Freedom House


Freedom House is a Washington-based non-governmental organisation established in 1941 to promote democracy around the globe. The organisation has since 1973 published the Comparative Survey of Freedom, which rates the level of democracy or freedom in all independent states and some disputed and dependent territories. Freedom House also conducts annual surveys on global media freedom, European and Eurasian nations in transition towards democracy, in-depth analyses of selected countries believed to be at a crossroad of their political development, as well as special reports focusing on particular fields or territories of interest.


  1. Freedom in the World
  2. Yearly publication which measures freedom in countries and territories according to two broad categories political rights and civil liberties.
  3. Freedom of the Press
  4. Yearly publication which measures media freedom in countries and territories.
  5. Nations in Transit
  6. A comparative, multidimensional study measuring progress and setbacks in democratisation in 29 countries from central Europe to the Eurasian region of the former Soviet Union.

Nations in Transit


Freedom House


PDF, On-screen tables




29 countries

Last reviewed


Data types and sources

Expert-coded data based on consensus from country-report authors and Freedom House and Nations in Transit advisors.

Data download

Freedom House. 2011. Nations in Transit 2011, online edition


The topic is democratic change in seven areas: the electoral process, civil society, independent media, national democratic governance, local democratic governance, judicial framework and independence, and corruption. Every country is given a score from 1 to 7 (best to worst) on each area.

Geographical coverage

The dataset covers 29 countries from central Europe to the Eurasian region of the former Soviet Union.

Time coverage and updates

The survey has been published annually since 1995, with the exception of 1996. Updated annually.


Methodology, country reports and various essays can be found on the website. It is not stated what other information the analysts use in their evaluation.

Access conditions and cost

Available free of charge.

Access procedures

Country reports and ratings are easily accessible for the years 1994/95 and up until the latest edition (except 1996 and 2001-2002). There is no single table presenting all countries for every year.

Data formats

On-screen tables. Download available in PDF format.

Comparability and data quality

The Nations in Transit ratings are given based on subjective impressions by country-report authors and other analysts. For outsiders it is impossible to judge whether a common standard is being followed for all countries. Therefore, comparability between countries is uncertain. Whether the data are comparable over time is also unknown.


Becker, John. 2003. “Keeping track of press freedom”. European Journal of Communication 18 (1):107-112.

Becker, Lee B., Tudor Vlad and Nancy Nusser. 2007. “An evaluation of press freedomindicators”. International Communication Gazette 69 (1): 5-28.

Gastil, Raymond Duncan. 1991. “The Comparative Survey of Freedom: experiences and suggestions”. In On Measuring Democracy: Its Consequences and Concomitants, ed. Alex Inkles. NewBrunswick and London: Transaction.

Munck, Gerardo L., and Jay Verkuilen. 2002. “Conceptualizing and measuring democracy:evaluating alternative indices”. Comparative Political Studies 35 (February): 5-34.

Rydland, Lars Tore, Sveinung Arnesen and Åse Gilje Østensen. 2008. Contextual data for the European Social Survey. An Overview and assessment of extant resources. NSD Report No.124, Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD).