The Economist Intelligence Unit has published the twelfth edition of its Democracy Index which rates democracy levels in 165 independent states and two territories. The research is based on criteria including civil liberties, the electoral process and pluralism, government functionality, political participation and political culture with the countries rated on a 0 to 10 scale. This year's index found that the average global democracy score has fallen from 5.37 in 2020 to 5.28 in 2021, the worst average score since the research was first conducted in 2006.
Northern Europe leads the way for democracy with Norway recording the highest score, 9.75. Finland joined its neighbor in third place with a score of 9.27 but it was New Zealand that was placed second with 9.37. The United States only managed a score of 7.85 which left it in 26th position. After the Western military pull-out and subsequent Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the country is firmly at the bottom of the index. With a score of just 0.32, even North Korea is above it, while Myanmar, also not without its share of issues comes second last with a score of 1.02.