The financial and the foreclosure crisis have contributed to the United States' decline on a global corruption index, released by the watchdog group Transparency International. The U.S. ranked 22nd of 178 countries with a score of 7.1 on the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, down from 19th last year. The scores are based on a scale of 0 to 10, with low scores perceived to have high corruption and higher scores indicating less perceived corruption. This year's rating for the U.S. is its lowest since the index began. TI defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain. The still-lingering effects of the financial crisis and the recent revelations over robo-signing foreclosure documents in the U.S. has hurt public integrity and confidence, Nancy Boswell, president of Transparency International-USA told Bloomberg News. Transparency and accountability are critical to restoring trust and reducing corruption, the report said. The index points out that many countries that saw a decline in their ranking were most affected by the global financial crisis. Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore tied for first place, indicating the lowest corruption, with scores of 9.3. Unstable governments, including Afghanistan and Myanmar, dominated the bottom of the list with Somalia coming in last with a score of 1.1. Sarah Mueller is an editorial assistant at HousingWire.