Countries that actually refer to themselves in some way as social democracies or democratic socialist nations in their respective constitutions include Bangladesh, India, North Korea, Portugal, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Noticeably absent from the list are European nations that are traditionally considered the models of democratic socialist countries. This may be because democratic socialism is more of an ideal than a specific practice.
The idea of a country with happy, harmonious people and strong government support for widespread prosperity as outlined by the Democratic Socialists of America is best exemplified through nations such as Sweden and France. However, the organization acknowledges that democratic socialism as the imagined ideal has not yet been implemented by any nation. In this regard, the ideal of democratic socialism and the reality of democratic socialism are not always in agreement. North Korea, which calls itself a democratic socialist nation has been sanctioned by the United Nations for human rights violations. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world. India also struggles with poverty and a soaring population. Because the nations that have labeled themselves as socialist democracies have yet to see success as such, a mental designation has been assigned to those nations that most closely serve as models of the ideal of what believers in democratic socialism believe it can be when properly implemented.