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Gallagher Index

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Gallagher Index by Country 2024

In a perfect world, every political election would be flawlessly balanced and fair. However, the fact that voting districts and similar factors are key parts of the electoral process means there are sometimes discrepancies between the number of government seats a particular political party wins and the actual number of votes it receives.

Sometimes referred to as the Least Squares Index, the Gallagher Index assesses how balanced an election actually was by determining the statistical difference between voting distribution and the resulting distribution of legislative seats. A lower Gallagher Index score indicates an election that was more proportionate as far as votes cast to seats won.

Examining Gallagher Index scores from country to country can grant valuable insight into how fair world elections actually are worldwide.

Countries with Lower and Higher Gallagher Index Scores

Germany is consistently one of the countries with a lower overall Gallagher Index (around 3.48 on average), likely due to a representation system known for being comparatively proportional. However, the following countries also demonstrate fairly low average Gallagher scores:

Comparing Gallagher Index scores across various countries can be helpful when assessing government stability, as well as assessing the overall effectiveness of current election processes. It can be helpful in determining the potential for government creation, as well.

Factors That Can Impact Gallagher Scores

Naturally, multiple outside influences can affect a country’s Gallagher Indexes, especially over time. Here are some examples to know.

National Party System

The number of different political parties participating in a given election can absolutely influence how a Gallagher Index plays out, especially if there’s a lot of diversity within the candidate pool.

Electoral System Type

The type of electoral system a country employs (e.g., first-past-the-post, proportional representation, or a hybrid system) has a huge effect on the resulting Gallagher score.

District Size

Smaller voting districts tend to demonstrate scores that reveal more disproportion, so district size is another factor to consider when assessing the impact on potential Gallagher Indexes. Shifts in the boundaries of a given district can affect the resulting scores, as well.

  • The Gallagher Index is a measure of the percentage of votes each political party got in an election compared to the percentage of seats each party actually won.
  • In a perfectly balanced election, the Gallagher Index would be 0, indicating each party won the exact percentage of seats as they received votes. However, the simple existence of voting districts can create imbalances, as can gerrymandering and other influences. These imbalances are measured by the Gallagher Index.
  • A higher Gallagher Index indicates greater disparity between votes received and seats won for all parties collectively.

Download Table Data

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Country
Gallagher Index
Gallagher Index Year
South Africa0.472019
Guyana0.522020
Sweden0.642022
Namibia0.982019
Denmark1.132022
Netherlands1.312021
United States1.442020
Faroe Islands1.662019
Montenegro1.712020
Uruguay1.732019
Austria1.852019
San Marino1.912019
Guinea2.142020
Ireland2.222020
Malta2.242022
Timor Leste2.422018
Mozambique2.452019
Switzerland2.462019
Bolivia2.62020
Ghana2.642020
Senegal2.732022
Greenland2.752021
Turkey3.152018
El Salvador3.162021
North Macedonia3.272020
Germany3.482021
Brazil3.532022
Cape Verde3.542021
Finland3.552019
Trinidad and Tobago3.552020
Norway3.652021
Thailand3.812019
Serbia3.92022
Belgium3.922019
Iceland3.962021
Bulgaria4.022022
Burkina Faso4.112022
New Zealand4.152020
Morocco4.182021
Angola4.322022
Israel4.42022
Indonesia4.512019
Sri Lanka4.542020
Albania4.572021
Colombia4.62022
Fiji4.752022
Iraq5.172010
Zambia5.212021
Estonia5.282019
Bosnia and Herzegovina5.32022
Luxembourg5.572018
Liechtenstein5.622021
Nepal6.022022
Lesotho6.032022
Romania6.142020
Spain6.362019
Honduras6.412021
Cyprus6.442021
Poland6.62019
Argentina6.752021
Andorra6.892019
Malaysia6.992022
Sao Tome and Principe7.042022
Dominican Republic7.322020
Croatia7.472020
Portugal7.852022
Gambia7.932022
Grenada7.972022
Niger8.12021
Costa Rica8.262022
Moldova8.442021
Malawi8.562019
Algeria8.572017
Georgia8.682020
Suriname8.72020
Mexico8.82021
Guinea Bissau9.332019
Sierra Leone9.362018
Lithuania9.492020
Chile9.582021
Greece9.782023
Czech Republic10.342021
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines10.372020
Monaco10.372023
Ukraine10.622019
Latvia10.652022
Armenia10.742021
Paraguay10.792018
Taiwan10.912020
Japan11.432021
Slovenia11.492022
Hungary11.762022
Guatemala122019
Botswana12.262019
Italy12.372022
Slovakia12.372020
France12.812022
Mauritius12.962019
Canada13.392021
South Korea13.652020
Peru14.022021
Uganda14.92021
Panama14.962019
United Kingdom15.022019
Liberia15.182017
Seychelles15.332020
Saint Kitts and Nevis15.972022
India16.062019
Australia16.722022
Bermuda19.022020
Jamaica20.622020
Singapore21.672020
Belize23.512020
Bahamas25.012021
Mongolia28.192020
Barbados28.922022
Saint Lucia28.972021
Antigua and Barbuda30.322018
Bhutan30.812018
showing: 119 rows

Which country has the highest Gallagher index?

With a score of 30.81, the country with the highest Gallagher index is Bhutan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources