The Global State of Democracy indices (GSoD indices) depict democratic trends at the country, regional and global levels across a broad range of different attributes of democracy in the period 1975–2015. They do not provide a single index of democracy.

They produce data for 155 countries across the globe. The data underlying the GSoD indices is based on 98 indicators devised by various scholars and organizations using different types of sources: expert surveys, standards-based coding by research groups and analysts, observational data and composite measures. 

The GSoD indices consist of attribute and subattribute scores per country per year for the period 1975–2015. All scoring runs from 0 to 1, with 0 representing the lowest achievement in the whole sample and 1 the highest.

Below is a short summary of the attributes. For more information, please see the GSoD Indices Methodology, Technical guide and Codebook in the Data set and Resources section of this website. For an overview of questions and answers about the indices, please visit our FAQs.


Democracy is conceptualized as popular control over public decision-making and decision-makers, and equality of respect and voice between citizens in the exercise of that control. These principles have been translated into 5 main democracy attributes that cover 16 subattributes in total.

Representative government
  • Clean elections
  • Inclusive suffrage
  • Free political parties
  • Elected government
Fundamental rights
  • Access to justice
  • Civil liberties
  • Social rights and equality
Checks on government
  • Effective parliament
  • Judicial independence
  • Media integrity
Impartial administration
  • Absence of corruption
  • Predictable enforcement
Participatory engagement
  • Civil society participation
  • Electoral participation
  • Direct democracy
  • Subnational elections

General Assessment Questions




Assessment question


1. Representative Government

(free and equal access to political power)

1.1. Clean Elections

To what extent are elections free from irregularities?

1.2. Inclusive Suffrage

To what extent do all adult citizens have voting rights?

1.3. Free Political Parties

To what extent are political parties free to form and campaign for office?

1.4. Elected Government

To what extent is access to government determined by elections?


2. Fundamental Rights

(individual liberties and resources)


2.1. Access to Justice

To what extent is there equal, fair access to justice?

2.2. Civil Liberties

To what extent are civil liberties respected?

2.3. Social Rights and Equality

To what extent are there basic welfare, and social and political equality?


3. Checks on Government

(effective control of executive power)

3.1. Effective Parliament

To what extent does parliament oversee the executive?

3.2. Judicial Independence

To what extent are the courts independent?

3.3. Media Integrity

To what extent are there diverse, critical media sources?


4. Impartial Administration

(fair and predictable public administration)

4.1. Absence of Corruption

To what extent is the exercise of public authority free from corruption?

4.2. Predictable Enforcement

To what extent is the enforcement of public authority predictable?


5. Participatory Engagement

(instruments of and for the realization of political involvement)


5.1. Civil Society Participation

To what extent do people participate in civil society organizations?

5.2. Electoral Participation

To what extent do people participate in national elections?

5.3. Direct Democracy

To what extent are mechanisms of direct democracy available and used?

5.4. Subnational Elections

To what extent are there free regional and local elections?