The State of World Democracy in January 2017

We present our seventeenth annual survey of democracy, where we review those 154 of the world's nations with a minimum one million population, by the criteria of Human Rights, Political Rights, Freedom of the Media and [Absence] of Corruption.  We are indebted to "Freedom House" and "Transparency International" for the use of their data, as we have been each year throughout the millennium.

Nations are shown in four divisions, determined by their Human Rights and Political Rights records.  Within each of those divisions their ranking is the result of Media freedom scores and those of Corruption - its absence or otherwise. 

We show league tables to measure each of these, and the final democratic score.

The methodology used is described in the sidebar notes of the Democracy Table.

In Division One, neither the US nor the UK make the top ten.

Consistently, as in every annual report we have done, the Scandinavian nations come top.  This year Denmark and Finland are the no. 1 position and Sweden is joint 3rd with Norway. 

Congratulations to them all!


CHANGES from 2016

*Compared with previous years, Bhutan, the delightful small Himalayan kingdom whose population has reduced below 1million, leaves our tables. (It may be remembered that it was Bhutan that invented the concept of ‘GNH’ –Gross National Happiness).

We welcome Cyprus to Division One; also Qatar; South Sudan; Bahrain and Kosovo; all of which join Div 4 (their populations have now passed the million mark).

As well as nation states we show democratic rankings in sidebar panels for political/military/economic/regional groupings via their current membership: OECD, EU, NATO, G8, ASEAN, APEC, THE AFRICAN UNION, THE ARAB LEAGUE & LATIN AMERICA.

Overview of World Democracy January 2017
The Perils of Mass Migration
US Elections: Game, Set & Match
Democracy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
What Next for Democracy
Middle East
Europe’s Post WWII solution
The State of World Democracy January 2017
World Audit’s Winners and Losers
Crowned Heads of State
Review of the Democracy Tables


At the beginning of 2017, the world, certainly the western hemisphere looks alarmingly different to that of just one year ago. Instability now characterises both Europe and the USA, the two formerly solid pillars of a world seeking and broadly achieving peace and prosperity. This 2017 report has happened at a time ‘in the west,’ of a powerful resurgence of right-wing people and non-traditional parties, on a scale causing general alarm and some distress in these traditional bastions of freedom.


In Europe, the EU is the great unifying economic association that has since the end of the greatest war that the world has suffered, effectively bound together 28 european nations, with a long shared history of warfare between them, into a continent-wide democratic Economic and Social Union. This is now coming under threat from populism, promoting nationalists in individual member states.

The UK, not a founding member, but nevertheless with 43 years of membership, has by a small margin in a shock 2016 referendum, opted to leave the EU. This puts the ‘European project’ itself at some risk, since the United Kingdom has been amongst the leaders of the EU and a major participant in the EU’s activities. The ultimate fear now in Europe is of an erosion of the Union; that the same populist currents that unexpectedly in the UK, tipped the closely fought referendum campaign, are now to a varying degree also to be found within the other 27 member states, all subject to similar challenges that emerged in the UK’s recent referendum. These include a surge of populist right-wing nationalism, external terrorist actions, immigrant pressures, plus inevitable localised discontents and issues, which perhaps might cause others to follow suit.

At such a time, it is inevitably destabilising, particularly with France and the Netherlands, both founding members facing 2017 elections involving fast growing populist right wing parties. No one can be sure in either case of the outcome.

Germany is suffering a reaction from the unpopular results of so generously accepting around a million mostly middle-eastern refugees stranded and milling about in Central Europe, after horrendous experiences in getting there from overseas. It is also due to have an election in November where the courageous Chancellor, Mrs Merkel herself, is now under electoral threat....

Clive Lindley Publisher/Editor
Trina Middlecote/Data Management


The State of World Democracy in January 2017

World Audit's 2017 World Democracy Rankings (154)


Send this newsletter to a friend
World Audit Bulletin, January 2017|New Nations - a not for profit company
Contact Us:
Clive Lindley - Publisher
If you wish to stop receiving the New Nations Bulletin, Click here
© New Nations