Democracy Index

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The Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy index map for 2015.
Greener colours represent more democratic countries.

The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the 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 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.

The index was first produced for 2006, with updates for 2008, 2010 and the following years since then. The earlier versions are fully open access, the 2015 document requires registration.

Method[edit]

As described in the report,[1] 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).[2][3]

The report is widely cited in the international press as well as in peer reviewed academic journals.[4]

Changes from 2010 onwards[edit]

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.[1]

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).[1]

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.[5]

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.[5]

Democracy index by regime type[edit]

The following table gives the number and percentage of countries and the percentage of the world population for each regime type in 2015[6]

Type of regime Scores Number of
countries
Percentage
of countries
Percentage of
world population
Full democracies 8.01 to 10 20 12.0 8.9
Flawed democracies 6.01 to 8.0 59 35.3 39.5
Hybrid regimes 4.01 to 6.0 36 22.2 17.5
Authoritarian regimes   0 to 4.0 52 30.5 34.1

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 region[edit]

The following table gives the index average by world region, and the number of covered countries in 2015. Note that some regional groups (e.g., the 'Eastern Europe') are very heterogeneous and composed of full democracies as well as authoritarian regimes:

Rank Region Countries 2006[3] 2008[7] 2010[8] 2011[5] 2012[1] 2013[9] 2014[10] 2015[6]
1 Northern America 2 8.64 8.64 8.63 8.59 8.59 8.59 8.59 8.56
2 Western Europe 21 8.60 8.61 8.45 8.40 8.44 8.41 8.41 8.42
3 Latin America and the Caribbean 24 6.37 6.43 6.37 6.35 6.36 6.38 6.36 6.37
4 Asia and Australasia 28 5.44 5.58 5.53 5.51 5.56 5.61 5.70 5.74
5 Central and Eastern Europe 28 5.76 5.67 5.55 5.50 5.51 5.53 5.58 5.55
6 Sub-Saharan Africa 44 4.24 4.28 4.23 4.32 4.33 4.36 4.34 4.38
7 Middle East and North Africa 20 3.54 3.48 3.52 3.62 3.73 3.68 3.65 3.58
  World 167 5.52 5.55 5.46 5.49 5.52 5.53 5.55 5.55

Democracy index by country (2015)[edit]

Listing by country is available on the Economist website;[6] for by-country tables in Wikipedia using similar measures, see List of freedom indices.

