These Are the 15 Most Corrupt Countries in the World

Protesters stalk the streets in Venezuela, one of the world's most corrupt countries

Protesters stalk the streets in Venezuela, one of the world’s most corrupt countries | Leo Ramirez/AFP/Getty Images

Corruption and economic turmoil often go hand-in-hand. In western nations, we often see corruption come to light as the result of whistleblowers or journalistic efforts. But in many other areas of the world, corruption plays a major role in fostering staggering poverty and broken economic systems. Often, this kneecaps a nation’s ability to function.

In some countries, specific power structures and government architectures provide an easier means for corrupt officials to exploit the system. Many governments have their roots in constitutions written generations ago and have outgrown their current systems. Other countries simply lack a centralized power structure.

How do you quantify corruption? Transparency International has managed to do it by developing a comprehensive list of the world’s most corrupt countries. And the countries that top the list probably won’t come as much of a surprise. The annual report ranks countries on a scale from 0 to 100, with zero being the most corrupt, and 100 being the least.

Ranking worldwide corruption

The following pages detail the 15 countries that topped the list, in terms of the most corrupt.

Although not among the top fifteen, we’ve also included the United States to give some perspective as to where America ranks internationally. By Transparency International’s calculations and scale, the U.S. is doing quite well — but we’ll get to that. Other countries you might expect to see like Russia, Mexico, or Venezuela all have their places as well.

Here are the most corrupt nations in the world, as ranked by Transparency International’s 2015 report.