The Global State of Democracy




Global progress on SDG 16 is facing significant challenges, although some advances can be noted. 


“Is democracy really in decline? What are the global democratic trends? How do democratic trends compare across regions and countries? What are current opportunities and challenges to democracy?”

To answer these questions, International IDEA launched the Global State of Democracy Initiative in 2016, to analyze current trends and challenges impacting on democracy worldwide.

The Global State of Democracy Initiative provides evidence-based analysis and data on the global and regional state of democracy, to contribute to the public debate on democracy, inform policy interventions and identify problem-solving approaches to trends affecting the quality of democracy.



Democracy is conceptualized as popular control over public decision-making and decision-makers, and equality between citizens in the exercise of that control. International IDEA’s State of Democracy Assessment Framework builds on this definition and guiding principles and translates them into five main democracy attributes that cover 16 sub-attributes in total.


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 indices produce data for 155 countries. Composed of indicators from V-Dem and other sources, the indices are updated annually. The database is publicly available as GSoD Indices , and aim to inform research and strategies of those working on democratic reform at the national, regional and global levels. Download our PDF flyer on the indices.


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. The first report, released in 2017, explored under what conditions democracy is resilient. Read the full report. The next report will be launched in 2019 and will focus on the state of democracy at the global level and in the following regions: the Americas; Asia and the Pacific; Africa and West Asia and Wider Europe.


Our indices and analysis aims to inform the global debate on democracy, and has been featured in The Washington Post, The Guardian, and Le Soir.


3. The Global State of Democracy In Focus: provides succinct evidence based analysis on specific issues, highlighting gains or declines in democratic developments, and informing policy debates. Read and download the latest GSoD In Focus.

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