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Somalia, Afghanistan and (you guessed it) North Korea scored lowest on this year's Corruption Perception Index, an annual examination by Transparency International of the level of perceived public sector corruption in 177 countries. 

Denmark and New Zealand appear to be the least corrupt, each scoring 91 out of 100 possible points. To measure perceived corruption, Transparency relied on thirteen global data sources, such as the World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey 2013 and the Bertelsmann Foundation Sustainable Governance Indicators 2014, to draw conclusions on how experts perceived corruption in each country over the past 24 months.

The various surveys included questions like, "to what extent are public officeholders who abuse their positions prosecuted or penalized?" and "to what extent does the government successfully contain corruption?" Transparency International explains that measuring perceived corruption is the best way to assess countries for graft because "there is no meaningful way to assess absolute levels of corruption in countries or territories on the basis of hard empirical data."

The United States got an OK score of 73, ranking 19 out of 177 for the second consecutive year. Spain was one of the most changed countries, relative to last year, dropping six points thanks to some heavily publicized embezzlement scandals. Syria lost the most points from 2012. This year the civil-war torn country scored 17 points, putting it in 168th place. Last year, the country had 26 points and ranked at 144. 

Interactive map courtesy of Transparency International. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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