democracies. Denmark, Finland and Canada all tied for first in 2006 — 96% of these countries’ citizens all expressed freedom satisfaction. Today, those figures are virtually unchanged, and all of them remain in the top 11.
The researchers go on:
Despite widespread reports that the U.S. economy is improving, many Americans may not be feeling the same economic gains in their daily lives. Household income is up since 2011, but it’s flat since 2007. And despite unemployment dropping below 5%, the overall jobs picture is not as rosy. Workforce participation is the lowest it’s been in 40 years. Using this metric, TheEconomist says that unemployment for 25- to 54-year-olds is worse in America than in France.
The 2017 Index of Economic Freedom also has seen a significant drop in America’s standing in the world since 2006. This index is mostly based on government regulation, the other component that people normally consider when they think about freedom.
There’s more to this research and I’ll do another post next week on the rest.