My fellow Americans: We have good news and bad news.
The good news is that you live in a democracy.
The bad news is that democracy in the U.S. is flawed, and continues to decline, according to an annual ranking of democracies around the world by the The Economist Intelligence Unit.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide in 165 countries, covering almost the entire population of the world.
The index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; the functioning of government; political participation; political culture and civil liberties. Based on its scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then classified as one of four types of regime: a full democracy, a flawed democracy, a hybrid regime or an authoritarian regime.
The U.S. has fallen steadily in the global rankings over the past decade, from 17th place in the 2010 index to No. 25 in 2019, and is now classified as a flawed democracy. This is mostly due to deterioration in the functioning of government, the report states. The partisan nature of politics in the U.S. has contributed to this failing, and dissatisfaction with Congress has increased since 2000.
As for the rest of the world, more than one-third of the world’s population lives under authoritarian rule, with a large share in China, the report states. One-half (48.4%) of the world’s population lives in a democracy of some sort, although only 5.7% live in a full democracy.
The least democratic countries all had scores lower than 2 out of 10. North Korea had the lowest score of 1.08 out of 10, followed by Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Syria, and Chad.
Based on the Democracy Index 2019, these are the most democratic countries in the world: