Democracy Index

Wikimedia list article
The Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy index map for 2016.[1]
Bluer colors represent more democratic countries.
The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the UK based Economist Intelligence Unit, that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are UN member states. The index was first produced for 2006, with updates for 2008, 2010 and the following years since then. The index is based on 60 indicators grouped in five different categories measuring pluralism, civil liberties, and political culture. In addition to a numeric score and a ranking, the index categorizes countries as one of four regime types full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.


As described in the report,[2] the democracy index is a weighted average based on the answers of 60 questions, each one with either two or three permitted alternative answers. Most answers are "experts' assessments"; the report does not indicate what kinds of experts, nor their number, nor whether the experts are employees of the Economist Intelligence Unit or independent scholars, nor the nationalities of the experts. Some answers are provided by public-opinion surveys from the respective countries. In the case of countries for which survey results are missing, survey results for similar countries and expert assessments are used in order to fill in gaps.
The questions are distributed in the five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation, and political culture. Each answer is translated to a mark, either 0 or 1, or for the three-answer alternative questions, 0.5. With the exceptions mentioned below, the sums are added within each category, multiplied by ten, and divided by the total number of questions within the category. There are a few modifying dependencies, which are explained much more precisely than the main rule procedures. In a few cases, an answer yielding zero for one question voids another question; e.g., if the elections for the national legislature and head of government are not considered free (question 1), then the next question, "Are elections... fair?" is not considered, but automatically marked zero. Likewise, there are a few questions considered so important that a low score on them yields a penalty on the total score sum for their respective categories, namely:
  1. "Whether national elections are free and fair";
  2. "The security of voters";
  3. "The influence of foreign powers on government";
  4. "The capability of the civil servants to implement policies".
The four category indices, which are listed in the report, are then averaged to find the democracy index for a given country. Finally, the democracy index, rounded to one decimal, decides the regime type classification of the country.
The report discusses other indices of democracy, as defined e.g. by Freedom House, and argues for some of the choices made by the team from the Economist Intelligence Unit. In this comparison, a higher emphasis has been put on the public opinion and attitudes, as measured by surveys, but on the other hand, economic living standard has not been weighted as one criterion of democracy (as seemingly some other investigators[who?] have done).[3][4]
The report is widely cited in the international press as well as in peer reviewed academic journals.[5]

Classification definitionsEdit

Full democracies are nations where civil liberties and basic political freedoms are not only respected, but also reinforced by a political culture conducive to the thriving of democratic principles. These nations have a valid system of governmental checks and balances, independent judiciary whose decisions are enforced, governments which function adequately, and media which is diverse and independent. These nations have only limited problems in democratic functioning.[6]
Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honored but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement). Nonetheless, these nations have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.[6]
Hybrid regimes are nations where consequential irregularities exist in elections regularly preventing them from being fair and free. These nations commonly have governments which apply pressure on political opponents, non independent judiciaries, widespread corruption, harassment and pressure placed on the media, anemic rule of law, and more pronounced faults than flawed democracies in the realms of underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.[6]
Authoritarian regimes are nations where political pluralism has vanished or is extremely limited. These nations are often absolute dictatorships, may have some conventional institutions of democracy- but with meager significance, infringements and abuses of civil liberties are commonplace, elections- if they take place- are not fair and free, the media is often state-owned or controlled by groups associated with the ruling regime, the judiciary is not independent, and the presence of omnipresent censorship and suppression of governmental criticism.[6]

Changes from 2010 onwardsEdit

According to the issue of the index for 2012, Norway scored a total of 9.93 on a scale from zero to ten, keeping the first-place position it has held since 2010, when it replaced Sweden as the highest-ranked country in the index. North Korea scored the lowest with 1.08, remaining at the bottom in 167th place, the same as in 2010 and 2011.[2]
There was no significant improvement or regression in democracy between 2011 and 2012. In 2012 the index score stayed the same for 73 out of 167 countries, improved for 54 countries, and declined for 40. Libya experienced the biggest increase of any country in its score in 2012. Average regional scores in 2012 were very similar to scores in 2011. An exception is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where the average score increased by more than a tenth of a point, from 3.62 to 3.73 and three countries moved from authoritarian to hybrid regimes (Egypt, Libya, Morocco).[2]
The Democracy Index for 2011 highlighted the impact of the Arab Spring and the greater effects it might have, as well as the impact of the global financial crisis in 2007–08 on politics throughout most of Europe. The Democracy Index score was lower in 2011 than in 2010 in 48 countries out of the 167 that are covered. It was higher in 41 ranked countries, and it stayed the same in 78.[7]
In nine countries there was a change in regime type between 2010 and 2011; in four of these there was regression. Russia was downgraded from a hybrid regime to an authoritarian regime, which the report attributes to concerns over the December 4 legislative election and Vladimir Putin's decision to run again in the 2012 presidential election. Portugal was also downgraded to the flawed democracy category, attributed to the effects of the global financial crisis. Tunisia, Mauritania, Egypt, and Niger were all upgraded to hybrid regimes, and Zambia moved up to the flawed democracy category.[7]
In 2016, the United States was downgraded from a full democracy to a flawed democracy. This was partly due to the election of Donald Trump despite him losing the popular vote, but was also a result of a variety of factors ranging from political scandals to decline of public trust in government institutions.[8]

