These Are the World’s Most — and Least — Democratic Places

Topping the list were Norway, New Zealand and Finland, while the U.K. ranked 18th.

The percentage of the world’s population living under some sort of democracy tumbled last year to 45.7% from 49.4% a year earlier according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2021.

Of the 167 territories surveyed, just 21 were deemed to be full democracies, representing 6.4% of the world’s population, while 53 fell into the “flawed democracies” category.

Topping the list were Norway, New Zealand and Finland, while the U.K. ranked 18th. The U.S., which was given a flawed democracy classification, fell one spot to number 26.

Afghanistan and Myanmar took the bottom two spots, just below North Korea.

The EIU said the results continued to reflect the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Citing measures such as lockdowns and travel restrictions, the report said the pandemic had “resulted in an unprecedented withdrawal of civil liberties among developed democracies and authoritarian regimes alike.”

“It has led to the normalisation of emergency powers, which have tended to stay on the statute books, and accustomed citizens to a huge extension of state power over large areas of public and personal life,” the report added. “The creeping authoritarianism that has accompanied the pandemic raises questions about whether, in what circumstances, and for how long, governments and citizens are prepared to undermine democratic rights in the cause of public health.”

Regionally, Latin America saw the biggest decline in scores, with seven countries falling down the rankings between 10 and 20 places, while Asia gained three “full democracies” -- Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The world’s top 10 most democratic places:

1   Norway

2   New Zealand

3   Finland

4   Sweden

5   Iceland

6   Denmark

7   Ireland

8   Taiwan

9   Australia

10   Switzerland

The world’s least democratic places (last place first):



3   North Korea


5   China





1 0  Hong Kong

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.