About the Database
The Voter Turnout Database is the best resource for a wide array of statistics on voter turnout from around the world. It contains the most comprehensive global collection of voter turnout statistics from presidential and parliamentary elections since 1945. Always growing, the database also includes European Parliament elections, as presented by country using both the number of registered voters and voting age population as indicators, and in some cases the data includes statistics on spoilt ballot rate. The easy-to-use database allows you to search for data by country or field, and even download all the data from the database in one file.
- PR = Political Right
- CL = Civil Liberties
The two measurements of Political Rights and Civil Liberties have been taken from Freedom House which uses these two categories as indicators of the levels of freedom in a country’s political system. A rating of 1 indicates the highest degree of freedom and 7 the least amount of freedom. Each pair of political rights and civil liberties ratings is averaged to determine an overall status. Those whose ratings average 1.0 to 2.5 are considered Free, 3.0 to 5.0 Partly Free, and 5.5 to 7.0 Not Free. Data was collected from the Freedom House website, where more information about the survey and its methodology is available.
It should be noted that quantitative measurements can only provide a generic overview of the state of democracy in a country. For deeper analysis based on the views of citizens of the country please visit IDEA’s State of Democracy website.
The countries of the Voter Turnout database are subordinated into the following regions:
- CIS, Central and Eastern Europe
- Central America
- Middle East
- North America
- Oceania & Pacific Islands
- South America
- Western Europe
The voting age population (VAP) includes all citizens above the legal voting age. VAP figures can complement voter registration figures for two reasons. First, registration figures can be inaccurate or unavailable, and sometimes voter registers are not used (as in South Africa in 1994). Second, the voting age population figures can provide a clearer picture of participation as they signal a problem with the voters' register or registration system.
The voting age population is based on a country's population over the age of 18. It is not intended to be an exact measure of the number of citizens entitled to vote as it does not take into account legal or systemic barriers to the exercise of the franchise or account for non-eligible members of the population, such as resident non-citizens (the voting eligible population – VEP – would capture these discrepancies but it is very hard to achieve the data required to measure VEP). It is intended as indicative only.
For elections held between 1945 and 2001, most estimates of the VAP data are based on the latest census data report in the Demographic Yearbook 1998. This data is produced by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Estimates for Barbados, the Central African Republic and Niger are based on census data reported in the Demographic Yearbook 1996. Estimates for Albania, Djibouti, Ghana, Guinea, Guyana, Côte d'Ivoire, Samoa, Tanzania, and Togo are based on the medium variant population estimate in World Population Prospects: the 1998 Revision Volume II. The following countries were not included in the statistics produced by the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs: Anguilla, Fiji, Grenada, Nauru and Palau. For these countries the CIA World Factbook has been used. In all cases the population data selected is either that for the election year or the latest reported before the election year. In the latter case the growth rates presented in table A11 of World Population Prospects: the 1998 Revision Volume 1 were applied to form an estimated population for the election year.
For elections held 2002 and onwards the population figures are based on data from the International Database of the U.S. Census Bureau.
For all election years, the data was then adjusted to remove population under the age of 18. The result forms our estimated voting age population. Again, the VAP figures are estimates and should be treated as such.