See also the publications Voter Turnout Since 1945: A Global Report and Voter Turnout in Western Europe since 1945: A Regional Report, which are based on the data in this database.

Regional differences

Figure 13
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS Differences between regions 1945-97
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS Differences between regions 1945-97
Key: VAP = voting age population

Figure 14
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
Differences between regions over time
1945-97
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS - Differences between regions over time 1945-97
Key: VAP = voting age population

If we take all elections since 1945 then Western Europe has maintained the highest average turnout (77%), and South and Central America the lowest (54%). As Figure 13 illustrates turnout need not necessarily reflect regional wealth. North America and the Caribbean has the third lowest turnout rate (only Africa and South and Central America are lower), while Oceania and the former communist states are respectively second and third highest in the regional league table over this period. Figure 14 shows that over time turnout across the world is beginning to converge at a figure between half and three-quarters of the voting age population of any given country. In the 1940s and 1950s turnout in Oceania was much higher than elsewhere but this was based on elections in only Australia and New Zealand. Turnout in Western Europe and North America and the Caribbean has remained fairly constant over the last 50 years (although European turnout levels have been a good 10-15% points higher than the Americas), while in the rest of the world the rates have fluctuated more widely. Turnout in South and Central America and Asia has steadily climbed while Africa and the Middle East hit high points in the 1980s but since then have slipped back.

 
Voter Turnout
 

Access the Voter Turnout database

Voter Turnout per country: