The US and Key Countries in the Democracy Index 2019

We examine the new Democracy Index 2019 rating of the US and world countries performed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.  I was very interested in this since it would contain the third year of the Trump Presidency and his House Impeachment.  It didn’t yet include the Senate Impeachment trial and tomorrow’s acquittal.  However, the US has stayed about the same.

The ratings are on a scale of 0 to 10.  They cover the answers to 60 questions in five categories.  The ratings are then presented in four ranges of outcomes:

8.0-10.0. Full Democracy

6.0-8.0. Flawed Democracy

4.0-6.0. Hybrid Regime

0-4.0 Authoritarian Regime

The rating ranges have a slight inherent flaw:  the United States has a rating of 7.96, making it a Flawed Democracy by 4 parts in a thousand.  The idea that anybody could rate anything to parts per thousand is of course a fallacy of Bentham’s rating philosophy.  However, the general ratings are a good way to categorize the 167 countries.  

22/167 countries are rated as full democracies.  This is 13.2% of countries, but only has 5.7% of the world’s population.  In 2015, when the US was still a full democracy, the range included 8.9% of the world’s population.  Lots of room for improvement in the US and the world.

Oddly, we are sitting here watching Trump’s State of the Union Speech, which will actually just be Trump’s Election Year key Campaign Speech.  That itself is a significant Democracy downrating action.

The world map of ratings is colored by single unit ranges, going from least democratic at brown and red, to most democratic in light and dark green.  (I applaud the “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” colors, rather than the hard to distinguish shades of red or blue or green alone.).  Below that is a labeled map of the world to help identify countries.

The world count of countries by regime type, percent of countries, and population percent in their Table I is:

Regime Type No. Of Countries % of Countries % of World Population
Full Democracy 22 13.2 5.7
Flawed Democracy 54 32.3 42.7
Hybrid Regime 37 22.2 16.0
Authoritarian 54 32.3 35.6

The United States rankings by categories are below:

Overall Score: 7.96

Electoral process and pluralism:  9.17

Functioning of government:  7.14

Political participation:  7.78

Political culture:  7.50

Civil liberties:  8.24

In the middle three categories, the United States is below 8.00.  Unfortunately, the Impeachment was for the interference with our election by foreign influence, which should lower the 9.17 Electoral Process rating.  For comparison, Canada’s Overall Score was 9.22.  Only political participation was below 8 at 7.78.  All of the other four Canada ratings were over 9.0.  I can only imagine that the 16,000 Trump lies fit into Political culture.  Apparently, a lot of the economic superlatives in Trump’s speech were not true.

(Personal note:  I took the 60 question quiz, and my overall rating was 7.73, not too far from the Democracy Index overall of 7.96.  I was lower in the first three categories, with 7.92, 6.79, and 6.67.  I was higher in the last two with 7.86 and 9.41.  My estimate of the average granularity of the ratings of each category is plus or minus 0.22.)

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan is just stating that over 278 bipartisan bills are sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk.  This must be one of the factors behind the low Functioning of government category.  Trump and McConnell’s stonewalling of checks and balances in the Impeachment also fall under Functioning of government.  Political participation only gets a half of a question score, since our 57% voting is below 70%.

Here are the totals for a few key countries.

Norway (no. 1) 9.87
Australia 9.09
Germany 8.68
U. K. 8.52
Spain 8.29
France 8.12
South Korea 8.00
Japan 7.99
United States 7.96
Israel 7.86
Italy 7.52
India 6.90
Brazil 6.86
Mexico 6.09
Hong Kong 6.02
Ukraine 5.90
Bolivia 4.84
Turkey 4.09
Palestine 3.89
Iraq 3.74
Qatar 3.19


Russia 3.11
Vietnam 3.08
Egypt 3.06
Venezuela 2.88
Afghanistan 2.85
Cuba 2.84
United Arab Emirates 2.76
Iran 2.38
China 2.26
Uzbekistan 2.01
Yemen 1.95
Saudi Arabia 1.93
Tajikistan 1.93
Turkmenistan 1.72
Chad 1.61
Syria 1.43
Central African Republic 1.32
Democratic Republic of Congo 1.13
North Korea 1.08

Most of the countries from China and below have 0.00 under Electoral process.  Civil liberties are below 3.0.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in 2016 Election, 2020 Election, 2020 Primaries, Affairs of State, Congress, Congressional Investigation, Constitution, Criminal Justice System, Democracy Ratings, Donald Trump, Fifth Amendment, First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, Freedom to Assemble, Freedoms, Immigration Policy, Impeachment, Iran, Mitch McConnell, Mueller Report, North Korea, North Korea Nuclear Threat, Russia, State Department, Supreme Court, Trump Administration, Turkey, Voting Rights, Yemen. Bookmark the permalink.

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