Special Report

This Is the No. 1 Democracy in the World

Two totalitarian nations currently threaten the world order, China and Russia. They stand in stark contrast to the world’s democracies, which have been united in their response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite sharing a border with Russia, this includes Norway, the No. 1 democracy in the world.

Meanwhile, China has indicated its plans to take over Taiwan, an independent country with 25 million people. Also known as the Republic of China, Taiwan is just off the coast of the People’s Republic of China, which has the world’s largest standing army. 

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s just released Democracy Index 2021 divides the world’s 167 largest countries into four categories: full democracies (12.6% of countries considered), flawed democracies (31.7%), hybrid regimes (20.4%), and authoritarian regimes (35.3%). Many authoritarian regimes also rank among the most corrupt countries in the world.

To find the most democratic in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the report, listing all 21 highest ranking countries — those considered full democracies. All data is from the report.

Russia, which is among the authoritarian regimes, ranks 124th among all nations. China, in the same category, ranks at No. 148. China is the focus of the entire study, which has a subtitle of “The China Challenge.” (Read 24/7 Wall St.’s take, published ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, on the 10 biggest risks to global security in 2022.)

The governments on the list are rated by 1) electoral process and pluralism, 2) functioning of government, 3) political participation, 4) political culture, and 5) civil liberties. Each of the nations is given a score, with a maximum score of 10. With a score of 7.85 overall, the United States is listed as a flawed democracy and ranks 26th.

The United States has fallen on the list recently. The report notes: “The US score declined further as its new president Joe Biden, struggled to arrest the democratic decline that has occurred over the past few decades.” The U.S. lowest scores are in the area of political culture and functioning of government.

Norway tops the list with a score of 9.75. Scandinavian nations dominate the top of the rankings, though New Zealand is in second place.

These are the world’s 21 full democracies

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