How Many Countries Are Democracies?

About 60% of the world's countries are electoral democracies, according to Freedom House, a non-governmental US-based organization. Out of 167 countries covered in the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index, 78 have been identified as either "full democracies" or "flawed democracies." North American and Western European countries hold the highest scores on this Index in terms of being full democracies, while the Middle East and North Africa hold the lowest scores.

More on democracies:

  • Democracies are often defined as governments that permit free and fair elections and that give citizens significant civil liberties and freedoms.

  • In 2011, the Democracy Index ranked Norway as the most democratic nation in the world.

  • In 1989, 41% of countries were electoral democracies. The percentage of electoral democracies peaked in 2005 and 2006, with 64% of countries classified as electoral democracies.

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