last updated 24 Jan 2024

It seems like I've been hearing more about new authoritarian leaders over the last couple of years.
That may be a news bias because these governments are more newsworthy, but I thought I'd take a look.

Democracy Matrix | University of Wurzburg. shows that over the last 120 years Authoritarianism has declined from 80% to 35% of countries, but has remained fairly constant over the last 15 years.
However, Deficient Democracy fraction has increased over the last 20 years.

Freedom House shows that over the last 7 years in Central Europe and Central Asia democracies have gone from 14 to 10, Authoritarian regimes have gone from 11 to 8 and Hybrid Regimes have gon from from 4 to 11 countries (see chart below).
Hybrid governance is where ostensibly democratic structures belie undemocratic practices.
Source: From Democratic Decline to Authoritarian Aggression | Freedom House


The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which ranks countries into 4 categories, Full Democracies, Flawed Democracies, Hybrid Regimes and Authoritarian Regimes, downgraded the US from a Full Democracy to a Flawed Democracy in 2016. It's score had been dropping for some time because of dwindling trust in government, elected representatives and political parties and had nothing to do with Trump's election.

There are several prominent indices that rank countries based on the level of authoritarianism in their governments. However, it's important to remember that these rankings are based on diverse methodologies and criteria, and can sometimes be subjective. Therefore, it's crucial to consider multiple sources and understand the underlying factors used in each ranking before drawing conclusions.