Study: Less than half of the world’s population lived in democracies in 2021

In 2021, less than half of the world’s population (45.7%) lived “in a democracy”, as only 21 of the 167 countries with this status have “full democracy” today, according to a study by social scientists published in The Economist.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the 2021 “democracy index” fell from 5.37 in 2020 to 5.28, in other words, it experienced the biggest decline since 2010.

“The results reflect the negative impact of the pandemic on democracy and freedom in the world for the second year in a row, a significant expansion of state power and the restriction of individual freedoms,” its authors say.

Countries of Europe

Spain went from “full democracy” to “non-working democracy” in 2021, and France also fell into this category (since 2020). Since 2010, Greece has also been classified as an “insufficiently democratic” (ελαττωματικής δημοκρατίας) country.

Sweden, Luxembourg and the UK (down two places and close to “weak democracies”) are in the first category, as are South Korea, Japan, Mauritius and Costa Rica. Norway is in first place. However, the population of these countries is only 6.4% of the world.

In the “hybrid mode” category, you can find Bangladesh, Senegal, Ukraine, Hong Kong, and Tunisia. Algeria, Egypt, Russia, Rwanda, Vietnam and China are classified by the EIU as “authoritarian” countries. They account for more than a third of the world’s population (37.1%).

At the bottom of the list is Afghanistan, where the Taliban took over in August 2021. According to an EIU study, it is now the least democratic country in the world.



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