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Data InsightsOne in five democracies is eroding
May 27, 2024Bastian Herre

One in five democracies is eroding

Stacked area chart showing the share of eroding democracies, stable democracies, and deepening democracies since 1900. Eroding democracies are at their highest level ever, at around 20% of all democracies.

Based on the Episodes of Regime Transformation data, this chart shows that around 20% of democracies were slowly deteriorating in 2023.

According to the underlying expert assessments by country experts, elections are becoming less meaningful, free, or fair in these countries.

This rate of democratic erosion is unprecedented.

This is partly because the data seeks to capture gradual declines in democratic institutions, while historically, democracies often broke down rapidly in coups d’état or foreign invasions.

So, while political rights are under threat in a substantial share of democracies, there is still time to act to halt this decline, restore democratic rights, and even deepen democratic institutions.

If you want to learn more, you can read my article on recent changes in democracy, for which we just updated the data.