South Korea outranked the U.S. in terms the 2012 Democracy Index published on Thursday by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
South Korea ranked 20th with 8.13 points on a 10-point scale, ahead of the U.S.’ 8.11 points by one notch. The index measures the state of democracy in 167 countries.
In the 2012 evaluation of five categories, South Korea scored 9.17 points for electoral process and pluralism; 8.21 points for the functioning of government; 7.22 points for political participation; 7.5 points for political culture; and 8.53 points for civil liberties.
The country's overall score went up, but the civil liberties score dropped from 8.82 points in 2011. On the other hand, the score for the functioning of government rose from 7.86 points.
By contrast, the U.S. slid from 19th to 21st spot while its scores in all categories remained unchanged.
Japan ranked 21st in 2011 ahead of South Korea but dropped to 23rd this time with a score of 8.08 points. China slid by one notch to 142nd place with 3.00 points.
Egypt jumped from 115th to 109th because it conducted its first democratic presidential election since the Arab Spring in 2011.
Norway topped the list, followed by Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, and New Zealand. North Korea finished a dismal 167th with a score of 1.08 points, scoring lowest scores in most categories and rated as the most authoritarian regime in the world.