The Germany-based watchdog Transparency International released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index for 2011 today, ranking 183 countries on their level of public accountability.
With the Occupy Wall Street movement going global with its message against economic inequality and the Arab Spring wiping out decades-long dictatorships in the Middle East and North Africa, it's clear this issue is one the world has been paying attention to this year.
“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.
The watchdog ranks countries from a score of zero to 10, with a score of 10 meaning a country is the most transparent. Its scores are based on opinion surveys that assess the level of corruption based on "perception."
More from GlobalPost: Botswana is Africa's least corrupt country
According to Transparency International:
These surveys and assessments include questions related to the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts. Perceptions are used because corruption is to a great extent a hidden activity that is difficult to measure.
According to the organizations index, the least corrupt countries in the world are:
1. New Zealand
Somalia and North Korea tied for the most corrupt country in the world, with both countries receiving a score of one.
Click through the slideshow above to find out what other countries Transparency International ranked as the most corrupt.