The World On The Road To Democracy

Most of the countries of the world are now democracies. The slow increase in the number of democracies in the last two centuries was marked by the First and Second World Wars.

Posted  updated 1 year ago

Proportion of the world's population living in democracies

In the table below we present the six different political regimes and show the number of people in the world governed by each one. Click on "Relative" to see the proportions of the world population governed by each regime.



During the 19th century, most of the world's population lived in colonial empires, autocracies, or anocracies. At the end of the 19th century, there was a limited expansion of democracies.

The end of the First World War led to the birth of many democracies. But, during the 1930s, many of these young democracies became autocratic again.

From that point on, a general upward trend began in the proportion of the world's population that lived under democracies, except in the period of World War II when there was a reduction in democracies and an increase in anocracies. After World War II, the number of democracies began to grow again.

During the second half of the 20th century, the colonies became independent and more countries became democracies. But it was the fall of the Iron Curtain around 1989 that led to a more dramatic increase in the number of democracies.

Today, more than half of the world's population lives in a democracy. And of those still living in autocracies, four-fifths are Chinese.

Credits: Main photo by Kaique Rocha


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