What are the Most Corrupt Countries In the World Today?

North Koreans Marching

There is plenty of malice, crime, and corruption in today’s political systems around the world. Elections are sometimes paid for, politicians often work only with their own self-interest in mind, and citizens around the world are fighting uphill battles against authorities at every level. But recent reports show us where each country stands in comparison to the other, and that is the topic of this article. Which countries are corrupt to the core? Which are a model for the world?

Corruption Perception Index

Corruption in countries is measured by the Transparency International (TI) group, based in Germany, by using their Corruption Perception Index (CPI). And since their latest 2012 report, they have updated the measuring procedures so that we can see changes over time within a specific country in a much easier way (though the table below may look a bit confusing because of such changes).

Where do the CPI results come from? It ranks countries “based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. It is a composite index – a combination of polls – drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions. The CPI reflects the views of observers from around the world, including experts living and working in the countries and territories evaluated.” Here are the results.

CPI map

Top 20 Least Corrupt

The following 21 countries are the best in the world for corruption. New Zealand, like last year, gets this distinction, but Denmark and Finland also rank in at #1.

Country Rank, 2012
Country / Territory
CPI 2012 Score
Change in rank since 2011
2011 rank
2008 rank
1 New Zealand 90 0 1 4
1 Denmark 90 1 2 1
1 Finland 90 1 2 1
4 Sweden 88 0 4 9
5 Singapore 87 0 5 5
6 Switzerland 86 2 8 14
7 Norway 85 -1 6 7
7 Australia 85 1 8 5
9 Netherlands 84 -2 7 9
9 Canada 84 1 10 7
11 Iceland 82 2 13 11
12 Luxembourg 80 -1 11 12
13 Germany 79 1 14 22
14 Hong Kong 77 -2 12 16
15 Barbados 76 1 16 18
16 Belgium 75 3 19 18
17 Japan 74 -3 14 28
17 United Kingdom 74 -1 16 23
19 United States 73 5 24 23
20 Chile 72 2 22 18
20 Uruguay 72 5 25 23

Other Notable Countries

I did not include all of the countries here, but this includes countries that I’m personally interested in, or ones that I have talked about on Skeptikai before.

Country Rank, 2012
Country / Territory
CPI 2012 Score
Change in rank since 2011
2011 rank
2008 rank
22 France 71 3 25 27
25 Austria 69 -9 16 14
25 Ireland 69 -6 19 12
27 Qatar 68 -5 22 16
27 United Arab Emirates 68 1 28 33
30 Spain 65 1 31 32
37 Taiwan 61 -5 32 45
39 Israel 60 -3 36 28
45 Korea (South) 56 -2 43 41
50 Rwanda 53 -1 49 55
54 Malaysia 49 6 60 61
54 Turkey 49 7 61 52
58 Jordan 48 -2 56 80
66 Saudi Arabia 44 -9 57 45
69 South Africa 43 -5 64 47
69 Brazil 43 4 73 65
72 Italy 42 -3 69 67
80 China 39 -5 75 70
83 Jamaica 38 3 86 138
88 Thailand 37 -8 80 115
94 Colombia 36 -14 80 57
94 Greece 36 -14 80 92
94 India 36 1 95 96
94 Mongolia 36 26 120 126
102 Argentina 35 -2 100 145
105 Mexico 34 -5 100 102
105 Philippines 34 24 129 158
113 Ethiopia 33 7 120 126
113 Niger 33 21 134 151
118 Indonesia 32 -18 100 0
118 Egypt 32 -6 112 72
118 Dominican Republic 32 11 129 121
123 Vietnam 31 -11 112 109
128 Lebanon 30 6 134 134
133 Iran 28 -13 120 126
133 Kazakhstan 28 -13 120 109
133 Russia 28 10 143 151
139 Pakistan 27 -5 134 141
139 Nigeria 27 4 143 141
139 Kenya 27 15 154 151
144 Syria 26 -15 129 145
144 Ukraine 26 8 152 166
156 Yemen 23 8 164 166

Top 10 Most Corrupt

It’s no surprise that North Korea ranks among the corrupt countries in the world, but actually Somalia managed to tie it for the distinction of absolutely most corrupt country in the world.