Democracy Index 2015
Rank Country Score Electoral process
and pluralism
Functioning of
government
Political
participation
Political
culture
Civil
liberties
Category
1  Norway 9.93 10.00 9.64 10.00 10.00 10.00 Full democracy
2  Iceland 9.58 10.00 9.29 8.89 10.00 9.71 Full democracy
3  Sweden 9.45 9.58 9.64 8.33 10.00 9.71 Full democracy
4  New Zealand 9.26 10.00 9.29 8.89 8.13 10.00 Full democracy
5  Denmark 9.11 9.17 9.29 8.33 9.38 9.41 Full democracy
6   Switzerland 9.09 9.58 9.29 7.78 9.38 9.41 Full democracy
7  Canada 9.08 9.58 9.29 7.78 8.75 10.00 Full democracy
8  Finland 9.03 10.00 8.93 7.78 8.75 9.71 Full democracy
9  Australia 9.01 9.58 8.93 7.78 8.75 10.00 Full democracy
10  Netherlands 8.92 9.58 8.57 8.89 8.13 9.41 Full democracy
11  Luxembourg 8.88 10.00 9.29 6.67 8.75 9.71 Full democracy
12  Ireland 8.85 9.58 7.50 7.78 9.38 10.00 Full democracy
13  Germany 8.64 9.58 8.57 7.78 8.13 9.12 Full democracy
14  Austria 8.54 9.58 7.86 8.33 7.50 9.41 Full democracy
15  Malta 8.39 9.17 8.21 6.11 8.75 9.71 Full democracy
16  United Kingdom 8.31 9.58 7.14 6.67 8.75 9.41 Full democracy
17  Spain 8.30 9.58 7.14 7.22 8.13 9.41 Full democracy
18  Mauritius 8.28 9.17 8.21 5.56 8.75 9.71 Full democracy
19  Uruguay 8.17 10.00 8.93 4.44 7.50 10.00 Full democracy
20  United States 8.05 9.17 7.50 7.22 8.13 8.24 Full democracy
21  Italy 7.98 9.58 6.43 7.22 8.13 8.53 Flawed democracy
22  South Korea 7.97 8.75 7.86 7.22 7.50 8.53 Flawed democracy
23  Japan 7.96 9.17 8.21 6.11 7.50 8.82 Flawed democracy
23  Costa Rica 7.96 9.58 7.50 6.11 6.88 9.71 Flawed democracy
25  Czech Republic 7.94 9.58 7.14 6.67 6.88 9.41 Flawed democracy
26  Belgium 7.93 9.58 8.21 5.56 6.88 9.41 Flawed democracy
27  France 7.92 9.58 7.14 7.78 6.25 8.82 Flawed democracy
28  Botswana 7.87 9.17 7.14 6.11 7.50 9.41 Flawed democracy
29  Estonia 7.85 9.58 7.86 6.11 6.88 8.82 Flawed democracy
30  Chile 7.84 9.58 8.57 4.44 6.88 9.71 Flawed democracy
31  Taiwan 7.83 9.58 7.86 6.67 5.63 9.41 Flawed democracy
32  Cape Verde 7.81 9.17 7.86 6.67 6.25 9.12 Flawed democracy
33  Portugal 7.79 9.58 6.43 6.67 6.88 9.41 Flawed democracy
34  Israel 7.77 9.17 7.14 8.89 7.50 6.18 Flawed democracy
35  India 7.74 9.58 7.14 7.22 5.63 9.12 Flawed democracy
36  Slovenia 7.57 9.58 7.14 6.67 5.63 8.82 Flawed democracy
37  South Africa 7.56 8.33 8.21 8.33 5.00 7.94 Flawed democracy
38  Lithuania 7.54 9.58 6.07 6.11 6.25 9.71 Flawed democracy
39  Cyprus 7.53 9.17 6.43 6.67 6.25 9.12 Flawed democracy
40  Greece 7.45 9.58 5.36 6.67 6.25 9.41 Flawed democracy
41  Jamaica 7.39 9.17 6.79 5.00 6.88 9.12 Flawed democracy
42  Latvia 7.37 9.58 5.71 5.56 6.88 9.12 Flawed democracy
43  Slovakia 7.29 9.58 7.50 5.56 5.00 8.82 Flawed democracy
44  Timor-Leste 7.24 8.67 7.14 5.56 6.88 7.94 Flawed democracy
45  Panama 7.19 9.58 6.43 6.11 5.00 8.82 Flawed democracy
