The World's Worst Country

As parts of the world fall into chaos, picking the worst country based on headlines would be easy. It probably would be Russia, with China trailing just behind. However, the Economist Intelligence Unit has built a more sophisticated way to measure the world’s worst countries. The analysis is called “Democracy Index 2022.” The worst country, according to the analysis, is Zimbabwe. (Click here to see the most ruthless rulers in history.)

The yardsticks used to rank the countries go well beyond those used to look at democracy and, therefore, paint a much broader picture of the nations. The electoral process is one measure. Others are the functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties.

Democracy is not widespread. “According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s measure of democracy, almost half of the world’s population live in a democracy of some sort (45.3%),” says the report. And, “More than one-third of the world’s population live under authoritarian rule (36.9%), with a large share of them being in China and Russia.”

To get a sense of the ranking, the top nation, Norway, has a score of 9.81, followed by New Zealand at 9.61. The top of the list is mostly Scandinavian countries. The world average is 5.29. Zimbabwe’s figure is 2.92.

Zimbabwe has a wealth of minerals

, according to the World Factbook. This ranges from nickel and copper to lithium and iron ore. The country has just over 15 million people. By Western standards, it has very few old people. The number of people who are 65 and older is only 4.5%. In the United States, that figure is over 20%. Life expectancy at birth in Zimbabwe is only 64 years, while the U.S. figure is 78.

The country is extremely poor. The income per capita is only $2,100, among the lowest in the world. This is made worse by an inflation rate close to 100%.

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