Transparency International has published its 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranked 175 countries and territories based on how corrupt their administrative and political institutions are perceived to be on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
Compiled from a combination of surveys and assessments of “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain,” the CPI is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide.
Here are the 17 most corrupt countries, according to the index:
The lowest ranked countries are perceived as “plagued by poor governance, and untrustworthy and badly functioning public institutions like police or media.”
The four least corrupt countries are Denmark (92), New Zealand (91), Finland (89), and Sweden (87), while the US came in 17th — along with Barbados, Hong Kong, and Ireland — with a rating of 74.
Top performers are found to have “high levels of press freedom, open budget processes, and strong accountability mechanisms.” More than two-thirds of the 175 countries in the 2014 index score below 50.
The average country score this year is 43/100. Seychelles, Malta, Latvia, and South Korea are listed at 43. Ukraine, which is fighting a Russian-backed separatist rebellion, came in 142nd with a score of 26. Russia’s score is 27.
Reuters notes that the ratings of Turkey and China have fallen steeply since last year. Turkey dropped five points to 45 after a corruption scandal rocked the ruling AKP party last December. China’s rating fell by four points to 36, even amid an anti-corruption drive that has purged dozens of officials.