The 7 most democratic countries in the world – what about Britain?

Justin Trudeau, MP

Take a look at the seven most democratic states on earth. Does your country make the list?

Using the Economist’s (2016) democracy index measure, we can see which countries are the most and least democratic in the world. The index is measured in five dimensions and then combined to get an overall score. The five dimensions are electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, political culture and civil liberties.

The top 19 states were classed as full democracies, with the next category being flawed democracies.

7. Ireland

The Republic of Ireland comes in at seventh-place, beating its neighbour the United Kingdom, which is only the sixteenth most democratic country in the world, according to the democracy index. Ireland is a representative, parliamentary democracy, whose Taoiseach is the country’s head of government. The state also has an elected president, who wields little to no actual political power. Ireland’s overall score is 9.15 (/10).

6. Canada

America’s northern neighbour decisively wins this contest when it comes to North American countries. Canada comes in at an impressive sixth place, beating America which is only the 21st most democratic state on earth. To make matters worse for Donald Trump’s country, America is classified as a flawed democracy, let down in the areas of the functioning of government and political participation.

As for Justin Trudeau’s country, which uses the Westminster parliamentary model, its overall score is 9.15. On top of that, Canada gets a 10 on the issue of civil liberties.

Justin Trudeau Smiling

5. Denmark

It probably won’t surprise you that Denmark is the first of four Nordic nations on the rest of this list. The country is a parliamentary democracy, and has a competitive party-system, as illustrated in the hit TV drama Borgen. The country gets an overall score of 9.2.

4. New Zealand

Coming in at fourth place is New Zealand with a score of 9.26, as well as 10 each for its electoral process and civil liberties. The country’s closes neighbour, Australia, comes in at tenth place with an overall score of 9.01.

3. Sweden

The bronze medal goes to Sweden due to its impressive score of 9.39. The country’s head of state is the monarch, currently King Carl XVI Gustaf, and its prime minister is Stefan Lofen, who currently leads a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens.

2. Iceland

Iceland gets an overall score of 9.5. The country's politics made the international headlines last year when the Panama papers revelations rocked the world, and toppled then prime minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson from power.

1. Norway

When it comes to democracy, Norway knows how to get by. The country’s overall democratic index score is 9.93, and it gets tens in every area bar the functioning of government (9.64). The country went to the polls last month, at an election in which Erna Solberg’s centre-right alliance secured a second term in power.

A full list of countries and index scores can be accessed here.