Democracy index by regime typeEdit

The following table gives the number and percentage of countries and the percentage of the world population for each regime type in 2016[1]
Type of regimeScoresNumber of
of countries
Percentage of
world population
Full democracies8 to 101911.44.5
Flawed democracies6 to 7.95734.144.8
Hybrid regimes4 to 5.94024.018.0
Authoritarian regimes  below 4.05130.532.7
World population refers to the total population of the 167 countries covered by the Index. Since this excludes only micro-states, this is nearly equal to the entire estimated world population.

Democracy index by regionEdit

The following table gives the index average by world region, and the number of covered countries in 2016. Note that some regional groups (e.g., the 'Eastern Europe') are very heterogeneous and composed of full democracies as well as authoritarian regimes:
1Northern America28.648.648.638.598.598.598.598.568.56
2Western Europe218.608.618.458.408.448.418.418.428.40
3Latin America and the Caribbean246.376.436.376.356.366.386.366.376.33
4Asia and Australasia285.445.585.535.515.565.615.705.745.74
5Central and Eastern Europe285.765.675.555.505.515.535.585.555.43
6Sub-Saharan Africa444.
7Middle East and North Africa203.543.483.523.623.733.683.653.583.56

Democracy index by country (2016)Edit

Listing by country is available on the Economist website;[1] for by-country tables in Wikipedia using similar measures, see List of freedom indices.
Democracy Index 2016
RankCountryScoreElectoral process
and pluralism
Functioning of
1 Norway9.9310.009.6410.0010.0010.00Full democracy
2 Iceland9.5010.008.938.8910.009.71Full democracy
3 Sweden9.399.589.648.3310.009.41Full democracy
4 New Zealand9.2610.009.298.898.1310.00Full democracy
5 Denmark9.209.589.298.339.389.41Full democracy
6 Canada9.159.589.647.788.7510.00Full democracy
6 Ireland9.159.587.868.3310.0010.00Full democracy
8  Switzerland9.099.589.297.789.389.41Full democracy
9 Finland9.0310.008.937.788.759.71Full democracy
10 Australia9.019.588.937.788.7510.00Full democracy
11 Luxembourg8.8110.008.936.678.759.71Full democracy
12 Netherlands8.809.588.578.338.139.41Full democracy
13 Germany8.639.588.577.787.509.71Full democracy
14 Austria8.419.587.868.336.889.41Full democracy
15 Malta8.399. democracy
16 United Kingdom8.369.587.147.228.759.12Full democracy
17 Spain8.309.587. democracy
18 Mauritius8. democracy
19 Uruguay8.1710.008.934.447.5010.00Full democracy
20 Japan7.998.758.216.677.508.82Flawed democracy
21 United States7.989. democracy
21 Italy7.989.586.437.228.138.53Flawed democracy
23 Cape Verde7.949.177.866.676.889.12Flawed democracy
24 France7.929.587.147.786.258.82Flawed democracy
24 South Korea7.929.177.507.727.508.24Flawed democracy
26 Costa Rica7.889.587.146.116.889.71Flawed democracy
27 Botswana7.879. democracy
28 Portugal7.869.586.796.676.889.41Flawed democracy
29 Israel7.859.177.508.897.506.18Flawed democracy
29 Estonia7.859.587.866.116.888.82Flawed democracy
31 Czech Republic7.829.587.146.676.888.82Flawed democracy
32 India7.819.587.507.225.639.12Flawed democracy
33 Taiwan7.799.588.216.115.639.41Flawed democracy
34 Chile7.789.588.574.446.889.41Flawed democracy
35 Belgium7.779.588.575.006.888.82Flawed democracy
