Democracy has expanded remarkably throughout the world during the last quarter of the twentieth century. In 1972, there were fifty-two electoral democracies, constituting 33 percent of the world's 160 sovereign nation-states. By 1996, the number had risen to 118 electoral democracies out of 191 states, or 62 percent of the total, for a net gain of 66 democratic states. Among the larger countries with a population of one million people or more, the number of political democracies nearly tripled during the same period.
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