46  Bulgaria 7.14 9.17 6.07 7.22 5.00 8.24 Flawed democracy
47  Trinidad and Tobago 7.10 9.58 7.14 5.56 5.00 8.24 Flawed democracy
48  Poland 7.09 9.58 5.71 6.67 4.38 9.12 Flawed democracy
49  Indonesia 7.03 7.75 7.14 6.67 6.25 7.35 Flawed democracy
50  Argentina 7.02 9.17 5.00 6.11 6.88 7.94 Flawed democracy
51  Brazil 6.96 9.58 6.79 5.56 3.75 9.12 Flawed democracy
52  Croatia 6.93 9.17 6.07 5.56 5.63 8.24 Flawed democracy
53  Ghana 6.86 8.33 5.71 6.67 6.25 7.35 Flawed democracy
54  Philippines 6.84 8.33 5.71 6.67 4.38 9.12 Flawed democracy
54  Hungary 6.84 9.17 6.07 4.44 6.88 7.65 Flawed democracy
56  Suriname 6.77 9.17 6.43 5.00 5.00 8.24 Flawed democracy
57  Tunisia 6.72 7.00 6.07 7.78 6.88 5.88 Flawed democracy
58  Serbia 6.71 9.17 5.36 6.67 5.00 7.35 Flawed democracy
59  Romania 6.68 9.17 5.71 5.00 5.00 8.53 Flawed democracy
60  Dominican Republic 6.67 8.75 5.71 5.00 6.25 7.65 Flawed democracy
61  El Salvador 6.64 9.17 6.07 4.44 5.00 8.53 Flawed democracy
62  Mongolia 6.62 9.17 5.71 5.00 5.00 8.24 Flawed democracy
62  Colombia 6.62 9.17 7.14 3.89 4.38 8.53 Flawed democracy
64  Lesotho 6.59 8.25 5.36 6.67 5.63 7.06 Flawed democracy
65  Peru 6.58 9.17 5.00 6.11 4.38 8.24 Flawed democracy
66  Mexico 6.55 8.33 6.07 7.22 4.38 6.76 Flawed democracy
67  Hong Kong 6.50 4.33 5.71 5.56 7.50 9.41 Flawed democracy
68  Malaysia 6.43 6.92 7.86 5.56 6.25 5.59 Flawed democracy
69  Sri Lanka 6.42 7.83 6.79 5.00 6.88 5.59 Flawed democracy
70  Moldova 6.35 7.92 4.29 6.67 4.38 8.53 Flawed democracy
71  Paraguay 6.33 8.33 5.71 5.00 4.38 8.24 Flawed democracy
72  Namibia 6.31 5.67 5.36 6.67 5.63 8.24 Flawed democracy
73  Zambia 6.28 7.92 5.36 3.89 6.88 7.35 Flawed democracy
74  Singapore 6.14 4.33 7.50 5.56 6.25 7.06 Flawed democracy
75  Senegal 6.08 7.92 5.36 4.44 5.63 7.06 Flawed democracy
76  Guyana 6.05 7.92 5.36 5.56 4.38 7.06 Flawed democracy
77  Papua New Guinea 6.03 6.92 6.07 3.89 5.63 7.65 Flawed democracy
78  Macedonia 6.02 7.33 4.64 6.11 4.38 7.65 Flawed democracy
79  Montenegro 6.01 7.92 5.71 5.00 4.38 7.06 Flawed democracy
80  Guatemala 5.92 7.92 6.07 3.89 4.38 7.35 Hybrid regime
81  Albania 5.91 7.00 4.36 5.56 5.00 7.65 Hybrid regime
82  Georgia 5.88 8.67 4.29 5.56 5.00 5.88 Hybrid regime
83  Ecuador 5.87 8.25 4.64 5.00 4.38 7.06 Hybrid regime
84  Honduras 5.84 8.75 5.71 3.89 4.38 6.47 Hybrid regime
85  Bolivia 5.75 7.00 5.36 5.00 3.75 7.65 Hybrid regime
86  Bangladesh 5.73 7.42 5.07 5.00 4.38 6.76 Hybrid regime
87  Benin 5.72 6.92 5.71 4.44 5.63 5.88 Hybrid regime
88  Ukraine 5.70 5.83 3.93 6.67 5.00 7.06 Hybrid regime
88  Mali 5.70 7.42 3.93 4.44 6.25 6.47 Hybrid regime
90  Fiji 5.69 4.58 5.71 6.67 5.63 5.88 Hybrid regime
91  Tanzania 5.58 7.00 5.00 5.00 5.63 5.29 Hybrid regime
92  Malawi 5.55 6.58 4.29 4.44 6.25 6.18 Hybrid regime
93  Kyrgyzstan 5.33 7.83 3.29 5.56 5.00 5.00 Hybrid regime
