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Charted: The Number of Democracies Globally

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democracies around the world

Charted: The Number of Democracies Globally

The end of World War II in 1945 was a turning point for democracies around the world.

Before this critical turning point in geopolitics, democracies made up only a small number of the world’s countries, both legally and in practice. However, over the course of the next six decades, the number of democratic nations would more than quadruple.

Interestingly, studies have found that this trend has recently reversed as of the 2010s, with democracies and non-democracies now in a deadlock.

In this visualization, Staffan Landin uses data from V-DEMโ€™s Electoral Democratic Index (EDI) to highlight the changing face of global politics over the past two decades and the nations that contributed the most to this change.

The Methodology

V-DEM’s EDI attempts to measure democratic development in a comprehensive way, through the contributions of 3,700 experts from countries around the world.

Instead of relying on each nation’s legally recognized system of government, the EDI analyzes the level of electoral democracy in countries on a range of indicators, including:

  • Free and fair elections
  • Rule of law
  • Alternative sources of information and association
  • Freedom of expression

Countries are assigned a score on a scale from 0 to 1, with higher scores indicating a higher level of democracy. Each is also categorized into four types of functional government, from liberal and electoral democracies to electoral and closed autocracies.

Which Countries Have Declined the Most?

The EDI found that numerous countries around the world saw declines in democracy over the past two decades. Here are the 10 countries that saw the steepest decline in EDI score since 2010:

CountryDemocracy Index (2010)Democracy Index (2022)Points Lost
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ Hungary0.800.46-34
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland0.890.59-30
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ธ Serbia0.610.34-27
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Tรผrkiye0.550.28-27
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India0.710.44-27
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Mali0.510.25-26
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand0.440.20-24
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ซ Afghanistan0.380.16-22
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil0.880.66-22
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฏ Benin0.640.42-22

Central and Eastern Europe was home to three of the countries seeing the largest declines in democracy. Hungary, Poland, and Serbia lead the table, with Hungary and Serbia in particular dropping below scores of 0.5.

Some of the world’s largest countries by population also decreased significantly, including India and Brazil. Across most of the top 10, the “freedom of expression” indicator was hit particularly hard, with notable increases in media censorship to be found in Afghanistan and Brazil.

Countries Becoming More Democratic

Here are the 10 countries that saw the largest increase in EDI score since 2010:

CountryDemocracy Index (2010)Democracy Index (2022)Points Gained
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Armenia0.340.74+40
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฏ Fiji0.140.40+26
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฒ The Gambia0.250.50+25
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡จ Seychelles0.450.67+22
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Madagascar0.280.48+20
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ณ Tunisia0.400.56+16
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Sri Lanka0.420.57+15
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ผ Guinea-Bissau0.410.56+15
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Moldova0.590.74+15
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต Nepal0.460.59+13

Armenia, Fiji, and Seychelles saw significant improvement in the autonomy of their electoral management bodies in the last 10 years. Partially as a result, both Armenia and Seychelles have seen their scores rise above 0.5.

The Gambia also saw great improvement across many election indicators, including the quality of voter registries, vote buying, and election violence. It was one of five African countries to make the top 10 most improved democracies.

With the total number of democracies and non-democracies almost tied over the past four years, it is hard to predict the political atmosphere in the future.

Want to know more about democracy in today’s world? Check out our global breakdown of each country’s democratic score in Mapped: The State of Global Democracy in 2022.
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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Demographics

Mapped: The Population of China and India in Perspective

We compare the populations of India and China to other top countries and regions for a unique perspective on the world’s demographics.

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The Population of China and India in Perspective

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

China and India, the world’s two most populous countries, each boast populations exceeding 1.4 billion people.

To put this into perspective, we visualized populations of China and India beside other leading countries and regions. All figures are for 2023, and were accessed via Worldometer.

Data and Key Takeaways

All of the data we used to create this graphic is listed in the table below.

Country / RegionPopulation (2023)
๐ŸŒ Africa1,460,481,772
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India1,428,627,663
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China1,425,671,352
๐ŸŒŽ Latin America & the Caribbean664,997,121
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง EU plus UK516,659,018
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.339,996,563
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia277,534,122

From these figures, we can see that the entire population of Africa (currently the fastest growing region in the world) barely surpasses that of China and India.

The populations of China and India are each more than double the size of Latin America and the Caribbean, and nearly triple that of the European Union (including the UK).

Fast Facts on Global Population

Here are some important figures to know regarding the world’s population:

  • China accounts for 17.7% of the worldโ€™s population, while India represents a slightly larger 17.8% share.
  • Africa is the fastest growing region in the world, with annual growth of about 2.4%.
  • Europe is the only region in the world that is shrinking, at about -0.17% annually.

Learn More About Demographics from Visual Capitalist

If you enjoy graphics like these, be sure to check out Population Projections: The Worldโ€™s 6 Largest Countries in 2075.

It reveals a startling contrast between the trajectories of China and India, with the latter peaking at 1.7 billion in the mid-2060s.

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