Why don't people live in democratic countries

globalization

In absolute numbers and share in all countries in percent, 1989 to 2016

Source: Freedom House: www.freedomhouse.org
License: cc by-nc-nd / 3.0 / de /

The idea of ​​a democratic form of government has spread around the world and the number of states that are democratically governed has increased significantly in the last few decades. In 2016 there were 123 democracies, according to the non-governmental organization Freedom House. That corresponded to around 63 percent of all countries worldwide. Democracy is the dominant form of government in Western and Central Europe (2016: 40 out of 42 countries), in North and South America (30 out of 35 countries) and in the Asia-Pacific region (27 out of 39 countries). In sub-Saharan Africa, only 21 out of 49 states were democratic, and of the twelve states in Eurasia, only three were democracies in 2016. However, the proportion is lowest in the Middle East and North Africa region, where only two of the 18 states were democratic in the same year.

Facts

In 2016 there were 123 democracies, according to the non-governmental organization Freedom House. That corresponded to around 63 percent of all countries worldwide. The previous high was reached in 2014 and 2015 with 125 democracies or a share of 64 percent. Compared to 2015, Niger, Zambia and Turkey have dropped out of the list of democracies, and Burkina Faso has been added.

Freedom House not only divides the states into democratic and non-democratic states, but also categorizes them with the help of various indicators into free, restricted free and unfree states. Of the 123 democracies in 2016, 87 were free and 36 were free to a limited extent. And of the 72 non-democratic states, 23 were free to a limited extent and 49 were not free.

Democracy is the dominant form of government in Western and Central Europe as well as in North and South America. In 2016, 40 of the 42 European states were democracies according to the Freedom House criteria (only the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey did not meet the conditions - Turkey for the first time within the entire observation period). In addition to these two states, four democratic states were also considered to be restrictedly free in 2016. Of the 35 states in North and South America, 30 were democracies in the same year - 23 states were classified as free and seven as restricted free.

In 2016, 27 out of 39 states were democratic in the Asia-Pacific region. 17 of the 27 democratic states were considered free, ten as restricted free. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 21 of the 49 states were democracies. According to Freedom House, nine states were considered free and twelve states were free with restrictions. Of the twelve Eurasian states, only three were democracies in 2016. However, all three - Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine - were only partially free after Freedom House. The proportion of democracies is even lower only in the Middle East and North Africa, where Israel and, since 2011, Tunisia are the only democracies of the 18 states.

The idea of ​​a democratic form of government has spread around the world and the number of states that are democratically governed has increased significantly in the last few decades. Nevertheless, there is also the thesis that the established democracies are coming under pressure from globalization: On the one hand, it is pointed out that political participation requires economic participation - increasing economic stress therefore has a negative impact on political participation. Furthermore, social structures that have grown up due to the social and economic processes of change come under pressure, which in turn can lead to political defensive reactions. Another problem is that public interests often lag behind private ones. This is also explained by the dwindling bargaining power of the states or the democratically legitimized representatives vis-à-vis the strengthened private interests or companies.

Finally, it should be noted that globalization does not inevitably lead to democratization. Integration into the world market in particular has led to an economic and consequently political strengthening of undemocratic regimes in numerous countries. And even if the majority of states are governed democratically, in 2016 two out of five people lived in non-democratic states - a total of 3 billion people or 40.9 percent of the world's population.

Data Source

Freedom House: www.freedomhouse.org

Terms, methodological notes or reading aids

The non-governmental organization (NGO) Freedom House uses various publicly presented indicators to check the degree of freedom of states and territories as well as the freedoms and rights of their citizens. Among other things, there are questions on the following topics: freedom of elections, rights of voters, expression of parliamentarism, rights of the opposition, independence of the law, freedom of belief and practice of one's religion, freedom of assembly and demonstration, rights of minorities and trade unions , Freedom of opinion, speech and press, independence of the media and the education sector, gender equality, freedom of family planning, freedom of travel and employment, right to property, influence of non-democratically legitimized institutions (military, religious communities, oligarchs, etc.), independence government and transparency of government work. Since not all democracies fully meet all freedom criteria, Freedom House also lists "limited free" democracies.

A detailed description of the individual indicators can be found here:
https://freedomhouse.org/report/methodology-freedom-world-2017