19. United States
20. (tie) Uruguay
22. (tie) France
22. (tie) Saint Lucia
25. (tie) Ireland
Countries are ranked on "perception" of corruption because statistical collection of illegal activities "are deliberately hidden and only come to light through scandals, investigations and prosecutions," the Transparency Index web site says. "Capturing perceptions of corruption of those in a position to offer assessments of public sector corruption is the most reliable method of comparing relative corruption levels across countries."
Countries were assessed on a sliding scale ranging from 0 for "highly corrupt" to 100 for "very clean."
"While no country scored a perfect score, the majority of countries scored below 50, indicating a serious corruption problem," said Huguette Labelle, the chair of Transparency International, in a news release. "This translates into human suffering with poor families being extorted for bribes to see doctors or to get access to clean drinking water."
"Equally damaging is the failure of basic services such as education or public infrastructure because public money is being skimmed off by corrupt leaders. Corruption amounts to a 'dirty tax,' one that hits the poorest and the most vulnerable."