Transparency International has released its 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index which gauges levels of perceived public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories around the world. The index scores them on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (clean) with the average score just 43 out of 100. More than two thirds of countries scored lower than 50, as 131 countries have made "no significant progress against corruption over the last decade." The research found that anti-corruption efforts have stalled last year, as many countries used the Covid-19 pandemic "as an excuse to curtail basic freedoms and side-step important checks and balances."
In 2021, the countries with the lowest perceived level of public sector corruption were Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, each with a score of 88, followed by Norway, Singapore and Sweden at 85. The opposite end of the index saw South Sudan scoring just 11, making it the world's most corruption-stricken country. Syria and Somalia were close behind with a score of 13, followed by Venezuela and Yemen at 14 and 16 points, respectively.
The United States only came in 27th with a score of 67, unchanged from last year's lowest score since 2012. Despite the Biden administraion establishing corruption as a core national security concern, Transparency International notes that the country's lack of progress on the CPI can be explained by the "persistent attacks against free and fair elections, culminating in a violent assault on the U.S. Capitol, and an increasingly opaque campaign finance system."