The most recent estimates from the Center for Systemic Peace
aggregated by Pew Research show that over half of countries in the world are now democracies
, a major shift from forty years ago. Back in 1976, CSP estimates that 62 percent of governments were autocracies while just a quarter of countries had democratic systems.
After World War II, the world's governing systems looked different from where they stood in 1976 and 2017. Around seventy years ago, there was a more even divide between autocratic, democratic, and a mix of those two systems of government. The end of the Cold War acted as another inflection point. After the Cold War, there was an uptick in global democracy as Soviet-bloc states and the Soviet Union broke apart in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Polity is CSP’s ongoing project that examines six indicators when evaluating whether a country is autocratic or democratic, looking at everything from political participation to checks on executive power. Each country that has over 500,000 citizens gets a score. There were 167 countries in the report.