V-Dem: Global Standards, Local Knowledge

Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) is a new approach to conceptualizing and measuring democracy. We provide a multidimensional and disaggregated dataset that reflects the complexity of the concept of democracy as a system of rule that goes beyond the simple presence of elections. The V-Dem project distinguishes between five high-level principles of democracy: electoral, liberal, participatory, deliberative, and egalitarian, and collects data to measure these principles. 

We are a team of over 50 social scientists on six continents. We work with more than 3,500 country experts and a truly global International Advisory Board. Read more about the work we do here.


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Main Findings:

  • The global decline during the past 10 years is steep and continues in 2020, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
  • The level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2020 is down to levels last found around 1990.
  • Electoral autocracy remains the most common regime type. Together with closed autocracies they number 87 states, home to 68% of the world population.
  • The world’s largest democracy turned into an electoral autocracy: India with 1.37 billion citizens.
  • Liberal democracies diminished over the past decade from 41 countries to 32, with a population share of only 14%.