The Freedom House Survey for 2018: Democracy in Retreat

Issue Date April 2019
Volume 30
Issue 2
Page Numbers 100-114
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Democracy is in retreat globally. In 2018, Freedom House’s annual Freedom in the World survey recorded the thirteenth consecutive year of decline in freedom around the world. This reversal has spanned a variety of countries across every region, from longstanding democracies such as the United States to consolidated authoritarian regimes such as China and Russia. The relative international power of the highly industrialized democracies is dwindling as newly industrialized economies gain greater clout. Meanwhile, the major democracies are flagging in their support for core democratic norms, which are under serious threat around the world. The norms under attack include free-and-fair elections, term limits for executives, freedom of expression, and protection of the rights of migrants and refugees. Nonetheless, surprising improvements in Angola, Armenia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, and Malaysia show that democracy has enduring appeal.

About the Authors

Nate Schenkkan

Nate Schenkkan is director for special research at Freedom House.

View all work by Nate Schenkkan

Sarah Repucci

Sarah Repucci is vice-president of research and analysis at Freedom House.

View all work by Sarah Repucci