Home Politics These were the most and least corrupt countries in 2019

These were the most and least corrupt countries in 2019

When you purchase through our sponsored links, we may earn a commission. By using this website you agree to our T&Cs.

Transparency International released its Corruption Perceptions Index for 2019. The index reveals the most and least corrupt countries last year. Some of the rankings are not at all surprising, although a few might surprise you. The index scored 180 countries and territories. Two-thirds of countries scored below 50. The average score is 43 out of 100, indicating a significant amount of corruption in the world.

Here are the most and least corrupt countries in the world.

Most corrupt countries

The number one most corrupt country in the world, based on the index, is Somalia. The sub-Saharan Africa region is actually the most corrupt part of the world, with the average score coming in at 32 out of 100.

The top 10 most corrupt countries, listed from the bottom up, are:

  1. Somalia
  2. South Sudan
  3. Syria
  4. Yemen
  5. Venezuela
  6. Sudan
  7. Equatorial Guinea
  8. Afghanistan
  9. North Korea
  10. Libya

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea Bissau and Haiti actually tied for Libya in the list of the most corrupt countries.

Least corrupt countries

The least corrupt region of the world is Western Europe and the European Union, which scored 66 out of 100. The least corrupt countries in the world were Denmark and New Zealand, which tied for first place with a score of 87. The top 10 least corrupt countries were:

  1. Denmark
  2. New Zealand
  3. Finland
  4. Singapore
  5. Sweden
  6. Switzerland
  7. Norway
  8. the Netherlands
  9. Germany
  10. Luxembourg

For all the problems the United States has, it’s actually toward the top of the list of the most and least corrupt countries. The nation scored a 69, putting it below most of Europe but well above the countries that scored the lowest on the index. The Americas had an average regional score of 43.

How to improve corruption

Transparency International reports that anti-corruption movements picked up momentum last year. Protesters made their voices heard in Latin America, North Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. To improve corruption, the organization said governments must strengthen their checks and balances, limit big money’s influence in politics, and “ensure broad input in political decision-making.”

The organization also recommends that governments better manage their conflicts of interest, control their political financing, strengthen their electoral integrity, regulate lobbying activities, tackle preferential treatment, empower citizens to make changes, and reinforce their checks and balances.

Transparency International said corruption is more widespread in “countries were big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.”

Over the last eight years, just 22 countries saw significant improvements in their corruption scores. The most-improved countries are Greece, Guyana and Estonia. On the other hand, many countries saw significant declines in their scores. The countries in which corruption worsened significantly include Canada, Nicaragua and Australia.

Our Editorial Standards

At ValueWalk, we’re committed to providing accurate, research-backed information. Our editors go above and beyond to ensure our content is trustworthy and transparent.

Michelle Jones

Want Financial Guidance Sent Straight to You?

  • Pop your email in the box, and you'll receive bi-weekly emails from ValueWalk.
  • We never send spam — only the latest financial news and guides to help you take charge of your financial future.