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Mapped: The State of Democracy Around the World

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map infographic showing the state of democracy around world in 2023

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Mapped: The State of Democracy Around the World

Only 8% of the world’s population actually lives in a full, functioning democracy, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Meanwhile, another 37% of people live in some type of “flawed democracy”, while 55% of the world does not live in democracy at all, based on the EIU’s latest Democracy Index Report.

Events such as the war in Ukraine and restrictive, long-lasting COVID-19 measures, have caused numerous declines to country democracy scores in recent years. Since the source report first began tracking scores in 2006, the global average has fallen from 5.52 to 5.29.

The Methodology

The EIU measures democracy by assessing 60 indicators across five key categories:

  1. Electoral process and pluralism
  2. Political culture
  3. Political participation
  4. Functioning of government
  5. Civil liberties

Each category has a rank of 0-10 based on how the indicators fared, and the overall democracy score is an average of each of the five categories. For example, here’s a look at the U.S.’ scoring out of 10 in each of the overall categories in 2022:

Electoral process and pluralismFunctioning of governmentPolitical participationPolitical cultureCivil liberties
9.176.438.896.258.53

🇺🇸 Total U.S. democracy score = 7.85 / 10

This score defines the U.S. as a flawed democracy and ranks it 30th overall in the world, down four spots from last year’s ranking. “Flawed” in this case simply means there are problems, ranging from poor political culture to governance issues, but flawed democracies are still considered to have free and fair elections, as well as civil liberties.

The World’s Democracies by Region

Below we map out the state of democracy across various regions around the world.

The Americas

state of democracy in the Americas

One of the best performers year-over-year was Chile, with its score increasing by nearly 0.3. The country moved out of the flawed democracy category last year, largely because of the shift towards constitutional reform alongside President Gabriel Boric moving towards the political center, reducing polarization.

Only three other countries in the Americas are also considered full democracies: Costa Rica, Canada, and Uruguay—the latter of which is #1 regionally.

On the flipside, some of the world’s worst performers year-over-year are located specifically in Latin America, namely: El Salvador and Haiti. Much of the low scores in the region are associated with high crime rates and corrupt governance.

Africa

state of democracy in Africa

The only full democracy in Africa is the small, island nation of Mauritius. Overall, Africa is one of the lowest scoring regions with only five of the continent’s 54 countries ranking as some type of democracy.

Tunisia’s score decreased significantly in 2022. President Kais Saied dismissed parliament early in the year and took control of the electoral council, slowly shifting towards centralized power. And although there were critics, many have since been arrested, downgrading them in the EIU’s eyes from a flawed democracy to a hybrid regime.

Europe

map infographic showing the state of democracy in Europe

Spain and France regained status as full democracies in 2022, mainly improving in the civil liberties and functioning of government categories thanks to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. However, both countries face political polarization; in Spain this is largely exemplified in the attitudes surrounding the Catalan separatist movement.

Some of the lowest scoring regimes in the region are in Russia and Belarus. Russia’s war in Ukraine has violated international law, as well as another country’s sovereignty, decimating its score by 0.96 in the index. Belarus has continually allied itself with Russia, allowing troops—and likely missiles—to enter Ukraine from its borders.

Oceania and East Asia

democracy in asia

In this region, levels of democracy were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hong Kong only removed restrictive policies like mask mandates in early 2023. In contrast, Thailand lifted these restrictions a year prior, providing more individual freedom, according to the report.

Malaysia’s fairly high score of 7.3 could face scrutiny, as the former Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, who was in office during COVID-19, is currently facing corruption charges for money laundering of COVID-19 stimulus package funds.

Central Asia and The Middle East

state of democracy in the middle east

Finally, in the Middle East and Central Asia, there are no full democracies at all. The lowest scoring country globally is Afghanistan at only 0.32.

Israel, the only democracy of any kind of the region, actually moved down six spots in the global ranking from the year prior. Its lowest scoring category in 2022 was civil liberties. This year, the country is in the spotlight due to its judicial reforms proposed by the ruling nationalist party, and civil response has been strong. Mass protests continue around the country.

Where does this data come from?

Source: The Democracy Index Report by the Economist Intelligence Unit

Notes: This report, which has been produced by EIU since 2006, uses 60 indicators as well as public opinion polling and expert analysis to rank various countries. A detailed methodology can be found starting on page 66 of the report.