Country Rank, 2012
Country / Territory
CPI 2012 Score
Change in rank since 2011
2011 rank
2008 rank
165 Venezuela 19 7 172 158
165 Haiti 19 10 175 141
169 Iraq 18 6 175 176
170 Turkmenistan 17 7 177 166
170 Uzbekistan 17 7 177 178
172 Myanmar 15 8 180 180
173 Sudan 13 4 177 166
174 Afghanistan 8 6 180 178
174 Korea (North) 8 8 182 0
174 Somalia 8 8 182 0

Global Statistics

  • 70% of countries worldwide rank less than 50 out of 100 (43 is the average)
  • 23% of the European Union and Western Europe score below 50 (best: Denmark and Finland; worst: Greece)
  • 66% of the Americas rank below 50 (best: Canada; worst: Haiti and Venezuela)
  • 68% of the Asia Pacific region scores below 50 (best: New Zealand; worst: Afghanistan and North Korea).
  • 78% of the Middle East and North Africa score below 50 (best: Qatar and the UAE; worst: Iraq)
  • 90% of Sub-Saharan Africa score below 50 (best: Botswana; worst: Somalia)
  • 95% of Eastern Europe and Central Asia score below 50 (best: Georgia; worst: Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan)

 

World Audit

Freedom House (FH) is a human rights and political freedom advocacy and research group based in the US. Using the data that the FH group produces annually, as well as the CPI data above, and data regarding the freedom of press, WorldAudit.org came up with a ranking for corruption and for democracy, which was published in January 2013. Countries with less than 1 million inhabitants were not included. Here are some of the results (again, not a complete list):

Country Corruption Rank 2012 Democracy Rank 2012
New Zealand 1 6
Denmark 1 2
Finland 1 1
Sweden 4 2
Singapore 5 71
Switzerland 6 5
Norway 7 4
Australia 7 9
Netherlands 9 7
Canada 9 8
Germany 11 11
Belgium 12 9
United Kingdom 13 13
Japan 13 29
United States 15 12
Uruguay 16 17
Chile 16 20
France 18 16
Austria 19 15
Ireland 19 13
Spain 22 20
Taiwan 27 30
Israel 29 31
Korea, South 32 33
Rwanda 36 101
Malaysia 38 81
Turkey 38 55
Jordan 42 82
Saudi Arabia 50 117
South Africa 53 44
Brazil 53 50
Italy 56 28
China 61 124
Jamaica 65 40
Greece 74 45
India 74 50
Mexico 84 69
Philippines 84 57
Indonesia 95 62
Egypt 95 94
Vietnam 100 129
Lebanon 105 87
Iran 110 142
Russia 110 128
Pakistan 114 112
Nigeria 114 89
Ukraine 119 109
Central African Republic 119 112
Yemen 131 136
Libya 135 115
Haiti 139 103
Iraq 143 127
Turkmenistan 144 149
Uzbekistan 144 148
Myanmar 146 146
Sudan 147 144
Afghanistan 148 142
Somalia 148 147
North Korea 148 150

 

The Bottom Line

Singapore and several Western European nations, continue to rank in among the top 5 nations for least corrupt. Meanwhile, countries with lots of poverty and constant conflict are among the most corrupt in the world. When it comes to conflict, everything matters – from the money you have in the bank, to the speeches politicians make on TV, to the actual weather itself.

Eliminating corruption is never easy, but because it’s linked to so many other things, the beginning might be from something that doesn’t even seem directly related to corruption. Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done. But fortunately, the world is full of people trying to get rid of corruption.

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5 Responses to What are the Most Corrupt Countries In the World Today?

  1. JoyAnn R says:

    Sociopaths are the reason for corruption and they are here to stay. Normal people are not corrupt. They blend in well with mainstream society. But, they are all corrupt in their own way and to varying degrees. They are ‘ The people from Hell.’

    They aren’t that rare anymore, as Sociopaths make up about 15% of the total population and Psychopaths about 5% worldwide for a total of 20% of the worldwide population that is, to some degree, corrupt.

    If they were all eliminated (which will never happen) we would be living in a Utopia.

  2. Pingback: ¿Cuáles son los países más y menos corruptos del mundo?

  3. Pingback: ¿Cuáles son los países más y menos corruptos del mundo? | vetedepinta.com

  4. Christina says:

    As soon as I saw Denmark so high up there, I knew this was biased towards Westerners. And I am a Westerner.

  5. Sekharendu Chakraborty says:

    I thought us would rank much higher in regards to least corrupt country

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