The Global State of Democracy


Half of democratic governments around the world are in decline, undermined by problems ranging from restrictions on freedom of expression to distrust in the legitimacy of elections, according to 'The Global State of Democracy Report 2022 – Forging Social Contracts in a Time of Discontent' - published by International IDEA.

For in-depth analysis by theme and other reports, view a full list of our GSoD Resources.

Global State of Democracy 2022: Forging Social Contracts in a Time of Discontent

International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy Report 2022 provides an overview of the global and regional trends related to democracy and human rights, along with examples of efforts to reinvigorate social contracts around the world.

Visit the GSoD website to read and download the 2022 report.



The Global State of Democracy: Building Resilience in a Pandemic Era

International IDEA’s 2021 Report “The Global State of Democracy: Building Resilience in a Pandemic Era” aims to influence the global debate and analyses current trends and challenges to democracy, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. It offers specific policy recommendations to spark new and innovative thinking for policymakers, governments and civil society organizations supporting democracy. 

The world is becoming more authoritarian as non-democratic regimes become even more brazen in their repression and many  democratic governments suffer from backsliding by adopting their tactics of restricting free speech and weakening the rule of law, exacerbated by what threatens to become a "new normal" of Covid-19 restrictions. For the fifth consecutive year, the number of countries moving in an authoritarian direction exceeds the number of countries moving in a democratic direction. In fact, the number moving in the direction of authoritarianism is three times the number moving towards democracy. 

Read and download the 2021 report at

The Global State of Democracy 2019 Report: Addressing the Ills, Reviving the Promise

How ill is democracy and is it really dying? What are some of the remedies to the current problems? These are some of the questions that The Global State of Democracy 2019 Report: Addressing the Ills, Reviving the Promise explores. 

The report, packaged as a “global health check of democracy” aims to influence the global democracy debate, by nuancing the current doom and gloom narrative and proposing solutions to current challenges.

The 2019 report analyses six key global challenges to democracy

  1. the crisis of representation of political parties and the rise of populism;
  2. patterns and conditions of democratic backsliding;
  3. the empowerment of civil society in a shrinking civic space;
  4. managing electoral processes in challenging environments;
  5. corruption and the role of money in politics; and
  6. the impact of information communications technologies on democracy.

The report also provides an in-depth analysis of the state of democracy in the different regions of the world: Africa and the Middle East, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific and Europe.

The report mainly targets policymakers and civil society organizations working at the national, regional or international levels, either implementing, supporting or advocating for democratic reforms, but also opinion-makers, students and academics interested in democracy and governance issues.

In December 2020, International IDEA published an interim GSoD report (GSoD In Focus Special Brief 2020) which assesses the state of democracy prior to the outbreak of Covid-19 and 11 months into the pandemic and as of end November 2020.


The Global State of Democracy Initiative

In 2016, International IDEA launched the Global State of Democracy Initiative, to analyze democratic trends and challenges and opportunities impacting on the global democracy landscape. The Global State of Democracy Initiative provides evidence-based and balanced analysis and data on the state and quality of democracy globally and for 162 countries across all regions of the world. It aims to contribute to the public debate on democracy and inform policy interventions to strengthen democracy.

The assessment is based on International IDEA’s Global State of Democracy (GSoD) Indices which measure democratic performance for 162 countries from 1975 until today and help monitor progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. Composed of indicators from V-Dem and eleven other sources, the indices are updated annually. The indices complement other democracy measures through their broad and multi-dimensional framework and their focus on democratic quality rather than country ranking. The conceptual framework underpinning the Indices translates International IDEA’s definition of democracy—which emphasizes popular control over public decision-making and decision-makers, and equality between citizens in the exercise of that control—into five main democracy attributes of democracy, sub-divided into a total of 29 aspects of democracy, aggregated from 116 indicators.

The GSoD Indices are available on the interactive website. There you can find democratic scores by country and by region for the 28 (of the 29) aspects of democracy in our framework from 1975 until 2019. It also includes downloadable graphs and country profiles.


conceptual framework


The Global State of Democracy initiative provides:

1. The Global State of Democracy Indices: depict democratic trends at the country, regional and global levels across a broad range of different attributes of democracy from 1975 until today. The methodology of the GSoD Indices and the list of data sources can be found here. The regions and countries covered in the GSoD Indices are listed here.


2. The Global State of Democracy Report: drawing on The Global State of Democracy indices, rigorous comparative research and fact-based and peer-reviewed analysis, the report explores the challenges and opportunities facing democracy globally and regionally. It also provides recommendations to inform policy interventions.


GSoD 2019 Report and Summaries are available in 5 languages:


  1. The GSoD 2019 Report (English)
  2. The summary report in English
  3. The summary report in French
  4. The summary report in Arabic
  5. The summary report in Bahasa Indonesia
  6. The summary report in Spanish



You can also download the GSoD 2017 report and access the 2017 digital version .

The background documents for the 2019 report can be accessed here:

- Geographic definitions of regions in The Global State of Democracy

- Background paper on populism and democratic backsliding


3. The Global State of Democracy In Focus are short briefs that provide succinct evidence based analysis on specific issues in the current democracy debate illustrated through trends observed in the GSoD Indices. The briefs are published in relation to United Nations Days and cover topics such progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 16; political gender equality; press freedom; and the linkages between corruption and democracy.


  The Global State of Democracy Initiative is led by the Democracy Assessment(DA) team. For contact or queries on the GSoD Initiative or the GSoD Indices, please contact the DA team and GSoD Helpdesk.

Tools and Databases



Social Media Activity


Networks & Partners

European Union
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Robert Bosch Stiftung
Sida—Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Sweden: Government Offices of Sweden-Ministry for Foreign Affairs
University of Fribourg, Switzerland
V-Dem Institute

Contact Us

Seema Shah
Head of Democracy Assessment
Dr Seema Shah is the Head of International IDEA's Democracy Assessment (DA) Unit , which produces a biennial 'Global State of Democracy' report, an annually updated Global State of Democracy Indices and a EU-co-funded Covid-19 Global Monitor on Democracy and Human Rights.