Introduction

Read a Country or a Territory Report

The Freedom in the World 2006 survey contains reports on 192 countries and 14 related and disputed territories. Each country report begins with a section containing basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: population, gross national income per capita (GNI/capita), life expectancy, religious groups, ethnic groups, capital, political rights [numerical rating], civil liberties [numerical rating], and status [Free, Partly Free, or Not Free], and a ten-year ratings timeline. Each territory report begins with a section containing the same data, except for GNI/capita, life expectancy, and capital.

The population and life expectancy figures are from the 2005 World Population Data Sheet of the Population Reference Bureau. GNI/capita figures are from the World Bank's World Development Indicators 2005 and www.internetworld.stats.com. Information about religious groups and ethnic groups are derived primarily from the CIA World Factbook; the ethnic group figures for the United States are from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population figures, and information about religious and ethnic groups for territories are from sources including the CIA World Factbook, World Gazetteer, Wikipedia, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), and the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Russia.

The political rights and civil liberties categories contain numerical ratings between 1 and 7 for each country or territory, with 1 representing the most free and 7 the least free. The status designation of Free, Partly Free, or Not Free, which is determined by the combination of the political rights and civil liberties ratings, indicates the general state of freedom in a country or territory. The ratings of countries or territories which have improved or declined since the previous survey are indicated by asterisks next to the ratings. Positive or negative trends that do not warrant a ratings change since the previous year may be indicated by upward or downward trend arrows, which are located next to the name of the country or territory. A brief explanation of ratings changes or trend arrows is provided for each country or territory as required. For a full description of the methods used to determine the survey's ratings, please see the chapter on the survey's methodology.

The ten-year ratings timeline lists the political rights and civil liberties ratings and status for each of the last 10 years. Each year that is included in the time line refers to the year under review, not the edition of the survey. Thus, the ratings and status from the Freedom in the World 2006 edition are listed under "2005" (the year that was under review for the 2006 survey edition).

Following the section on political, economic, and social data, each country and territory report is divided into two parts: an overview and an analysis of political rights and civil liberties. The overview provides a brief historical background and a description of major recent events. The political rights and civil liberties section summarizes each country or territory's degree of respect for the rights and liberties that Freedom House uses to evaluate freedom in the world.