The United States failed to make the top 10 list of economically free countries in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom.
Instead, the top 10 spots went to Denmark, Ireland, Mauritius, Chile, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The United States came in at number 12. The U.S. was ranked number 6 when President Barack Obama took office in 2009.
The economic freedom index, which is jointly published by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation, ranks the top 10 countries based on the average of 10 separate measurements, including government spending, fiscal freedom, trade freedom and freedom from corruption.
America’s spot on the 20th annual index is an “unfortunate but foreseeable slide,” said Heritage President and former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint.
“It should stun everyone,” he said, noting that the U.S. has even managed to fall behind Estonia on the index.
America’s place on the index has declined steadily for the past seven years, resulting in its status as “mostly free.” The decline is due mostly to poor showings in “fiscal freedom, business freedom and property rights,” according to the index.
“Fortunately despair will never be part of what we do here at the Heritage Foundation,” DeMint said. “We’re continuing to work on those factors, those inputs, that change the total output of economic growth.”
Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, New Zealand and Canada, on the other hand, all rank “free.”
America’s fall to 12th place comes even as economies in the Asia-Pacific region report slight improvements.
Lastly, the “communist nations North Korea and Cuba brought up the rear of the index. Several war-torn countries, such as Syria and Afghanistan, were not ranked,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Related: Larry Downes, author of “Big Bang Destruction” joined Real News to discuss what he calls a, “radical new normal for businesses,”- that innovation is now coming from the bottom rather than the top down. But could government regulation be a lurking threat to the progress of innovation?