What are the most democratic countries in the world?


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The Economist Intelligence Unit has launched the tenth edition of its Democracy Index, based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, government operation, political participation and political culture.

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The ranking of the best democracies in the world

According to the score obtained (from 0 to 10) in each of the categories, countries are classified as: complete democracy, defective democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime.

In the 2017 Democracy Index, the average grade was 5.48, compared to 5.52 the previous year. Not a single region experienced an improvement with respect to 2016 and 89 of the 167 countries participating in the index (which covers almost the entire population of the world) saw their scores decrease.

In view of the results, almost half of the world's population lives in a democracy of some kind, although only 4.5% live in what is called "complete democracy" (that is, with a score greater than 8 in the index).

Estocolmo, Suecia

Stockholm, Sweden © Alamy

In turn, about one third of the world's population lives under an authoritarian regime, with a large proportion in China

The United States already fell in 2016 to the category of "defective democracy", citing "the low esteem in which American voters have their government, elected representatives and political parties."

At the top of the ranking is Norway, which holds the position of the most democratic country since 2010. Of the top 10 complete democracies on the list, 7 are European countries (Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Finland and Switzerland).

Spain is ranked 19th in the rankíng, being the last of the states considered as complete democracies. Our score fell 0.22 points compared to last year, which puts us only 0.08 points from the threshold of defective democracy.

Copenhague alt=

Copenhagen, Denmark © Alamy

In the range of defective democracies we find countries such as Portugal, Italy, France, Chile, Belgium, United States, Japan or Taiwan.

Hybrid regimes include Bolivia, Ukraine, Albania, Georgia, Kenya, Nepal, Thailand and Nicaragua, among others.

Finally, in the ranking queue, corresponding to authoritarian regimes, are countries such as Venezuela, Cameroon, Cuba, Rwanda, Vietnam or North Korea (the last in the list).

Zurich, Suiza

Zurich, Switzerland © Alamy

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The ranking of the best democracies in the world