Democracy is defined as a "form of government in which the common people hold political power." This means common people can either become country leaders through the electoral process or elect leaders who represent their core values and beliefs. In terms of the number of democratic countries in the world, as of 2018, there were 99 democracies globally.
Examples of Countries With Democracy
Elements of a Democracy
Since there are different types of democracies, there are different criteria for each type. Democracy is essentially the opposite of a dictatorship. A democracy of any kind generally includes four elements:
Elections system for choosing government type and officials
Human rights protection for all
Citizens actively participating in civics and politics
Laws apply equally to all citizens
Lists of Democratic Countries in the World
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has been keeping a database of countries with different types of regimes since 2006. This Democracy Index, rated on a 10-point scale based on 60 indicators, is updated each year. It covered 165 independent states and two territories in 2019.
According to the index, there are two types of democracies: a full democracy and a flawed democracy. This is one place you can find a full list of democratic countries.
Best Democratic Countries in the World
While worldwide organizations like the United Nations (UN) don't endorse any one type of government as the best, they do promote democracy because it provides greater participation, equality, security, and human development for people.
According to the scores given by the Democracy Index in 2019, these countries represent the best democratic governments in the world. All of them have a full democracy.
Norway - 9.87
Iceland - 9.58
Sweden - 9.39
New Zealand - 9.26
Finland - 9.25
Countries With Democracies in North America
Many countries found in North America have democratic governments.
Canada - Full democracy
Costa Rica - Full democracy
Dominican Republic - Flawed democracy
El Salvador - Flawed democracy
Jamaica - Flawed democracy
Mexico - Flawed democracy
Panama - Flawed democracy
Trinidad and Tobago - Flawed democracy
United States of America - Flawed democracy
Countries With Democracies in South America
Because of economic failure and political corruption, South American governments change frequently and almost none are full democracies.
Argentina - Flawed democracy
Brazil - Flawed democracy
Columbia - Flawed democracy
Ecuador - Flawed democracy
Guyana - Flawed democracy
Paraguay - Flawed democracy
Peru - Flawed democracy
Suriname - Flawed democracy
Uruguay - Full democracy
Countries With Democracies in Europe
Most countries in Europe operate under some form of democratic government.
Austria - Full democracy
Belgium - Flawed democracy
Bulgaria - Flawed democracy
Croatia - Flawed democracy
Cyprus - Flawed democracy
Czech Republic - Flawed democracy
Denmark - Full democracy
Estonia - Flawed democracy
France - Full democracy
Germany - Full democracy
Greece - Flawed democracy
Hungary - Flawed democracy
Ireland - Full democracy
Italy - Flawed democracy
Latvia - Flawed democracy
Lithuania - Flawed democracy
Luxembourg - Full democracy
Malta - Flawed democracy
Netherlands - Full democracy
Poland - Full democracy
Portugal - Full democracy
Romania - Flawed democracy
Serbia - Flawed democracy
Slovakia - Flawed democracy
Slovenia - Flawed democracy
Spain - Full democracy
Switzerland - Full democracy
United Kingdom - Full democracy
Countries With Democracies in Asia
Democratic governments are more common in the Western world, but you can still find democratic countries in Asia.
Hong Kong - Flawed democracy
India - Flawed democracy
Indonesia - Flawed democracy
Israel - Flawed democracy
Japan - Flawed democracy
Malaysia - Flawed democracy
Mongolia - Flawed democracy
Philippines - Flawed democracy
Singapore - Flawed democracy
South Korea - Flawed democracy
Sri Lanka - Flawed democracy
Taiwan - Flawed democracy
Timor-Leste (East Timor) - Flawed democracy
Thailand - Flawed democracy
Countries With Democracies in Africa
Corruption and ongoing wars often change the government structures in Africa. However, there are still a few democracies on the continent.
Botswana - Flawed democracy
Cape Verde - Flawed democracy
Ghana - Flawed democracy
Lesotho - Flawed democracy
Mauritius - Full democracy
Namibia - Flawed democracy
South Africa - Flawed democracy
Tunisia - Flawed democracy
Countries With Democracies in Oceania
Oceania is not technically a continent. Rather, it is a region that describes several countries that may not be part of other continents.
Australia - Full democracy
Papua New Guinea - Flawed democracy
Historical Changes in Democracy Throughout the World
According to political research, democracy around the world has been trending upward since the 1970s. This trend continued into the early 2000s, but some experts now suggest democracy is on the decline again in the late 2000s. Some form of democracy has existed in the world since the 5th century.
Where Can You Find Democracy
Examples of democracy exist all around the world, but governments can change frequently, making it hard to keep a current list of world democracies. Check current events to stay on top of what changes are happening to create or destroy democratic governments in different countries. Just remember to apply your critical thinking skills in evaluating what may be fake news.