Demos and Kratos are the two Greek words that make up the English word, democracy, meaning people and power. It is why democracy is simply defined as the power of the people. It is all about the opinions or take of the masses regarding any matter.
While the fundamental concepts of democracy remain unchanged, this form of government has various types. The easiest way to grasp the concept of democracy is to understand what it is not. It is not where one person rules or dictates or where the majority is listened to while the minorities are neglected.
Democracy fundamentally puts the power in the hands of the people. It urges rulers to weigh in the opinion of the masses. No one is oppressed or forced to do something in an ideal democratic government. Let’s review some interesting figures we have regarding democracy worldwide.
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Ten Most Democratic Countries in the World
The top leading democratic nations in the world on a scale of 0-10 with ten denoting the ideal form of democracy are Norway (9.87), Iceland (9.58), Sweden (9.39), New Zealand (9.26), Finland (9.25), Ireland (9.24), Canada (9.22), Denmark (9.22), Australia (9.09), and Switzerland (9.03).
Number of Democracies and Autocracies from 1901 to 2018
This graph shows the comparison between democracies and autocracies from 1901 to 2016. There is a sharp increase in the democracies after 1941 (less than 25 democracies), reaching about 100 in 2016.
According to the graphical representation, autocracies have always been higher than democracies since 1901. There were about 150 autocracies across the world till 1991. Between 1991 and 1996, autocracies increased from 150 to about 170 and remained the same until 2016.
Percentage of the World’s Population in Democracy (2020)
This important chart provides information about the percentage of the global population living in various countries run by different forms of regimes, ranging from full democracies to authoritarian regimes according to the 2020 statistics.
First up is the full democracy. About 23 countries enjoy full democracy; thus, making about only 8.40% of the world’s population living in such governance. 41.10% of the world’s population, in about 52 countries, is living in a flawed democracy, while hybrid regimes are the common governance practice in 35 countries (15.00% of the world’s population).
35.60% of the world’s population is still living under authoritarian regimes (according to 2020 data) in about 57 countries.
Democracy Gap (2005-2020)
It is an essential set of statistics regarding global democracy, outlining the number of countries that significantly improved their democratic governance between 2005 and 2020; thus, eliciting a lower and positive democracy gap.
According to this chart, 2005 was the only year wherein 83 countries improved their democracies while 52 declined, yielding a positive but low gap. In 2006, the number of countries improving and declining democracies was almost equal. However, the number of democracy declining nations was more than those who improved (democracy gap: 3).
From 2006 to 2020, the democracy gap visibly increased as measured by countries declining or improving democracy. The democracy gap in 2009 was the highest from the previous years (-33). Again in the year 2014, this gap increased to -36. In 2020, the number of countries declining democracy reached the highest, with only 28 countries improving and about 73 declining democracy. The democracy gap in 2020 was recorded to be -45.
Top 25 Countries with Oldest Democracies in 2021
This histogram shows the top 25 countries with the oldest democracies in the world. First is the United States, with about 222 years of democracy. Switzerland is the second oldest democracy globally (175 years), while New Zealand and Canada occupy third and fourth positions in the list (165 and 155 years).
The United Kingdom has been ruled by democracy for over 137 years, followed by Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Australia, and Denmark. Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Ireland have had democratic governance for over 100 years.
Countries having democracy less than 100 years are France, Italy, Austria, Israel, Costa Rica, India, Japan, Tunisia, Colombia, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.
To learn the interesting history of democracy and interesting facts, click here.