93  Kenya 5.33 4.33 5.00 6.67 5.63 5.00 Hybrid regime
95  Nicaragua 5.26 6.17 3.29 4.44 5.63 6.76 Hybrid regime
96  Uganda 5.22 5.67 3.57 4.44 6.25 6.18 Hybrid regime
97  Turkey 5.12 6.67 5.36 5.00 5.63 2.94 Hybrid regime
98  Thailand 5.09 4.50 3.93 5.56 5.00 6.47 Hybrid regime
99  Venezuela 5.00 6.08 3.93 5.00 4.38 5.59 Hybrid regime
100  Liberia 4.95 7.83 0.79 5.56 5.00 5.59 Hybrid regime
101  Bhutan 4.93 8.33 5.36 2.78 4.38 3.82 Hybrid regime
102  Lebanon 4.86 4.42 2.14 7.78 4.38 5.59 Hybrid regime
103  Madagascar 4.85 5.50 2.86 5.56 5.63 4.71 Hybrid regime
104  Bosnia and Herzegovina 4.83 6.50 2.93 3.89 4.38 6.47 Hybrid regime
105    Nepal 4.77 3.92 4.29 4.44 5.63 5.59 Hybrid regime
106  Burkina Faso 4.70 4.42 4.29 4.44 5.63 4.71 Hybrid regime
107  Morocco 4.66 4.75 4.64 3.89 5.63 4.41 Hybrid regime
108  Nigeria 4.62 6.08 4.29 3.33 5.00 4.41 Hybrid regime
109  Mozambique 4.60 4.42 3.57 5.56 5.63 3.82 Hybrid regime
110  Palestine 4.57 4.75 2.14 7.78 4.38 3.82 Hybrid regime
111  Sierra Leone 4.55 6.58 1.86 2.78 6.25 5.29 Hybrid regime
112  Pakistan 4.40 6.00 5.71 2.78 2.50 5.00 Hybrid regime
113  Cambodia 4.27 3.17 5.71 3.33 5.00 4.12 Hybrid regime
114  Myanmar 4.14 3.17 3.57 4.44 6.88 2.65 Hybrid regime
115  Iraq 4.08 4.33 0.07 7.22 4.38 4.41 Hybrid regime
116  Armenia 4.00 4.33 2.86 4.44 2.50 5.88 Hybrid regime
117  Mauritania 3.96 3.00 4.29 5.00 3.13 4.41 Authoritarian
118  Algeria 3.95 3.00 2.21 3.89 6.25 4.41 Authoritarian
119  Haiti 3.94 4.75 2.21 2.22 3.75 6.76 Authoritarian
120  Jordan 3.86 3.58 3.93 3.89 4.38 3.53 Authoritarian
121  Kuwait 3.85 3.17 4.29 3.89 4.38 3.53 Authoritarian
121  Niger 3.85 6.25 1.14 2.78 4.38 4.71 Authoritarian
123  Ethiopia 3.83 0.00 3.57 6.11 5.63 3.82 Authoritarian
124  Gabon 3.76 3.00 2.21 4.44 5.00 4.12 Authoritarian
125  Comoros 3.71 4.33 2.21 4.44 3.75 3.82 Authoritarian
126  Cameroon 3.66 2.00 3.57 3.89 5.00 3.82 Authoritarian
127  Belarus 3.62 1.75 3.57 3.89 6.25 2.65 Authoritarian
128  Vietnam 3.53 0.00 3.93 3.89 6.88 2.94 Authoritarian
129  Cuba 3.52 1.75 4.64 3.89 4.38 2.94 Authoritarian
130  Togo 3.41 4.00 1.14 2.78 5.00 4.12 Authoritarian
131  Angola 3.35 0.92 3.21 5.00 4.38 3.24 Authoritarian
132  Ivory Coast 3.31 0.00 3.21 3.89 5.63 3.82 Authoritarian
132  Russia 3.31 2.67 2.86 5.00 2.50 3.53 Authoritarian
134  Egypt 3.18 3.00 2.86 3.33 3.75 2.94 Authoritarian
134  Qatar 3.18 0.00 3.93 2.22 5.63 4.12 Authoritarian
136  Guinea 3.14 3.50 0.43 4.44 4.38 2.94 Authoritarian
136  China 3.14 0.00 4.64 3.33 6.25 1.47 Authoritarian
138  Swaziland 3.09 0.92 2.86 2.22 5.63 3.82 Authoritarian
139  Rwanda 3.07 0.83 5.00 2.22 4.38 2.94 Authoritarian
140  Kazakhstan 3.06 0.50 2.14 4.44 4.38 3.82 Authoritarian
141  Zimbabwe 3.05 0.50 2.00 3.89 5.63 3.24 Authoritarian
142  Oman 3.04 0.00 3.93 2.78 4.38 4.12 Authoritarian
143  Gambia 2.97 1.33 3.93 2.22 5.00 2.35 Authoritarian
