International Day of Democracy – 15th of September

Sept. 12, 2018 Weekly Graphs

The International Day of Democracy takes place on the 15th of September. The United Nations highlights this day by presenting a different theme every year. This year’s theme is “Democracy under Strain: Solutions for a Changing World” and the focus will be on ways to strengthen democracy and to handle systemic challenges that are facing democracies in contemporary time. To highlight the importance of this day, V-Dem’s Deputy Director Anna Lührmann will speak at an event hosted by the Democracy and Elections Action Unit, at the European Parliament in Brussels on the 18th of September.  

The importance of freedom and respect for human rights as vital parts of democracy will also be emphasized since 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. By using V-Dem’s Country Graph Tool, this week’s chart displays V-Dem’s Liberal Democracy Index as well as Freedom House’s measure for civil liberties regarding Western Europe and North America during 1980-2017. The index measures to what extent the ideal of liberal democracy is achieved. Freedom House’s indicator measures to what extent civil liberties allow for the freedoms of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy without interference from the state. The variables are measured on a scale where the lower values corresponds to a less democratic situation, and higher values to a more democratic situation. The graph shows that the levels have been fairly high and stable since 1980. However, the Liberal Democracy Index illustrates that the ideal of liberal democracy has been achieved to a lower degree in Western Europe and North America since 2012. 

If you are interested in learning more about the levels of freedom and liberal democracy in other countries, use our online analysis tool at


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