Analysts Say the United States Isn't a 'Full Democracy' Anymore

January 26th 2017

Thor Benson

The United States is no longer a "full democracy," according to new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit. According to the group's annual Democracy Index, which purports to measure the state of governance in the world, democracy in the land of the free is now "flawed."

This isn't just because of allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, or the victory of President Donald Trump despite his failure to capture the popular vote, if that's what you're thinking. The reason the U.S. was downgraded is that public trust in political institutions has been declining for decades, and began doing so in the 1960s. Trump is merely a symptom, the report claims.

"By tapping a deep strain of political disaffection with the functioning of democracy, Mr. Trump became a beneficiary of the low esteem in which U.S. voters hold their government, elected representatives and political parties, but he was not responsible for a problem that has had a long gestation," the report states.

democracy countries

According to the report, the top five democracies are Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Denmark. The worst democracies in the world are North Korea, Syria ,and Chad. Saudi Arabia is almost at the bottom. The report states that nearly 3 billion people live under authoritarian rule in various countries. 

The U.S., meanwhile, is said to be the 21st most democratic country. The report follows a 2014 study that found the U.S. was no longer a democracy but rather an "oligarchy," as the BBC reported.

Countries are rated on a scale from 0 to 10 in the Democracy Index, with 60 factors considered in the final score. Those factors include voter turnout, freedom of the press and more, according to The New York Daily News. The United States scored an 8.05 in 2015 and fell to a 7.98 in 2016.