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How Do Democrats and Republicans Feel About Certain U.S. Industries?

A survey looked at U.S. industry favorability across political lines, showing where Democrats and Republicans are divided over the economy.

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A cropped chart with the percentage of Democrats and Republicans that found specific U.S. industries "favorable."

Industry Favorability, by Political Party

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.

Much and more has been written, in the last decade particularly, about the U.S. political sphere becoming increasingly polarized. The two main parties—Democrats and Republicans—have clashed over how to run the economy, as well as on key social issues.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then, Democrat and Republican voters are also divided on various U.S. industries, per a YouGov poll conducted in 2022.

Between November 7-9th of that year, the market research firm polled 1,000 adult Americans, (sampled to represent prevailing demographic, racial, and political-party-affiliation trends in the country) on their opinions on 39 industries. They asked:

“Generally speaking, do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the following industry?” — YouGov Poll.

In this chart we visualize the percentage with a favorable view of an industry minus those with unfavorable view, categorized by current voter status.

A higher percentage means more Democrats or Republicans rated the industry as favorable, and vice-versa. Negative percentages mean more respondents responded unfavorably.

Democrats vs. Republicans on Industry Favorability

From a glance, it’s immediately noticeable that quite a few industries have divided Democrats and Republics quite severely.

For example, of the sampled Democrats, a net 45%, found Higher Education “favorable.” This is compared to 0% on the Republican side, which means an equal number found the industry favorable and unfavorable.

Here’s the full list of net favorable responses from Democrats and Republicans per industry.

IndustryDemocrat Net
Favorability
Republican Net
Favorability
Agriculture44%55%
Trucking27%55%
Restaurant53%54%
Manufacturing27%53%
Construction23%49%
Dairy45%46%
Higher education45%0%
Technology44%36%
Food manufacturing15%37%
Transportation27%37%
Railroad37%35%
Mining-3%36%
Automotive19%36%
Grocery35%22%
Hotels30%35%
Textiles24%34%
Entertainment34%-17%
Shipping24%33%
Retail31%31%
Book publishing30%29%
Alcohol23%16%
Television22%3%
Waste management15%22%
Education services21%-16%
Wireless carriers19%19%
Broadcasting17%-30%
News media17%-57%
Airlines11%3%
Oil and gas-28%7%
Real-estate-2%6%
Utilities2%6%
Health care3%4%
Fashion4%-6%
Cable-12%3%
Finance2%-2%
Professional sports1%-2%
Insurance-12%-14%
Pharmaceutical-18%-14%
Tobacco-44%-27%

The other few immediately noticeable disparities in favorability include:

  • Mining and Oil and Gas, (more Republicans in favor),
  • Entertainment, Education Services, and News Media (more Democrats in favor).

Tellingly, the larger social and political concerns at play are influencing Democrat and Republican opinions about these parts of the economy.

For example Pew Research pointed out Republicans are dissatisfied with universities for a number of reasons: worries about constraints on free speech, campus “culture wars,” and professors bringing their politics into the classroom.

In contrast, Democrats’ criticisms of higher education revolved around tuition costs and the quality of education offered.

On a more recent note, Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, a big Harvard donor, pulled funding after criticizing universities for educating “whiny snowflakes.” In October, donors to the University of Pennsylvania withdrew their support, upset with the university’s response to the October 7th attacks and subsequent war in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the reasons for differences over media favorability are more obvious. Commentators say being “anti-media” is now part of the larger Republican leadership identity, and in turn, is trickling down to their voters. Pew Research also found that Republicans are less likely to trust the news if it comes from a “mainstream” source.

But these are industries that are already adjacent to the larger political sphere. What about the others?

U.S. Politics and the Climate Crisis

The disparity over how the Oil & Gas and Mining industries are viewed is a reflection, again, of American politics and the partisan divide around the climate crisis and whether there’s a noticeable impact from human activity.

Both industries contribute heavily to carbon emissions, and Democrat lawmakers have previously urged the Biden transition to start planning for the end of fossil-fuel reliance.

Meanwhile, former President Trump, for example, has previously called global warming “a hoax” but later reversed course, clarifying that he didn’t know if it was “man-made.”

When removing the climate context, and related environmental degradation, both industries usually pay high wages and produce materials critical to many other parts of the economy, including the strategic metals needed for the energy transition.

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