36 Cyprus7.659.176.436.676.889.12Flawed democracy
37 Slovenia7.519.587.146.675.638.53Flawed democracy
38 Lithuania7.479.585.716.116.259.71Flawed democracy
39 South Africa7.417.927.868.335.007.94Flawed democracy
40 Jamaica7.399.176.795.006.889.12Flawed democracy
41 Latvia7.319.585.715.566.888.82Flawed democracy
42 Slovakia7.299.587.145.565.638.53Flawed democracy
43 Timor-Leste7.248.677.145.566.887.94Flawed democracy
44 Greece7.239.585.366.116.258.82Flawed democracy
45 Panama7.139.586.436.115.008.82Flawed democracy
46 Trinidad and Tobago7.109.587.145.565.008.24Flawed democracy
47 Bulgaria7. democracy
48 Indonesia6.977.757.146.676.257.06Flawed democracy
49 Argentina6.969. democracy
50 Philippines6.8110.008.936.678.759.71Flawed democracy
51 Brazil6.909.586.795.563.758.82Flawed democracy
52 Poland6.839.175.716.674.388.24Flawed democracy
53 Suriname6.779.176.435.005.008.24Flawed democracy
54 Croatia6.759.176.075.565.007.94Flawed democracy
54 Ghana6.758.335.716.116.257.35Flawed democracy
56 Hungary6.729.176.074.446.887.06Flawed democracy
57 Dominican Republic6.678.755.715.006.257.65Flawed democracy
57 Colombia6.679.177.144.444.388.24Flawed democracy
59 Peru6.659.175.366.114.388.24Flawed democracy
60 El Salvador6.649.176.074.445.008.53Flawed democracy
61 Romania6.629.175.715.005.008.24Flawed democracy
61 Mongolia6.629.175.715.005.008.24Flawed democracy
63 Lesotho6.598.255.366.675.637.06Flawed democracy
64 Serbia6.578.755.366.675.007.06Flawed democracy
65 Malaysia6.546.927.866.116.255.59Flawed democracy
66 Sri Lanka6.487.836.795.006.885.88Flawed democracy
67 Mexico6.477.926.077.224.386.76Flawed democracy
68 Hong Kong6.423.925.715.567.509.41Flawed democracy
69 Tunisia6.406.006.077.786.255.58Flawed democracy
70 Singapore6.384.337.866.616.257.35Flawed democracy
71 Namibia6.315.675.366.675.638.24Flawed democracy
72 Paraguay6.278.335.715.004.387.94Flawed democracy
73 Guyana6.258.335.366.114.387.06Flawed democracy
74 Senegal6.217.925.364.446.257.06Flawed democracy
75 Papua New Guinea6.036.926.073.895.637.65Flawed democracy
76 Moldova6.017.924.296.114.387.35Flawed democracy
77 Zambia5.997.085.363.896.886.76Hybrid regime
78 Georgia5.938.674. regime
79 Honduras5.929.175.713.894.386.47Hybrid regime
79 Guatemala5.927.926.073.894.387.35Hybrid regime
81 Albania5.917.004.365.565.007.65Hybrid regime
82 Ecuador5.818.254.645.004.386.76Hybrid regime
83 Tanzania5.767.005.005.566.255.00Hybrid regime
84 Bangladesh5.737.425.075.004.386.76Hybrid regime
85 Montenegro5.727.085.365.004.386.76Hybrid regime
86 Ukraine5.705.833.936.675.007.06Hybrid regime
86 Mali5.707.423.934.446.256.47Hybrid regime
88 Benin5.676.505.365.005.635.88Hybrid regime
89 Fiji5.644.585.716.675.635.59Hybrid regime
90 Bolivia5.637.005.365.003.757.06Hybrid regime
91 Malawi5.556.584.294.446.256.18Hybrid regime
92 Kenya5.334.335.006.675.635.00Hybrid regime
93 Liberia5.317.832.575.565.005.59Hybrid regime
94 Uganda5.265.253.574.446.886.18Hybrid regime
95 Macedonia5.236.923.216.113.756.18Hybrid regime
96 Madagascar5.075.923.575.565.634.71Hybrid regime
97 Turkey5.045.836.075.005.632.65Hybrid regime
98 Kyrgyzstan4.937.422.935.563.755.00Hybrid regime
98 Bhutan4.938.335.362.784.383.82Hybrid regime
100 Thailand4.924.503.935.005.006.18Hybrid regime
