Examples of Countries With Democracy

, Staff Editor
Updated January 30, 2020
Woman taking exit poll interview on election day
    Woman taking exit poll interview on election day
    SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

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.

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.

  1. Norway - 9.87
  2. Iceland - 9.58
  3. Sweden - 9.39
  4. New Zealand - 9.26
  5. 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.