Democracy Index: Best & Worst Democracies in the World

15 Sep 2023  Read 6476 Views

'Democracy' is made from two words, 'demos' and 'kratos', which mean 'citizen' and 'power', respectively and one of the tools measuring it is known as the 'Democracy Index'.

Let’s ease this topic for you. Consider the Democracy Index similar to a report card that tells you how well a country is doing when it comes to being democratic. Imagine it as a giant scoreboard where countries are ranked based on how free & fair their elections are, how much they respect human rights etc.

So, some countries will be the best students, meaning they have very strong democracies, while others are the worst students, meaning they have to work a lot to improve their democracies. 

Let's take a closer look at which countries are considered the best and the worst in the world when it comes to democracy.  

Celebrating the International Day of Democracy: What do you mean by democracy?

Democracy in simple words means, for the people, by the people and of the people. It is a system of government in which laws, policies, leadership & major undertakings of a state or other polity are directly or indirectly decided by the “people,” that is; all adult citizens.

In other words, Democracy refers to a system where the citizens of a country have the state power to elect their leaders and exercise their right to participate in decision-making processes. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) established the International Day of Democracy in 2007 through a resolution. Since then, September 15th is celebrated as the International Day of Democracy.

What is the Democracy Index?

2022 was a year that witnessed war in Europe along with the Covid pandemic ease. But despite the rolling back of public health restrictions, democracy didn't bounce back in most world regions. Let’s first understand what democracy index means.

  • The Democracy Index is a way of measuring the health of democracy worldwide.

  • It has been in existence since 2006 and compiled by ‘The Economist Intelligence Unit’, which provides an overview of how well democracy is working in 165 independent states and territories

  • Countries are ranked numerically and categorized based on their democratic score. 

  • This index is very useful as it allows for year-on-year comparison globally, making it possible to track the progress of countries working to become a full democracy, as well as those who are deviating towards authoritarianism.

How can democracy be measured?

Quantifying democracy may seem like a foolish task as the spirit of democracy is surely an intangible thing. We witness it in our day-to-day lives such as bringing your child to school, so they can use their education as a base for their bright future. As we cannot possibly measure how democracy impacts our daily life, it is possible to assess how well the systems which maintain democracy are respected. 

So, the Democracy Index examines 60 indicators related to the democratic processes of a country in wide categories: electoral processes, civil liberties, political participation, functioning of government, and political culture. 

Source: Unsplash

India’s score in Democratic Index 2022

India after standing between 7 & 8 between 2006 and 2018, its democracy index fell to 6.6 in 2020, before increasing to above 7 again in 2022. So, with an index score of 7.04, India ranked higher than various other countries worldwide. Countries are given a score from 0 to 10 & scores closer to 10 means that the country is more democratic.

Which were the most democratic countries in 2022?

According to the Democracy Index 2022, Norway continues to be the most democratic country in the world sharing the upper ranks with New Zealand, who came in 2nd place.

1. Norway (Most democratic)

Democracy Score: 9.75/10

2. New Zealand

Democracy Score: 9.37/10

3. Finland

Democracy Score: 9.27/10

4. Sweden

Democracy Score: 9.26/10

5. Iceland

Democracy Score: 9.18/10

6. Denmark

Democracy Score: 9.09/10

7. Ireland

Democracy Score: 9.00/10

8. Taiwan

Democracy Score: 8.99/10

9. Australia

Democracy score: 8.90/10

Afghanistan- 0.32/10 (Worst Democracies in the World)

Conclusion

As per the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), only 8% of the world’s population actually lives in a “fully functioning democracy” while 37% of people live in “flawed democracy” and the rest 55% of the world does not live in democracy at all.  Events such as the Russia- Ukraine war, long-lasting COVID-19 pandemic etc. have caused a major decline to a country's democracy scores in recent years.

What are your views on the same?

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 275 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Manager at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course). She is a patent analyst & had also done advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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