The Country Where Economic Freedom Has Grown the Most Over the Last Two Decades• By Dr. Rainer Zitelmann
The Index ranks a total of 176 countries based on how economically free or unfree they are. The comprehensive rating is based on twelve categories of freedoms. The Index divides countries into five groups, the best of which is "free" (and includes Singapore, Switzerland, Ireland, and Taiwan); the worst is "repressed" (with countries like Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea).
Vietnam's economic freedom score is 61.8, making its economy the 72nd freest in the 2023 Index. Its score is 1.2 points better than last year. Vietnam ranks 14th out of 39 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is above the world and regional averages.
What is most important, however, is not just the most recent score, but the change in the ranking over time: no country of comparable size in the whole world has gained as much economic freedom as Vietnam since 1995. Back in 1995, when the Index was first compiled, Vietnam scored a meager 41.7 points. In the intervening years, Vietnam has gained 20 points. By comparison, China had 52 points in 1995 and has gone on to lose almost four points since then. With a score of 48.3 points, China is now only 154th out of 176, a full 82 places behind Vietnam.
The US only just scrapes into the second-best of the five categories ("mostly free", rank 25). There are now 16 countries in Europe alone that are economically freer than the US. If the United States were to lose just one more point in next year's ranking, it would find itself in the "moderately free" category. The US has progressively dropped down the rankings in recent years.