101 Bosnia and Herzegovina4.876.502.935.003.756.18Hybrid regime
102 Lebanon4.864.422.147.784.385.59Hybrid regime
102   Nepal4.864.334.294.445.635.59Hybrid regime
104 Nicaragua4.814.503.293.895.636.76Hybrid regime
105 Morocco4.774.754.644.445.634.41Hybrid regime
106 Burkina Faso4.704.424.294.445.634.71Hybrid regime
107 Venezuela4.685.672.505.564.385.29Hybrid regime
108 Sierra Leone4.555.681.862.786.255.29Hybrid regime
109 Nigeria4.506.084.293.334.384.41Hybrid regime
110 Palestine4.494.332.147.784.383.82Hybrid regime
111 Pakistan4.336.005.362.782.505.00Hybrid regime
112 Cambodia4.273.175.713.335.004.12Hybrid regime
113 Myanmar4.203.173.574.446.882.94Hybrid regime
114 Iraq4.084.330.077.224.384.41Hybrid regime
115 Mozambique4.024.422. regime
115 Haiti4. regime
117 Mauritania3.963.
117 Jordan3.964.004.293.894.383.24Authoritarian
117 Niger3.964.752.212.223.756.76Authoritarian
120 Armenia3.884.332.864.441.885.88Authoritarian
121 Kuwait3.853.174.293.894.383.53Authoritarian
122 Ivory Coast3.813.422.863.335.633.82Authoritarian
123 Gabon3.742.582.214.445.633.82Authoritarian
124 Comoros3.714.332.214.443.753.82Authoritarian
125 Ethiopia3.600.003.575.565.633.24Authoritarian
126 Algeria3.562.582.213.895.004.12Authoritarian
127 Belarus3.541.333.573.896.252.65Authoritarian
128 Cameroon3.462.003.213.894.383.82Authoritarian
128 Cuba3.461.754.643.894.382.65Authoritarian
130 Angola3.400.923.215.564.382.94Authoritarian
131 Vietnam3.380.003.213.896.882.94Authoritarian
132 Togo3.323.581.142.785.004.12Authoritarian
133 Egypt3.312.583.933.333.752.94Authoritarian
134 Russia3.242.672.505.002.503.53Authoritarian
135 Qatar3.180.003.932.225.634.12Authoritarian
136 Guinea3.143.500.434.444.382.94Authoritarian
136 China3.140.004.643.336.251.47Authoritarian
138 Rwanda3.070.835.002.224.382.94Authoritarian
139 Kazakhstan3.060.502.144.444.383.82Authoritarian
140 Zimbabwe3.050.502.003.895.633.24Authoritarian
141 Oman3.040.003.932.784.384.12Authoritarian
142 Swaziland3.030.922.862.225.633.53Authoritarian
143 Republic of the Congo2.911.672.863.333.752.94Authoritarian
143 Gambia2.911.753.
145 Djibouti2.830.422.143.335.632.65Authoritarian
146 Bahrain2.791.253.212.784.382.35Authoritarian
147 United Arab Emirates2.750.003.572.225.002.94Authoritarian
148 Azerbaijan2.650.502.143.333.753.53Authoritarian
149 Afghanistan2.552.501.142.782.503.82Authoritarian
150 Burundi2.40-0.330.793.895.002.65Authoritarian
151 Sudan2.370.001.793.895.001.18Authoritarian
151 Eritrea2.370.002.141.676.881.18Authoritarian
151 Laos2.370.832.861.675.001.47Authoritarian
154 Iran2.340.003.213.893.131.47Authoritarian
155 Libya2.
156 Yemen2.
157 Guinea-Bissau1.981.670.002.783.132.35Authoritarian
158 Uzbekistan1.950.081.862.225.000.59Authoritarian
159 Democratic Republic of the Congo1.930.920.712.784.380.88Authoritarian
159 Saudi Arabia1.930.002.862.223.131.47Authoritarian
161 Tajikistan1.890.580.071.676.250.88Authoritarian
162 Turkmenistan1.830.000.792.785.000.59Authoritarian
163 Equatorial Guinea1.700.000.432.224.381.47Authoritarian
164 Central African Republic1.611.750.361.112.502.35Authoritarian
165 Chad1.500.
166 Syria1.430.000.002.784.380.00Authoritarian
167 North Korea1.080.002.501.671.250.00Authoritarian