Democracy Perception Index 2018

The Democracy Perception Index (DPI) is a research project conducted by Dalia Research, in collaboration with the Alliance of Democracies and Rasmussen Global, to measure citizens’ trust in government.



The DPI survey data ranks countries on how effectively they are perceived to be delivering core democratic benefits in the eyes of their citizens, including: 1) Political Voice: Sense of participation in politics 2) Public Interest: Trust that government is working for the people 3) Free Speech: Freedom to express opinions 4) Information: Access to balanced and neutral information The DPI is the largest single survey conducted at once: covering 125,000 respondents for nationally representative results across 50 countries, from June 6th to June 18th, 2018. This represents over 75% of the world’s population and 75% of the world’s GDP.

The Democracy Perception Index (DPI) finds a majority of people around the world feel like they have no voice in politics and that their governments are not acting in their interest (51% and 58% respectively). In particular, they have little faith that their government is formed “by the people” and works “for the people”.

Perhaps most surprisingly, this public disillusionment is higher in democracies than in non-democracies. 1 Almost two thirds (64%) of people living in democracies thinks their government “rarely” or “never” acts in the interest of the public, compared with 41% of people living in non-democracies.

When asked if they think their voice matters in politics, over half (54%) of citizens living in democracies say their voices “rarely” or “never” matter in politics versus 46% in non-democracies. European democracies are amongst the countries where the most people feel voiceless. Compared to the other democracies included in the survey, South Korea scores the best, though with 42% of the population feeling like their voice doesn’t matter.

In contrast to other studies on democracy, this study focuses specifically on public perception, namely the extent to which people feel they are receiving core democratic benefits such as the ability to have a voice in politics and a government that acts in their interest. It is possible that people are more critical about their governments in democratic countries than in non-democratic ones. But by focusing on perception instead of reality, this study sheds a light on potential drivers of political behavior such as voting choices and public unrest. 


Read the survey data