More countries improved their scores in Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index than declined. That’s the good news.
The bad news: corruption, overall, is still rife globally.
The 2015 TI index, released today, ranks countries on a scale of zero (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). Of the 168 countries ranked in this year's index, 114 scored below 50, signaling that public companies need to be more transparent, and government officials held more accountable.
Brazil, Libya, Spain and Turkey are just a few countries that fared worse than last year. Brazil slipped the most, falling five points and dropping seven places to a rank of 76. Turkey slipped for a second year in a row from 53rd place in 2013 to 64th place in 2014 to 66th place in 2015. Spain fell one spot from 37th place in 2014 to 36th in 2015.
Countries that improved their scores include Greece, Senegal, and the United Kingdom. Greece, for example, jumped nine spots from 69th place in 2014 to 58th place in 2015. Senegal jumped eight spots 69th place in 2014 61st place. The U.K. also fared better, jumping four spots from 14th place in 2014 to 10th in 2015.
The United States placed 16th, up one spot from its 2014 ranking. The last four years mark an improvement from the 2011 index, when the United States ranked 24th. Still, it received an overall score of 76 this year, essentially unchanged from its score of 74 in 2014.
Denmark took the top spot for the 2nd year running. Finland and Sweden ranked second and third. New Zealand and the Netherlands ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.
“Top performers share key characteristics: high levels of press freedom; access to budget information so the public knows where money comes from and how it is spent; high levels of integrity among people in power; and judiciaries that don’t differentiate between rich and poor, and that are truly independent from other parts of government,” TI stated.
North Korea and Somalia continue to cling to the bottom rung of the index with a score of eight, which is also where they ranked in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 index. “In addition to conflict and war,” TI explained, “poor governance, weak public institutions like police and the judiciary, and a lack of independence in the media characterize the lowest ranked countries.”
View a full list of each country's rankings here.