144  Democratic Republic of the Congo 2.91 1.67 2.86 3.33 3.75 2.94 Authoritarian
145  Djibouti 2.90 0.42 2.50 3.33 5.63 2.65 Authoritarian
146  Bahrain 2.79 1.25 3.21 2.78 4.38 2.35 Authoritarian
147  Afghanistan 2.77 2.50 1.14 3.89 2.50 3.82 Authoritarian
148  United Arab Emirates 2.75 0.00 3.57 2.22 5.00 2.94 Authoritarian
149  Azerbaijan 2.71 0.50 2.14 3.33 3.75 3.82 Authoritarian
150  Burundi 2.49 0.50 0.43 3.89 5.00 2.65 Authoritarian
151  Sudan 2.37 0.00 1.79 3.89 5.00 1.18 Authoritarian
151  Eritrea 2.37 0.00 2.14 1.67 6.88 1.18 Authoritarian
153  Libya 2.25 1.00 0.00 1.67 5.63 2.94 Authoritarian
154  Yemen 2.24 0.50 0.36 4.44 5.00 0.88 Authoritarian
155  Laos 2.21 0.00 3.21 1.67 5.00 1.18 Authoritarian
156  Iran 2.16 0.00 2.86 3.33 3.13 1.47 Authoritarian
157  Republic of the Congo 2.11 0.92 0.71 2.78 4.38 1.76 Authoritarian
158  Uzbekistan 1.95 0.08 1.86 2.22 5.00 0.59 Authoritarian
158  Tajikistan 1.95 0.58 0.07 1.67 6.25 1.18 Authoritarian
160  Guinea-Bissau 1.93 1.67 0.00 2.78 3.13 2.06 Authoritarian
160  Saudi Arabia 1.93 0.00 2.86 2.22 3.13 1.47 Authoritarian
162  Turkmenistan 1.83 0.00 0.79 2.78 5.00 0.59 Authoritarian
163  Equatorial Guinea 1.77 0.00 0.79 2.22 4.38 1.47 Authoritarian
164  Central African Republic 1.57 1.33 0.00 1.67 2.50 2.35 Authoritarian
165  Chad 1.50 0.00 0.00 1.11 3.75 2.65 Authoritarian
166  Syria 1.43 0.00 0.00 2.78 4.38 0.00 Authoritarian
167  North Korea 1.08 0.00 2.50 1.67 1.25 0.00 Authoritarian

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Democracy index 2012: Democracy at a standstill" (PDF). Economist Intelligence Unit. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Democracy index 2010". Blog. Direct Democracy UK. December 2010. Archived from the original on March 10, 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Laza Kekic, director, country forecasting services (15 November 2006). "The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracy" (PDF). The World in 2007. Economist Intelligence Unit. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  4. ^ e.g., "Inside the Authoritarian State: More State Than Nation: Lukashenko's Belarus", Dzmitry Yuran, Natalie Manayeva, and Oleg Manaev, Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 65, No. 1 (Fall/Winter 2011), page 93.
  5. ^ a b c "Democracy index 2011: Democracy under stress". Economist Intelligence Unit. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Democracy Index 2015
  7. ^ "Index of Democracy 2008" (PDF). Economist Intelligence Unit. 21 October 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Democracy Index 2010: Democracy in retreat" (PDF). Economist Intelligence Unit. 6 December 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Democracy Index 2013, Democracy Index 2013, Democracy in limbo.
  10. ^ Democracy Index 2014,

External links[edit]